Care Healthcare Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain Management plays a vital role in our hospitals today. With the growing cost of healthcare and new technologies, it is vital for hospitals to run as efficiently as possible without jeopardizing care. To the materials manager and to the financial minds of a hospital the area of supply chain is a tedius task at best, the kind of planning, strategizing and measuring that seldom goes recognized and rewarded. The work involved with inventory control fits tightly within that description.
In many hospitals today, it is easy for inventory control to go astray and become uncontrolable. This is the case with I Care Healthcare System. Too many people with too much access to too much product procurement are controlling
supplies and equipment coming into the facility without any regulation or little oversight. While the blame for over-ordering is frequently pointed at nursing staff, famous for squirreling away unseen, already paid-for stocks of goods, they are not the only offenders. More accurately, when it comes to inventory, it's the system that fails a hospital, not its people, over what is essentially an asset management issue.
Currently I Care Healthcare System uses a mainframe that was develped internally with an outdated materials management system that allows you to generate purchase orders, but is lacking in running reports that track the usage. This is not uncommon in the hospital materials management environment. The process I mainly manual where requisitions are generated from the department, sent to purchasing, a purchase order is then generated and is faxed or called in to the manufacturer or Med/Surg distributor. Although the distributor has the ability to run reports for I Care and does so periodically, the hospital system is so antiquated it makes it difficult to confirm orders and quantities ordered on particular P.O.'s. In fact much of the time is spent making sure that the packaging and pricing are correct in the hospital system vs. the distributors system. The other issue is that many of the high ticket items (Orthopedic implant, Cardiology and Cath Lab products) do not go through the distributor and in most cases are on consignment, where it is easy to use the product and be billed for it later totally losing any control over the inventory.
Many hospitals today have upgraded to accounting, materials management systems and storage solutions, such a Lawson, Smart Stream, Par Excellence, Pixis etc., that allow easier tracking of purchases and usage. However, these systems are very expensive and in most cases still going through growing pains, they are also cost prohibitive to many hospitals around the country. For example, Lawson was traditionally an accounting and finance tool that is trying to build a platform to connect with the materials environment and although they have been somewhat successful, it is very combersome and there are continuing issues with running...