Technology can overhaul the way you track, order and organize your medical supply inventory. If you are still managing your supplies by hand, there are so many benefits to gain from going digital. Here are four ways technology can improve your medical supply chain management:
Supply Chain Software
It’s common to see physicians’ offices and hospitals tracking inventory the old-fashioned way: through counting. Tracking inventory by hand is not only time-consuming and error-prone, but now it is unnecessary. Supply chain software manages the inventory, alerts staff when it’s time to reorder and makes it easy to handle expired or recalled product.
Medical supply chain software is a massive relief to your staff and physicians. It automatically updates inventory amounts, makes comparison shopping fast and simple, and creates an integrated workflow for quicker approvals.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology uses electronic chips to identify products, medical records and even people. There are plenty of possibilities for this technology, and one area that stands to benefit is the medical supply chain.
Inventory with RFID tags can be used on “smart shelves,” which are embedded with RFID readers, to transport real-time inventory updates. These shelves could trigger a reorder when needed, and certain high-cost items, like defibrillators and pacemakers, could be easily traced. Beyond inventory tracking, RFID tags may be able to monitor environmental conditions for sensitive supplies or help eliminate product counterfeiting by monitoring drug contents.
Data and Analytics
Supplies are a necessary and expensive component of a hospital, surgical center or physician’s office. Without them, a medical center can’t run properly or efficiently. Any supply chain technology needs to be supported by analytics. The data will show areas of waste, shortages, trends, and opportunities to make or save money. It allows executives to make decisions that are backed by numbers.
You can gather some of that data through spreadsheets, and many medical offices still do. But when you work with supply chain management software, that crucial data is available with the click of a button.
Access to data is a valuable component of a digital medical supply chain management system. Sharing that data is essential to making informed decisions quickly. Digital networks help expedite the supply chain process and keep everyone on the same page. You might need a network where you can connect with suppliers, share data with executives or communicate the needs of different physicians. Cross-department inventory management, approval systems and e-procurement are all available on supply chain management software, and they provide a platform for the entire supply chain to communicate within.
Technology is changing the way you handle your inventory for the better. These advances save time, money and hassle for your staff, physicians and patients, and they are just the beginning of improvements yet to come for medical supply chain management.