healthcare inventory management

How to Set Up a Healthcare Asset Tracking System for Your Facility

Healthcare asset tracking is a critical function of a healthcare facility. Whether you are a hospital or a large healthcare facility, valuable assets are worth millions—perhaps even billions- and deserve proper attention.

If you have a healthcare asset tracking system, you can keep track of everything in your possession efficiently. Inventory Managers must recognize the importance of this function to keep track of the business, insurance, financial security, and patient safety.

Does your system need a tune-up, or are you setting up healthcare asset tracking for the first time? If so, this guide will give you an understanding of what you should do to ensure your tracking systems are correctly in place.

Implementing a Healthcare Inventory Management System

Healthcare facilities are like every other business; in the sense that saving money matters. Like any business, you have an obligation to keep budgets in line and monitor spending.

Inventory tracking can be complex in an extensive healthcare system. Part of your responsibility includes:

All of this is in the spirit of caring for patients and ensuring staff has what it needs to execute the task.

The task might sound simple: keep track of your inventory, including equipment and supplies. In practice, it's highly complicated knowing how many different departments and needs your hospital has at all times.

Adopt an Automated System

The only way to keep track of everything in a large system is to use an automated system. This computerized system allows you to monitor all the parts of your inventory and run the necessary analytics to track it all.

So, how do you get started? Let's take a closer look.

Take Inventory

First things first, start by doing a thorough inventory of all equipment and supplies. All departments need to do this simultaneously so your inventory is accurate.

Gathering necessary information while doing this inventory also makes sense, especially for equipment. You need to:

  • Categorize your assets by type
  • If possible, document the asset value or do an estimate
  • Years in service of the equipment
  • Manufacturer information
  • Parts vendors
  • Other relevant information about each asset

Once you have this inventory information, it becomes the foundation for your automated system.

Use Unique Identification and Tag Assets

Once you've completed inventory, you want to tag all assets, which helps you to account for all equipment and supplies.

Each piece of equipment and supply should have its unique identification number. Many large organizations use an automated system to execute this step.

Once all equipment is counted and tagged, you have the foundation for managing your inventory and assets going forward.

Asset Tags and Barcode Labels

Just by the nature of what you do at your hospital or healthcare facility, healthcare asset tracking presents a few unique challenges.

You need to ensure the asset tags and barcode labels withstand the type of cleaning and exposure they'll likely get in the hospital environment. For example, hospital equipment gets regular sanitizing to ensure the safety of patients.

You want tags and labels manufactured to withstand cleaning.

You also want to ensure nobody can remove the tags and labels you're using to prevent possible theft or tampering with the equipment.

Address Equipment Utilization

Once you have carefully labeled inventory and equipment, use the automated system's analytics to monitor utilization. This can be helpful when working on budgets and allocating funds for different departments.

Likewise, if you have equipment experiencing high utilization, you will know where you may need to add to equipment inventory in the future.

Your automated system should provide these important analytics that allow you to monitor utilization.

Work in Asset Lifecycle as Part of Management System

An essential component of asset management is monitoring the lifecycle of your equipment.

If you monitor the lifecycle, you can monitor the following:

  • Condition of assets
  • Manage maintenance schedules for equipment
  • Track the lifetime costs associated with assets

By monitoring use, condition, maintenance, and expected life span, you may also plan for the future. It will help you decide where and when to allocate funds for purchases.

Plan for Maintenance

Maintenance is also an essential part of any equipment. Like any business, if your hospital invests in expensive equipment, routine care, and maintenance is the best way to keep it functioning and extend its life.

Your automated system may include when to plan for maintenance, even including manufacturer information for the different equipment.

Create a System for Check-In and Check-Out of Equipment

Finally, another vital component of an automated system involves the inventory tracking of healthcare equipment and supplies.

Your automated system should include a check-out and check-in system, which allows you to account for all equipment at all times and know exactly where it's located.

Your unique asset tags and barcodes become essential here because they are used as part of your check-out and check-in system.

In this case, using scanners that connect directly to your automated system is also critical.

Get Your Healthcare Asset Management in Place Today

Healthcare inventory management is essential in any hospital and healthcare facility. Equipment is costly, and tracking its use helps you understand your future needs while protecting your assets.

By implementing an asset-tracking system similar to BlueQ SmartScan, hospitals can track their assets in real-time and optimize their inventory management. BlueQ SmartScan is a healthcare inventory management system that can replace aged and expensive ERP handhelds and also provides the functionality that standard ERP handhelds are missing, improving the efficiency of the supply chain management process for healthcare. Investing in healthcare asset tracking systems like BlueQ SmartScan saves hospitals time and money while improving patient care and safety. If you want to learn more about the merits of a healthcare inventory management system, contact us today.


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