Many hospitals utilize inventory management software to track the usage of their implants and supplies in order to know when to re-order them. They can also mine this data to understand which products are overstocked or understocked and can update their PAR levels as required. This can lead to an effective and efficient inventory management program that minimizes stock-outs and maximizes inventory turns.
While the financial benefits from successfully carrying out an efficient inventory management process more than pays for the system, a lot of hospitals may be leaving a lot of additional ROI on the table. An interface between an inventory management system and a hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR) system can provide additional financial returns to hospitals that undertake such a project.
The integration of a hospital’s inventory management software to its EMR can have numerous benefits. The biggest one is the ability of the interface to reduce the manual documentation requirement placed on nurses and techs. When documenting implants and supplies during a procedure, clinicians in the room are asked to select each item used from a drop-down list in the EMR and then fill in specific details about each item such as time of implant and laterality. Some hospitals ease this documentation burden by using barcode technology to allow staff to simply scan in items that are being used. However, both systems are error-prone and can cause an undue burden on clinicians during a procedure when their attention should be on the patient in the room.
Additionally, this same interface with the EMR can also help reduce the billing documentation burden on your staff. By having supply information flow over to your billing system, which is often on the same platform as the EMR, an additional documentation requirement for clinical staff can now be automated. With these interfaces set up, clinicians will now be saved from having to double- or even triple-document implant and supply usage data across multiple systems.
In order to enable this interface, there are 2 major requirements. The first requirement is that your inventory management system allows items to be assigned to patients either at the point of removal from inventory or at the point of use. Without this crucial information being captured, the interface with the EMR will not be of any value. The second requirement is coordinating the work with your inventory management software vendor, your internal IT group and potentially your EMR vendor as well. Though there may be some upfront costs with your software vendors and some internal IT costs as well, the resulting reduction in work for your staff and increase in documentation quality will pay for this interface many times over.
If you are evaluating inventory management software vendors, or are having issues completing an interface with your current vendor, consider iRISupply from Mobile Aspects. iRISupply was built with the purpose of automating clinical documentation on top of providing all the standard benefits of an inventory management system. Using barcode and RFID technologies, iRISupply captures patient information about each item used at the point of dispensation or the point of use. With this data then automatically sent over to the patient record and billing systems, much of the manual work being done by clinicians can be eliminated.