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Organization Tips and Tricks - How Do You Organize and Label Inventory?

/ By Ian LoperSeptember 12, 2022

When it comes to healthcare, speed and efficiency are the names of the game. Responding quickly requires good coordination, ready-to-deploy tools and equipment, and last but not least—reliable healthcare storage solutions that help track and maintain an updated inventory.

With the need to provide treatment quickly, comes the need to immediately know where things are. This enables healthcare workers to assess whether they can treat patients or if they will need to refer them to another hospital.

And if they can treat someone, knowing where medical supplies allow them to provide treatment as soon as possible—which can greatly impact the survival of a patient.

This sense of urgency highlights the importance of organizing inventory in healthcare facilities. More importantly, it emphasizes the need for good storage that makes organizing, labeling, and tracking of medical supplies more efficient.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

Organized inventory may sound simple, but it actually involves standardization and careful adherence to protocols. What allows healthcare workers to provide effective and timely treatment is their ability to work as a unit and respond to urgent situations as they come.

And to help healthcare workers easily assimilate and work together seamlessly is knowledge of and strict adherence to the same standards and protocols that your hospital follows.

Everything your workers do should abide by the same system, even the storage, and retrieval of medical supplies. This system allows any staff or worker to know where to locate things without having to ask whoever is in charge, improving their efficiency and making your operations run more smoothly.

3 Ways to Keep Track of Supplies

Knowing what is in stock and where they are stored in your medical storage is crucial to having them when you need them. As time is incredibly sensitive in healthcare settings, keeping track of supplies is a must.

Here are three ways to do just that.

1. Real-Time Inventory Control

More than knowing where things are, it's crucial that you know what is in stock and how much is in stock. These help you prepare for future needs, so you can always access them and never run out of inventory. This is even more crucial since healthcare facilities store perishable items which need to be kept track of, as well as hospital equipment that tend to go missing when unsupervised.

To stay on top of your inventory, you must have an inventory tracking system that reflects real-time updates. There should be only one centralized system for tracking your inventory, and you should have a unique barcode or QR label assigned to each item in your inventory.

Having one centralized inventory system makes sure that whoever wishes to update or refer to the inventory will be looking at the same file. For many hospitals, this comes in the form of a cloud-powered platform that all staff can access.

Meanwhile, assigning a unique barcode or QR label to every item helps you track their usage. While manually listing items in your inventory is a process prone to human error, scanning barcodes, and QR labels can make tracking items more accurate, increase productivity, and reduce additional work for whoever is maintaining the inventory.

2. Timely Audits

There are strict protocols and standards in healthcare, and this extends to the equipment and supplies used. As such, conducting timely audits of your inventory helps you maintain the safety and hygiene of your tools for better patient care.

Moreover, audits give you an opportunity to clearly define the stages in the lifecycle of an item. This allows you to note which items have to be replaced, repaired, discarded, and restocked.

And lastly, regular audits of your inventory help you stay ahead of your maintenance schedule. This is crucial to prevent unnecessary downtime and disruption to healthcare operations. These are inconveniences healthcare facilities cannot afford.

3. Getting Organized

A quick response can easily mean the difference between life and death in healthcare settings. Therefore, the last thing you want is a healthcare worker wandering down the halls of medical facilities trying to look for equipment or medical supply. Not only is this life-threatening to emergency cases, but it is inefficient and a huge waste of time.

Instead, you want to have all medical supplies and equipment in their rightful storage units. This helps everyone locate what they need when they need them, increasing their productivity, and improving their healthcare operations.

To do this, create a standardized storage system for all your medical supplies. Sort your inventory, put them in their dedicated storage units, and regularly clean and maintain said storage space. Moreover, put protocols in place so the standardized storage system is followed and maintained.

Lastly, hold orientations for new hires and require regular refreshers for all workers to ensure everyone is familiar with your storage standards and following them to a tee.

Smart Labeling Applications for Hospital Inventory

Creating a centralized system for tracking all medical supplies is key to maintaining an organized real-time inventory. Many hospitals do this through the use of smart labeling applications, such as the increasingly popular radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

RFID technology is a system of tagging items that involves the use of radio frequency to transfer data in real-time. Such technology allows healthcare facilities to track and identify items live for the best accuracy. This helps hospitals take stock of their inventory much more quickly, avoiding manual processing and reducing human error.

Moreover, RFID is used not only with medical supplies but also in tracking and tracing pharmaceuticals and blood samples throughout the hospital. This ensures that every patient receives the right diagnosis and the right medication, without fail.

Keep Your Hospital Inventory Organized with the Best Healthcare Storage Solutions

Maintaining a real-time inventory requires having organized storage space and a standardized inventory system. Distribution Systems International understands the challenges of healthcare storage to maintain inventory, save space, and control costs.

Why spend time hunting for the best storage solutions in the market when you can have innovative and efficient healthcare storage solutions customized just for you?

At Distribution Systems International, we create medical storage solutions that help you organize your hospital supplies, maximize storage capacity and floor space, increase employee efficiencies, boost productivity and operations, and improve patient care.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our storage experts and receive a no-obligation price quote, fill out our online form or contact us at 800-393-6090 at Distribution Systems International today!

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