Frequently Asked Questions
See what others have asked, or ask a new one!
What is the benefit of medical inventory management?
Full Question: What is the benefit of medical inventory management? I mean, we get by with what we are already doing. Sure there are problems. But why would I want to hire an outside company to improve what we are already doing?
Answer: Most hospitals that conduct “In-House” inventories do so for one purpose only – to check off an accounting requirement at year end. Assigning each department the task of reporting back what they have is like “putting the fox in charge of the hen house!” Each department counts (or estimates) what they have using rules they create. There is no standardization and very little accountability.
DSC can provide you with accurate data that can be used to quantify improvement potentials. Our data will show you where your supply chain strengths and weakness are, which will lead to increased efficiencies. You will also get the detailed accurate financial data for your accounting needs in a fraction of the time usually found when conducted In-House. Our focus is on your inventory data so that your staff can focus on their primary duties – patient care.
Can you provide help for a small clinic?
Full Question: I am the general manager of a small clinic in Virginia with 5 general practice rooms and one exam and simple procedure room. We don’t have a large inventory, but we could use some help straightening things out. We had to cancel a procedure last month due to the item in-stock expiring causing the patient unnecessary pain that we should have been able to help with. We need to get a handle on this problem. What can you do for a small clinic in our situation?
Answer: Proper management of your Medical Inventory Supplies will help you to do your primary job more efficiently, which is patient care. Having the right amount of supplies is crucial to your patients and your organization. This is especially true for a smaller practice such as you describe, as every dollar wasted affects your bottom line harder than it would a large facility.
DSC would recommend:
- Establish a baseline inventory. What do you have and where is it located?
- Compare quantities on hand to use needs. Establish PAR levels, re-order points, and Min-Max levels.
- Assess your risks for outdated product. Examine stock rotation compliance, look for vulnerabilities, and find solutions to fix the problem.
- Examine where supplies are stored vs. where they are used. Find efficiencies on a stock reorganization plan.
DSC can help you with all of these solutions and more.
If you need assistance, feel free to contact us anytime. Together we can work out a plan and get you help for your unique needs.
What can you do for my clinic that a software system won’t or can’t do?
Full Question: Can I just purchase some inventory software to handle inventory management for me? What can you do for my clinic that a software system won’t or can’t do?
Answer: We fully support using Inventory Software tools to help you manage your inventory. There are many versions out there and each should be evaluated for how they fit your specific needs. However, no software will help you if you load it with bad data. In order to get reliable and helpful output, you need good baseline data. This is the most critical component of any software installation.
Once you establish an accurate baseline, you will need to maintain the data integrity. This can be maintained through periodic inventory, a cycle count program or a combination of both. If left unchecked, your software data will eventually fail you.
Does DSC provide simple yet meaningful assessments as a service for clients?
Full Question: If we wanted to hire DSC for a simple yet meaningful assessment of our situation, would you be amenable to that?
Answer: Yes. DSC can perform a full on-site assessment and then present you with a detailed proposal and price for you to review.
Is DSC able to handle a very large hospital’s medical inventory projects?
Full Question: I represent a very large hospital with 30 Operating Rooms and 7 Cath Labs. Not only that, but our inventory has not been properly counted for over 10 years with things scattered everywhere. We also need help coming up with a plan for our internal Pharmacy which is completely out of hand. Is DSC able to handle such a large project?
Answer: DSC offers a full range of services to meet all these needs. They can be scheduled concurrently or broken into components to meet your scheduling or budgetary needs. In addition, DSC has several partners that can provide software to assist with data analysis and hardware such as racks, bins, and smart cabinets to make your improvement goals a reality.
How often do you recommend a physical inventory for a standard hospital, clinic, or pharmacy?
Answer: The answer depends on your motives for conducting an inventory. A yearly inventory is required by the IRS for financial reporting requirements. If Inventory management is your goal, then you should consider an interim inventory and/or cycle count program so that you can measure your needs, monitor your progress, and adjust so that you can reach your goals.
Can you give examples of what you mean by special projects and what the benefits are?
Full Question: You mention that you do special projects on your website. Can you give examples of what you mean by special projects and what the benefits are?
Answer: Examples of successful Special Project engagements conducted by DSC staff:
- Consignment Validation projects- check vendor contract compliance, analyze risks.
- Stockroom reorganizations – measure product usage, improve stockroom efficiency.
- Smart cabinet (Pyxis/Omnicell/other) cleanup, reorganization, and changeover.
- Data cleaning and forensics – examine item master issues, and recommend corrections and enhancements.
- Supply chain labor- temporary resources to cover vacations, leave of absence, or unexpected labor shortages.
- Initiate Cycle count programs and train your staff on implementation.
