In the medical world, where everyone’s focus is providing high-quality patient care, inventory management can be challenging. For many medical companies, inventory management usually means tracking medical supplies and equipment with lengthy spreadsheets or a pen & paper list. The problem is, over time, it’s easy for these types of systems to become inaccurate and unorganized. This typically leads to more time and money spent on unnecessary inventory-related tasks and less time focusing on more important responsibilities like patient care. That’s where medical inventory management software comes in.
What is medical inventory management software and why is it important?
Medical inventory management software empowers healthcare companies to eliminate outdated, inefficient inventory tracking methods and take control of their inventory with the click of a few buttons. By utilizing a secure, cloud-based system, teams across care providers can accurately track their entire medical inventory while keeping tabs on critical information such as supply stock levels, medication expiration dates, and equipment maintenance details. This means managers and staff will always know what supplies are available, what medication is about to expire, where equipment is, and who’s accountable for it.
Whether you’re a solo practitioner, a medical device and equipment supplier, or part of a larger medical facility such as a hospital or urgent care center, automating the inventory process allows you to take the guesswork out of inventory management. By allowing software to do the heavy lifting, you can spend less time worrying about your inventory and more time growing your business while providing the best care for your patients.
Common medical inventory management-related challenges faced by companies in the industry
Some of the major challenges that companies in the healthcare industry are facing when it comes to using traditional methods of inventory tracking are:
1. Difficulty maintaining the accuracy of information
Let’s face it—in the medical field, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to inventory management. When stock levels, expiration dates, and maintenance schedules all have to be entered manually into a spreadsheet or are kept track of via pen & paper, this leaves room for human error. This can be detrimental for any business, but in the medical field where people’s lives are at stake, inaccuracy of inventory information can be fatal. Consequently, it’s crucial that a medical company’s inventory is consistently accurate and up-to-date.
2. Tracking inventory is time-consuming
Because the stakes in the healthcare industry are so high, anything that allows medical professionals and staff to spend more time focused on patient care is a good thing. When it comes to inventory management, having to scroll through unorganized spreadsheets, search through boxes for supplies, or perform manual inventory counts all eat into valuable time that administrators, doctors, or nurses could be spending with patients.
3. Loss of profit
Even though the main objective in healthcare is to provide the best patient care possible, it’s still a business. Expired medications, missing medical equipment, and broken machinery all translate into money that is lost. It’s easy to overlook expiration and maintenance dates and have difficulty keeping tabs on equipment when inventory isn’t properly tagged and tracked. These oversights may also result in medical companies ordering supplies or purchasing expensive equipment they don’t need, which ultimately takes a toll on your medical company’s finances.
4. Lack of control and organization
Without an automated system in place, it’s extremely challenging for medical inventory information to stay organized. Having to sort through multiple pages of information and constantly update spreadsheets or paper lists makes it next to impossible to keep track of what medical supplies you have, be aware of where expensive equipment is, and know what supplies need to be ordered. Often, care providers and administrators feel a lack of control over their inventory, which not only leads to lost time and money but to unnecessary stress, as well.
5. Security and Compliance
The medical field is a highly regulated industry. Due to the fact that many health care professionals have access to controlled substances, it is required by law for care providers, medical clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies to report any controlled substances that have been lost or misplaced. Without an accurate, up-to-date inventory system, medical companies can be vulnerable to safety issues due to theft and legal liabilities if records are ever requested by a federal agency.
6. Traditional systems aren’t team-friendly
Any company in the healthcare industry will tell you that working as a team is crucial to providing excellent patient care. Not surprisingly, this also translates into a medical company’s inventory management system. Traditional inventory tracking systems are typically only visible to one person, don’t work on mobile devices, and cannot connect to the cloud. This makes it challenging for staff and care providers to keep information in sync. In order for inventory management software to be effective, multiple staff members need to have access to the system across multiple devices. This allows the team to oversee information on the go, always know where they can find equipment or supplies, and make changes when necessary.
7. Software can be complex and hard to learn
When adopting new medical management inventory software, it’s important to consider how easy it will be for staff to learn the system. Without user-friendly software in place, employees may feel discouraged and fail to use the system consistently. Since consistent use is key in maintaining accurate inventory information, some medical companies are afraid to invest in an inventory management system that their staff has difficulty navigating or is reluctant to use.
