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Navigating COVID-19: Why Medical Inventory Tracking Is More Important Than Ever

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Reprinted with permission from TruMed Products. Original article published here.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a widespread impact on business organizations across the globe, and no industry has been more affected than health care delivery.

Medical practices have been forced to adapt quickly to greatly increased demands for personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing products, and other hygiene items, and many are still very vulnerable to supply chain disruptions. A recent article from the Annals of Surgery explained that the shortages of PPE and other essential equipment show just how important it is to have a centrally controlled inventory of medical supplies.

In addition to adapting to the new reality, medical practices should also be looking to the future and anticipating a greater need for vaccine stock management with the release of a COVID-19 vaccine. Read on to learn how medical inventory tracking and vaccine stock management can help your practice weather and prepare for the uncertain future.

The Importance of Medical Inventory Management

Inventory management ensures you monitor not only your available medications, but also your supply of PPE, sanitizing products, and other hygiene-related items. Today these non-medicinal products are equally important in quality health care. In fact, recent research related to COVID-19 suggests that safeguarding the PPE supply chain can help reduce mortality. As you receive increased and unpredictable demands at your clinic, it can be difficult to keep up with your inventory management manually.

One of the greatest assets of a computerized inventory management system is it can help your practice with situational awareness in real time. This allows you to rapidly identify and address any inventory deficits, such as a shortage of masks. Some inventory management systems can also greatly streamline your practice’s medical inventory tracking efforts to free up your time so you can focus on your patients.

What to Look for in an Inventory Management System

An effective medical inventory tracking system should be able to track products accurately so they are available and issued to the right patient, every time. This means the system needs to capture the lot, expiration date, and dosage for each product, as well as record how much has been used in real time.

Some systems combine these functionalities to help you create a safer and more efficient workflow. The AccuShelf Inventory Management System, for example, allows you to capture every detail about your products in seconds — from the medication strength and the appearance to the expiration date and unit quantities — all with a wireless barcode scanner. You can see what’s available in real time and the system will also notify you of low and critical inventory levels. This means you can monitor your high-demand products and medications more easily without working any extra hours.

The Importance of Vaccine Stock Management

Proper vaccine stock management is both critical and complex. Ineffective vaccines not only jeopardize public health measures, they also drive up health care costs. Research shows that vaccine waste is a serious concern, with health care facilities discarding 29 million vials of influenza vaccine in one flu season alone. A SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) vaccine release and flu season are both on the horizon and vaccine stock management will be key to navigating this busy vaccination period.

Implementing vaccine stock management ensures your practice has enough safe vaccines available for use. While you can organize a vaccine refrigerator or freezer unit yourself, this involves time-consuming practices, such as manually rotating vials to keep them at the optimal temperature and ensure they’re being used before their expiration dates. Even if you or your staff have the time and experience to manage your vaccines, a manual system allows for too many human errors that could affect your vaccine offerings.

Why You Should Consider a Vaccine Stock Management System

By using a vaccine management system, you can rely on temperature control to safeguard the integrity of your vaccines. With its integrated vaccine inventory management software, the AccuVax Vaccine Management System can streamline your vaccine storage processes. Vaccines are rotated based on their expiry date, while integrated data loggers provide the ideal temperature across the fridge and freezer. Thanks to the door-less design and biometrically-secure access, AccuVax ensures your vaccines are never at risk of disappearing or becoming less effective.

In addition to minimizing loss, AccuVax monitors real-time dose levels to provide an accurate inventory and audit trail. You never have to count out individual doses as you load the machine and you’ll always be notified of low or expiring inventory. This can help your practice safely and efficiently scale up its vaccine inventory management when a new COVID-19 vaccine hits the market.

Using Complementary Management Systems

Having complementary management systems can provide your practice with security and real-time information about your entire supply. The more your systems are integrated, the more insight you have into your medical inventory tracking. As research has shown, the integration of systems can increase supply chain resilience, especially with the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With two complimentary inventory management systems working together, your practice will be poised to better navigate the pandemic and deliver quality, reliable health care to every patient in need. The AccuVax and AccuShelf systems can be seamlessly integrated to provide your practice with a refrigerated and non-refrigerated full system solution. This gives you an instant overview of all your medical inventory needs without having to operate multiple or different systems.

Learn more about how the AccuVax and AccuShelf systems can benefit your practice and its COVID-19 preparedness with one of our upcoming webinars.

NCCHCA welcomes and regularly publishes white papers and articles submitted by members, partners and associates with subject matter expertise. The appearance of any guest publication in this section of our website represents the views of the author and does not constitute endorsement by NCCHCA of the stated opinions or perspectives, nor does it suggest endorsement of the contributor’s products or services.

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