3 Expiration Date Management Challenges Facing Hospital Systems

Healthcare costs continue to rise, and turnover is affecting hospitals at an alarming rate. We don’t need to tell you this – as an operations manager at a hospital system, you’re all too aware of the challenges facing your organization each and every day.

However, with industry-wide issues looming over you, are you having trouble seeing the forest for the trees? When you’re so aware of what’s happening country-wide, are you missing the challenges that are right in front of you, in your own hospital supply room?

If you’re using a traditional manual expiration date management system, it’s likely that you’re putting your organization – and your patients – at risk. Expired products may slip through the cracks and end up in the OR or on a nurse’s cart. If that happens, turnover is the least of your worries.

There are multiple facets to the expiration date management problem facing many hospital systems. We’re breaking down a few that you may want to consider.

3 Expiration Date Management Challenges Facing Hospital Systems

Supply hoarding

Hospital staff are known for hoarding supplies in their patient care rooms or on their personal nurse carts. When medical supplies and equipment make their way out of the supply room where expiration date management takes place (either with traditional manual means or through a digital system) loopholes are created in the monitoring process. It’s impossible to track these supplies without a significant behavior change that can only be implemented from the top down.

Supply waste

Medical waste and expiration date management are intricately intertwined. When supplies are not properly tracked, removed when expired, and ordered in correct amounts according to usage, the hospital system suffers and so do your patients. A report from Johns Hopkins University estimated that $15 million worth of surgical supplies are discarded every year, and UCSF Medical Center found that nearly $1,000 in supplies per procedure were discarded without being used, costing up to $2.9 million annually. Hospital systems take supply waste too lightly, and are therefore unconcerned by their purchasing habits. Smarter expiration date management would shed light on out of control over purchasing, and force hospital systems to cut back on their waste – both physical and financial.

Lack of proactivity

The largest expiration date management challenge facing hospital systems today is a lack of proactivity. Manual processes simply don’t cut it when patients’ lives are on the line. These traditional systems only keep track of products once they have already expired – and it might not be soon enough to stop a hospital staff member for using them on a patient. There isn’t proactive action taken to remove items that are about to expire from the shelves of supply rooms.

Investing in a digital expiration date management system can help you mitigate these risks and navigate the complicated world of medical supplies and equipment. Not only will you be able to accurately and proactively identify products that are about to expire on your shelves, but you’ll be able to take action and reduce potential waste and hoarding caused by over purchasing, overstocking, and a lack of proactivity.