8. Software can be too expensive for small and mid-sized companies
Many inventory management systems come with features that aren’t needed by small and mid-sized medical companies. The downside of those unnecessary features is that they typically come with added costs. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, medical companies need inventory management systems that fit their current budgets but can also grow with them and adapt to their needs over time.
6 Reasons medical inventory management software is critical for companies in healthcare
The challenges discussed above are easily overcome when easy-to-use, medical inventory management software is put into place. The advantages of having an accurate, automated, and mobile inventory management system far outweigh the software’s cost and can help every medical professional and institution focus more on what they’re truly passionate about—providing excellent patient care.
Need more proof? Here are six reasons why implementing medical inventory management software can help improve your company.
1. Get a better view of your inventory (literally!)
Sometimes, you just need a visual. When you tag and track your inventory using inventory management software, you’ll actually be able to view photos of your medical supplies and equipment along with important information like the amount of each supply in stock, what needs to be re-ordered, or even what temperature certain medications need to be stored at. What’s more, inventory management software allows you to always know where equipment is, who currently has it, and when it was last used or underwent maintenance. By having a crystal clear view of your inventory, you’ll never again have to worry about running out of key medical supplies, being surprised by expired medication, or having lags inpatient care due to broken or missing equipment.
2. Save time and reduce operational effort
By letting an inventory management system keep track of your supplies and equipment, staff members spend far less time focused on tedious inventory-related tasks. Rather than having to weed through spreadsheets or paperwork to figure out how much of each supply you have left and when it’s time to order more, an automated system will do this for you. After scanning inventory into the system, you’ll know exactly how much of each supply you have and receive an alert when it’s time to re-order. In addition to knowing what you have in your inventory, you’ll also know exactly where it’s being kept. No more wasting time digging through closets trying to find the last box of gloves.
3. Regain control of your operations
Having an automated system for your medical inventory means you can focus on your business while feeling confident that your inventory needs are being met. By minimizing the mental and physical constraints that traditional inventory practices have on care providers and administrators, all staff members are able to give attention to more important things, such as patient needs. Additionally, since multiple staff members have access to inventory data, everyone will always know what supplies are in stock and where important equipment is.
4. Improve accuracy
Replacing spreadsheets or paper trails with inventory management software means a huge increase in inventory accuracy. Not only is there less chance for human error when it comes to keeping track of stock levels, expiration dates, or equipment maintenance, but having a secure, cloud-based system connected to a mobile app means you will get updated inventory information in real time. When supplies are re-stocked or equipment is checked out, all users who have access to the system can view the changes right away. This means doctors, nurses, and administrators can avoid confusion or miscommunication when it comes to inventory updates.
5. Investment protection
You already know—medical equipment is expensive. For any healthcare company, having to replace instruments or equipment that have been lost or misplaced is extremely costly. Since inventory management software lets you track where equipment is and who’s accountable for it, you’re able to protect your investment in the medical equipment and instruments that allow you to provide stellar patient care.
6. Digitize your data by going paperless
A visual inventory management system not only helps you keep inventory information more organized, but also allows you to go paperless. Making the move to help the environment while improving accuracy, increasing workflow optimization, and providing more time for patient care is a true win-win.
Why Sortly is the best medical inventory system for your practice
For companies in the healthcare industry that are struggling to keep their medical inventory organized and up-to-date, Sortly is a super simple inventory tracking system that can be customized for your individual business. With Sortly, you can:
- Ditch the inaccurate and outdated methods of medical inventory management and visually track your inventory while keeping tabs on important details such as stock levels, location, condition, etc
- Use Sortly seamlessly on mobile, tablet, or desktop.
- Be up and running in minutes—all on your own. Sortly is the simplest inventory management system on the market. Unlike other inventory tracking systems, you won’t need any lengthy sales visits or a 100-page guide to figure out Sortly.
- Have an inventory management system that grows with you. Instead of investing in a costly system with a bunch of extra features that never get used, Sortly works to provide your company with unique features that will actually translate to a more successful business.
- Control who sees inventory information. Using a secure, cloud-based system you can give access to team members across departments or even locations. By allowing you to give some users limited or read-only permission to inventory information, Sortly lets you decide who has access to what.
It’s time to say goodbye to lost supplies, complicated spreadsheets, and time-consuming “solutions” so you can spend less time worrying about inventory details and more time growing your business and caring for patients. Want to see if Sortly is right for your medical company? Try it free today.