Would DSC be able to help us manage our new inventory software?
Full Question: If we purchased an inventory software package that helps us maintain our inventory real time, would you be able to help us manage the software?
Answer: Yes. We would start with some questions to ask your potential software vendor prior to purchasing so that you can minimize any future “Buyer’s Remorse”. All software requires accurate data before it can do anything, and we can help provide that to you. To keep your data accurate, periodic inventories and/or cycle counts need to be performed to correct errors that will naturally occur over time. As these errors are corrected, trends may become apparent that will lead to corrective measures in training and compliance.
We already have inventory software at our hospital and pharmacy. Can we hire you to do quarterly physical counts?
Full Question: We already have inventory software at our hospital and pharmacy. However, our numbers are off. Not all staff use it correctly despite all attempts to get them to. Our question is, can we hire you to do physical counts for us quarterly? This will ensure that despite our staff, we can have correct inventory tracking. This will improve our yearly bottom line and ensure we have everything we need when we need it.
Answer: Yes, quarterly inventories are possible, but you must weigh the dollar cost and potential disruptions inherent in frequent counts against any benefits derived. Better to find the source of the errors by examining the data more carefully. It could be a single employee making errors that throws the entire program off. Look at how product is received. Are invoices checked? Are the proper data fields being used? Are correct Unit of Measure data applied consistently to product received, dispensed or returned? How are you accounting for recall, outdates, or spoilage in your system? DSC can help you track down the source of these issues to help you get your program working as intended.
Do you need our current inventory files before conducting a data capture and count?
Answer: Yes, in order to provide an accurate valuation of existing inventory, we will need your inventory data files to clean and prepare for a point of entry validation count and data collection.
What deliverables can we expect and when?
Answer: Reports listing unpriced items and items not on file are provided daily throughout the course of the inventory. Final reports, including in-depth analysis of the entire inventory are sent within 3 business days of the count’s completion. Reporting for perpetual inventory areas are usually provided the same day and not more than 24 hours. An Executive Summary is provided approximately 15 days after the final report delivery.
How long does a typical inventory count take to complete?
Answer: For a medium-sized hospital, this typically takes 1-2 days. We do, however, staff to suit your needs.
Should we perform more than year-end data capture and inventory value counts?
Answer: An accurate baseline needs to be used to perform cycle counts throughout the year by an outside service and/or full wall-to-wall cycle at least 2 times each year and until an accurate perpetual system can be deployed using outsiders. Never deploy internally when you can have experts do it, allowing your staff to continue to improve other processes. Once all pieces are in place, an internal process can be used. You will need to continue to “measure, monitor, and adjust ®”.
Will I be able to view my inventory in each department?
Answer: Yes. The In-Depth Analysis report allows you to view your inventory in various ways.
- All items within each department and cost center
- All items within each storage area and procedure room
- All items that are found in each section (e.g., Suture Tree)
- All items that are found in multiple locations
- All items by manufacturer
Does DSC count consignment? If so, how will I distinguish them from owned on my analysis report?
Answer: Yes, DSC captures both consigned and owned inventory. Our proprietary software allows for consigned items to be flagged in our system which automatically segregates this information within the analysis report. When viewing your analysis report, there will be different fields for consigned inventory and owned product.
If I receive the analysis report and find pricing updates, do I need to make those adjustments?
Answer: DSC works with all of our customers in updating pricing and not on file (NOF) information. We would be pleased to apply pricing, Unit of Measure (UOM,) and NOF information. When this information is applied, DSC will deliver an updated analysis report.
About Our Services
Physical Data Capture of your Medical Inventory
Perpetual System Inventory Updating
DSC will perform a real time inventory count of perpetual supply areas while transactions are frozen. Once the counts are audited and verified, they are posted in the system.
Cycle Count Program
Cycle Counts may be performed on any number of product types such as consignment, perpetual, implants.
Pharmacy Inventory Services
Custom designed to your specific accounting requirements.
Laboratory Data Capture & Inventory
We will conduct a physical count of your laboratory supplies using proper Units of Measure based on item master criteria.
Detailed report showing changes over time so that you can evaluate progress.
Consigned to Owned Confirmation™ Program
We will schedule meetings with the manufacturer representatives and vendors of the consignment products to collect, review, and update contracts. When completed, DSC will conduct the initial consignment inventory.
Surgical Tray Audits
Surgical trays are normally included in a standard physical inventory, however, this can be offered as a stand-alone service.
DSC can train your department heads so that all departments are conducting inventory operations consistently and in compliance with corporate directives.
DSC can provide fully credentialed on-site resources for support of special and/or short-term needs.
Based on observation during an inventory and/or assessment, DSC can help identify which items are counted or not counted at specific locations.