Anything can happen in a hospital. Each day is different, and yet unpredictable events occur on an almost predictable basis. Sure, you’ve seen to it that your staff are trained to handle any scenario, and that their focus on patient care is a priority, but what if the day-to-day operations of your hospital don’t allow them to follow through on exceptional patient care?
What if, because of out-of-date manual processes, they’re forced to spend a large portion of their time on expiration date management? Instead of having the time to go above and beyond with your patients, what if they’re beholden to drawn-out administrative duties like checking the supply room for expired products?
Manual processes that take time away from patients by forcing hospital staff to spend hours upon hours on tasks like expiration date management need to be phased out of the healthcare industry. Technology has infiltrated the rest of the hospital – why should the supply room be any different?
In this post, we’ll share a simple alternative to manual expiration date management that can save your staff time and reallocate their efforts toward patient care.
What is expiration date management?
Expiration date management is a process that is used to ensure that medical supplies and equipment are up-to-date before they are used on a patient.
While the importance of removing expired products and supplies from your hospital may seem intuitive, you’re probably wondering if the probability of their existence and subsequent usage warrants the oversight that expiration date management provides. Is it really all that likely that your supply room is packed with expired products?
Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology says that as much as “7% to 10% of products likely expire on hospital shelves.” Worse, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, 24% of hospital workers have seen or heard of an expired product being used on a patient.
This makes expiration date management a critical process within your hospital’s operations strategy. Expired products have the potential to harm or cause detriment to a patient’s health, and if you’re committed to top-notch patient care, you simply can’t afford (literally and metaphorically) to have expired medical supplies or equipment in your supply room.
Why hospitals need to move on from manual processes
Expiration date management is a problem for many hospitals because they are continuing to rely on manual processes that slow down their staff and leave too much room for error. Where a patient is concerned, it’s imperative that your hospital’s expiration date management process put you in the best position possible to make certain that your staff only have access to up-to-date supplies and equipment.
Today, hospitals are relying on a menagerie of systems in order to complete expiration date management. These systems include spot-checking, using RFID, conducting frequent full inventory sweeps, and utilizing a 2-bin system.
The problem with these systems is that they are far too manual to make sense for a modern hospital. They require staff to spend hours completing detailed work that requires an extreme amount of focus to be done correctly, hours that take away valuable time from their patients.
There’s a simple alternative – one that helped The University of Kansas Medical Center increase their date checking efficiency by 56%, and generated a 32.2% projected reduction in annual loss within the first year of program deployment.
The efficient alternative to manual expiration date management process
The key to making expiration date management simpler and more efficient for your hospital system is turning to technology. Expiration date management software is the best option for maintaining an efficient and effective process in your hospital, reducing the opportunity for expired supplies and equipment to be used on patients and requiring less manpower from your staff. Here’s why:
Expiration date management software is proactive. It doesn’t require your staff to conduct frequent full-inventory sweeps which can add hours (if not days) worth of labor costs to your bottom line, hours that aren’t spent on patient care. Software like Date Check Pro for Healthcare utilize expiration tracking and alerts for every SKU and bin location across an entire health system and proactively sends alerts when inventory is about to expire. This means that your staff can spend less time checking each and every syringe in every box in your supply room every quarter, and simply check them when they get a notification that they’re about to expire. While this proactive process still has a manual element to it, it is far less strenuous and time-consuming than other processes that are in place throughout the medical industry today. Though some hospitals still prefer to conduct a yearly inventory sweep, Date Check Pro gives supply managers peace of mind when it comes to expired supplies and equipment, and allows them to prioritize patient care once again.
Software like Date Check Pro for Healthcare also adds a layer of confidence for supply managers who are tasked with purchasing supplies and equipment for your hospital. As you know, medical inventory can be costly to acquire and maintain, so supply managers need to have data-backed reasoning for their purchasing habits. Expiration date management software can not only reduce manual labor hours spent date checking, it can reduce the amount of time supply managers spend manually determining which products need to be ordered more or less frequently due to demand. Date Check Pro’s inventory management feature and real-time analytics help supply managers identify high dollar and high quantity products that are nearing expiration. As a result, staff can adjust inventory levels and remove obsolete products to help prevent a financial loss for the organization. How’s that for technological efficiency? Advantage: Date Check Pro.
Whether you’re relying on full-inventory checks, spot checks or a 2-bin system, it’s clear that these manual processes require a significant amount of resources and labor hours. Even then, they’re not completely reliable. By implementing an expiration date management software like Date Check Pro into your operations strategy, you’ll be able to feel confident knowing that you’re using your staff’s time and energy wisely, and freeing up their labor hours to do what they do best: focusing on your patients.
It only takes a few steps to elevate your expiration date management process. We’ve compiled industry best practices and quick tips into our new eBook, “The Quick Guide to Healthcare Expiration Date Management“. Download this free resource by clicking the image below.