January 7, 2019
Hospital Inventory Needs During Flu Season
There’s no telling what patients may come into a hospital on any given day. One day it could be quiet with just a few cases and the next it’s like a full moon out with events that could be described as “seen on tv”. In any case, the hospital and its staff need to be 100% prepared for whatever is thrown at them and that means ensuring that the hospital inventory needs are met and up to date.
Hospitals Seasonal Needs
You don’t really think of hospitals as having “seasonal needs.” But in fact, they may have more incidents that coincide with certain times of the year and that means they need to have supplies and equipment to meet the needs of those patients.
For instance – during the winter in areas that see a lot of snow or ice, there could be more falls and trauma as a result. That means hospitals need to be sure they have more items in their inventory such as crutches, splints, braces, cast supplies, etc to treat common injuries like broken bones. Patients expect immediate treatment when they come in for an injury and having to wait while medical staff search for working x-ray machines or CAT scans or can’t find a set of crutches so the patient can be released is troublesome.
Let’s Talk About Flu Season
The 2017-2018 influenza season in the United States was one of the most severe in recent memory. High rates of flu occurred all over the country simultaneously, in contrast to most seasons of the past decade, when certain states would peak with flu activity while others remained relatively quiet.
According to the CDC, from October 1, 2017 through April 28, 2018, 30,453 laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations were reported through the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET), which covers approximately 9% of the U.S. population. People 65 years and older accounted for approximately 58% of reported influenza-associated hospitalizations. Overall hospitalization rates (all ages) during 2017-2018 were the highest ever recorded in this surveillance system, breaking the previously recorded high recorded during 2014-2015.
Hospitals, clinics and doctors offices were overrun with patients seeking the flu vaccine or needing treatment if they tested positive for the flu. It was critical that hospitals had vaccines on hand – the general public didn’t want to have to go place to place trying to get their flu shot. It’s also equally important that they had testing kits readily available to accurately diagnose patients so they could begin immediate treatment with pharmaceuticals such as Tamiflu.
That’s why tracking hospital inventory needs are so important. In times of crisis when the public is turning to medical professionals for help, hospitals need to be sure they have the means and materials to treat them. With the flu epidemic for instance, some areas had shortages of antivirals like Tamiflu. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) had to step in to help the supply chain move medicines to where they were needed most.
How Tracking Hospital Inventory Needs Can Make a Difference
In order to be up to date on hospital, inventory needs to avoid situations where hospitals and staff are out of meds or don’t have the supplies to treat patients, the use of an asset/inventory tracking system makes a huge difference. Time is of the essence when it comes to healthcare services. The medical team doesn’t have time to waste searching for needed equipment while they should be handling your care. Just as medical technology evolves, so does the technology to keep up with hospital inventory and assets that are so critical for patient care. Hospital inventory software and asset tracking tools eliminate the frustration of running out of supplies you need or locating a vital piece of equipment that is required. Staff can focus on what they do best, unencumbered by an outdated, inefficient process.
Having real-time, updated hospital inventory needs to be categorized and accessible in one central location makes it easier for medical staff and those who are ordering and tracking supplies to know what they have, where it is and the quantities of any item in stock. They can also analyze what was used in the previous season and make purchasing decisions based on what may be to come the next season (as with the flu).
The knowledge that inventory tracking provides helps cut down on waste, lost revenue and most importantly, guesswork. When hospitals are able to eliminate waiting times, provide better patient outcomes and raise the quality of patient care, safety and satisfaction, the payoff can be substantial.
Asset Panda provides anytime/anywhere access to data on the assets a hospital inventory needs. Current data is accessible in one central location and can be instantly updated from anywhere in the hospital thanks to free mobile apps that can be used on employees on smartphones or tablets. Staff can scan barcodes from the built-in scanner every time they give a vaccine or a dose of Tamiflu. That scan is instantly updated in Asset Panda and numbers are reflected accordingly. Having access to this data makes it easier for hospital officials to make more informed decisions and stay in the know on what materials are in stock and keep the focus on patient care.
Flu season is around the corner, and your hospital inventory needs to be armed and ready with the equipment, medicines and supplies to face it head-on. Let Asset Panda be your partner in the fight. Visit www.assetpanda.com to learn more and get started with a free 14-day trial.