Hybrent Blog

How Supply Management Software Can Reduce Excess Inventory and Waste

    Posted on October 23, 2018

    Medical waste

    Supply chain software can save your facility time and money by reducing excess inventory. Simultaneously, this software can help decrease waste and lower the cost of healthcare in the future.


    Healthcare waste is becoming excessive. Reasons for this waste include supplies being over ordered, forgotten, lost, or expired. In any of these cases, the products are unused and discarded. The process of discarding supplies can become expensive, and the amount of supplies ending up in a landfill may have an effect on our planet. The cost of healthcare increases as waste expenses increase.


    How BIG really is this problem?


    According to Marshall Allen, from ProPublica.org, healthcare facilities annually dispose billions of dollars worth of supplies. A sufficient reason for this could be from the disposal of expired products, but consistently this isn’t the case. Other reasons for discarded supplies include seemingly unusable supplies after switching to a new vendor, products opened for surgery and untouched, or losing inventory during the process of changing facility location.


    Regardless of the reason, supplies are finding their way into warehouses (where they go unused) or landfills, and the money spent on them is wasted. An article posted on CMAJ claims "In 2007, US healthcare facilities contributed 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions, disposed of more than 4 billion pounds (1 lb = 0.45 kg) of waste and were the second-largest contributor to landfills after the food industry." The healthcare waste contribution could have easily escalated due to our expanding populace. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states "growing population" represents a factor that may increase health services utilization. A world data collection website claims that our population is growing at a rate of 1.09% each year.


    Another blog post by MedPro states, "Every year across the Earth 2 million tons of medical waste, also known as biohazardous waste or infectious waste, is created in hospitals, veterinary clinics and homes." In the same post, they explain how this waste goes to landfills which can endanger animals, pollute our water supply, and spread toxic materials into our environment.


    Hybrent’s Director of Customer Service, Calli Whitehouse, has personal experience with the waste in healthcare. In 2016, while working for Advocate Healthcare as their Pharmacy Technician II, she received the coveted Environmental Stewardship Award. She first-handedly saw “tens of thousands of dollars” worth of supplies thrown away daily and wanted to make a change.


    Nurses would throw out supplies when they found products expired, opened and unused, or sterility compromised in the OR. She also saw doctors prep for a case and open supplies before finding out a patient would not show up. In cases such as these, everything opened would be thrown away.


    Common items that went to waste include blue surgical towels, syringes, gauze, catheters, and other general OR supplies. Whitehouse decided to talk to the Nursing Director and Director of OR and ask if there was anything she could do to recycle the products. She then started donating supplies to animal shelters and the supplies were used for vaccines, surgeries, and other various needs. She donated products to four different shelters who were able to share those supplies with even more shelters. Whitehouse filled her car over one hundred times with supplies to donate to shelters for five years. What would be medical waste was instead redistributed to those in need and kept out of landfills.


    Recycling can make a huge difference, as Calli Whitehouse has proven. There are many ways to avoid making waste in healthcare including investing in more recyclable materials. However, another convenient solution is the use of supply chain management software.


    How Hybrent's Software Can Help


    Time is money, and Hybrent's software can save you both. Having your vendors and inventory data in one place is a HUGE time saver and Hybrent’s platform integrates all your vendors and inventory data. The availability of this information is a HUGE time saver and a solution to help reduce medical waste.


    With all of your inventory data readily available, you can manage and recognize when products will expire. Using Hybrent, you will know exactly how much of any given item you have at once. This will help you save money by avoiding over ordering and lowering inventory costs. There is also a potential to lengthen product life cycles and reduce excess inventory in an ecological way. Saving time and money in this area allows you to spend more time with patients. In turn, providing them with the best care possible, keeping their healthcare costs low, and increasing patient satisfaction.


    Hybrent can help you reduce waste, save time, and conserve resources. Interested in finding out what you could achieve with supply chain management software? Contact us at hello@hybrent.com or request a demo!


    Join the conversation via Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Connect with Hybrent to learn more about how we can help you reduce excess inventory and lower costs. Connect with Calli Whitehouse on LinkedIn for more Hybrent Customer Service Success!

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