During this climate of Mergers and Acquisitions in Healthcare, major decisions are being made based on data that is inconsistently collected, verified and reported.  Materials Management accounts for up to 50% (or more) of your operating expense, but consistent standards and methodology of collecting the data needed to make decisions about this huge budget line are not being implemented.

The tendency when a facility is acquired is to let them operate as they always have, and incorporate change slowly, leaving a sense of autonomy while catering to the belief that people resist change.  The end result is that the inventory data you receive from your various departments and facilities will be mediocre at best.  Each will set their own rules, count only what they believe to be necessary, estimate difficult product, submit Par lists as if they had been counted, submit reports in various formats, etc.  None of these methods will produce Audit Grade Reports that comply with Sarbanes-Oxley accounting standards.  Hospital groups that rely on haphazard collection methods are one step away from a full blown audit review.

Bringing in a Qualified Hospital Inventory Service is usually seen as a benefit to the staff that was formerly required to stay late, working nights and weekends on a task that they don’t correlate to Patient Care. 

Looking for opportunities to improve operations with data that is “Apples and Oranges” will never give you actionable results.  Momentum will be lost, and dollars will be wasted while sorting through bad data.

Consider the following:

· Establish Inventory Best Practices and institute the same standards for all departments and facilities

· Utilize the expertise of an independent inventory service  company like DSC to help you know what you have, provide audit grade counts, produce concise and timely reports, and provide Comparative Analysis Reports so that you can make accurate decisions to increase your ROI

· Use a single company like DSC for all of your facilities for consistent methodology and reporting, or use 2 different companies by territory so that each company tries to outperform the other

· Look into Item Master Standardization across your facility networks to streamline operations.  DSC can help you with this by cleaning your data, adding GTIN and UNSPSC data, standardizing product descriptions, etc

· Examine your Consignment Practices and Contracting.  DSC has produced some huge ROI on Consignment alone