How often do you enter a meeting with your supervisor, flustered, nervous, dreading to explain that you’re incurring an out-of-scope supply loss yet again due to the miscommunication and mishandling of your vendors?
Healthcare vendors have a distinct advantage in the industry, often being the only resources for specific supplies and equipment that you need to stock in your hospital in order to take proper care of your patients. However, this advantage allows them to get a bit lax when it comes to accuracy and timing, and, without concern for your operations, you may end up with brand new shipments that include items that are about to expire, or have already gone past their expiration date.
We hear it from hospital systems all the time: “How are we supposed to keep our supply closets current, and prevent the use of expired products on our patients, if our vendors are sending in items with expiration dates that actually precede that of our previous shipment?”
It’s an incredibly important problem to address. Expired products and equipment simply have no place in your hospital system. Even if you have an expiration date management process in place, the arrival of items that expire even sooner than the inventory you’re already holding can throw a wrench into your carefully crafted system. Vendor mistakes make the expiration date management process extremely difficult, and potentially put your patients in danger.
How to Hold Vendors Accountable
The key to maintaining a well-organized, up-to-date supply room is holding your vendors accountable. As gatekeepers within the industry, they have an advantage that allows them to subvert blame that may come their way without proper documentation and evidence.
That’s where expiration date management software comes in.
A typical two-bin expiration date management system (or, even more precarious, a yearly sweep of your inventory) doesn’t provide the level of detail that you need to keep track of your supply room so that you can confront your vendor about shipments with close-dated products. With these traditional systems, you can have relative success ensuring that a supply room only contains recent items, but as soon as vendor mistakes and hoarding habits get thrown into the mix, you’ll find yourself underwater quickly.
Using an expiration date management software like Date Check Pro for Healthcare allows you to keep digital, referenceable records that you can use to hold your vendors accountable. Within the system, you can track expiration dates from a previous shipment, and show vendors that they haven’t been sending you their most recent inventory.
Data is more important than ever for healthcare supply managers, and holding vendors accountable is just one way that it can be used to create a more efficient, effective, and accurate expiration date management process. The next time that you receive a shipment from one of your vendors that doesn’t seem to match up with previous orders or the inventory that’s currently in your supply room, consider implementing an expiration date management software to keep track of it all and force your vendors to take action.