Hospital Inventory Management and Control – Best Practices to Follow

The healthcare industry is constantly under pressures coming in from all sides. Any hospital in any part of the world has to face many issues in their everyday operations and come up with the best possible service quality on every account. The industry itself undergoes massive transformations and changes every other day with new and improved treatments and technologies coming up to help counter diseases and health conditions. Then there is the aspect of volumes. Number of patients that need attention, the kind of diseases they are dealing with and the high level of service quality, cleanliness and hygiene that needs to be maintained – all call for a flawless management and execution system.

This is even more so in the case of inventory. With the cost of medicine going sky high and the numbers in medical crime on the rise, you simply cannot risk letting your medical inventory go unmanaged and unmonitored. Hospital inventory management is thus a vital function that is entrusted to expert professionals who can handle it all without leaving the chance of a single error.

There are different policies followed by different medical practitioners pertaining to hospital inventory management, each chosen with the enterprise specific variables in mind. The size of the facility, average patient volumes and inventory levels are all factors to consider here. Some practices are actually quite similar to those followed in the production materials management industry. They take into account not only the materials to be managed but also the expenses incurred in inventory management, quality of services affected as a result of this function and the amount of human capital involved.

Apart from these, hospital inventory management systems need to take into account various hidden costs associated with handling medical materials. These expenses go way beyond the actual price tag of the articles. Procurement costs play a major role here including the R&D expenses for finding the right suppliers, shipping and handling costs as well as proper storage. Disposal of medical material is another matter of critical importance for managers working in the field. New suppliers and medical representatives from different pharmaceutical companies frequently pay visits to health care centres, offering lucrative schemes and discounts on their products. Sorting through all the options and arriving at the most quality centric and easily affordable one is a tough task.

When it comes to material procurement, a centralised ordering system is highly recommended. It helps managers in keeping an eye on things and facilitates their job by providing them with real time data of stock levels. Setting up integrated policies for staff to follow is another key. Ordering limits and times need to be set, access clearance to inventory storage areas for different personnel needs to be defined and strict protocols for hospital inventory management and control need to be set. All these aspects then come together to ensure a flawless delivery of service and flow of day to day operations for the health care centre.

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About The Author
Tamara Williams has been working in the healthcare industry since many years, helping hospitals in streamlining their stock management through medical inventory software. She has written many interesting articles and blogs on the topic, with informative guides and tips to bring healthcare inventory management systems up to the mark. Visit for more information.