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Cloud key for healthcare

01 February 2022

BAR CODE Data has identified three inventory management trends to watch out for in healthcare in 2022.

Robust inventory management has become absolutely critical to patient care as efficiencies must be found in order to mitigate against the influx of patients caused by the global pandemic and other significant demands on healthcare. Lean management and best use of resources are increasingly important, enabling healthcare providers under extreme pressure to treat higher volumes of patients while maintaining high treatment standards.

Efficiencies found through human intervention can only achieve so much, and so technology and innovation must fill the void. Once a manual activity, scanning, automation, mobile devices and labelling are all crucial to medical inventory management, relieving the strain on employees and speeding up effective patient care. The 2022 Zebra Hospital Vision Study demonstrates that the trend for new technology is set to continue as 89% of hospital executives agree that real-time data is essential for robust patient care while 75% don’t feel their organisations are investing enough in this area.

Hospital supply chains are a perfect example of an area where technology can support efficiencies and integrated processes can further safeguard patient care, freeing up hospital staff to do what they do best. Clinical mobility can further enhance services, providing management with real-time data on which to base critical supply chain decisions.

Based on recent developments and research, here are three inventory management practices we expect to see trending in the healthcare supply chain in 2022:

1 Real-time Data

When operating with limited or inconsistent or outdated information, inventory management and visibility is severely hampered and can lead to critical failures. With emerging technology, including RFID, for medical supply chain management, we can expect to see the healthcare sector adopting technology to enable enhanced visibility between asset management and care delivery across clinical and non-clinical departments, tracking everything from medications, medical devices, specimens, staff and patients.

Real-time data enables informed decision making, eliminates guesswork, and ensures timely action across the medical supply chain through the use of scanning technology and mobile computing.

Within healthcare, mobile solutions keep clinicians who are at the coal face up to date with the latest inventory information so that critical care decisions can be made based upon the most accurate data. Whether that be in an emergency situation or in prep for the next day, departments must always have full sight of their inventory situation. 

2 Workflow Automation

Collaboration across departments is critical in healthcare and workflow automation can effortlessly link processes across a setting, easing staff communication, ensuring effective collaboration and improving response times.

Workflow automation also provides accurate analytics and automated reporting, allowing healthcare teams to make informed decisions based on real-time data. Automation can also remove the propensity for human error in the decision making process, for example automatically re-ordering essential supplies or medications as stocks run low. This automatic replenishment facility prevents inventory issues which can negatively impact on patient care.

3 Cloud Technology

More data is available to clinicians than ever before so it’s easy for systems to become overwhelmed by multiple, overlapping or complex data streams, particularly if software is not integrated. And, if disparate systems are in use, human error can come into play when interpreting data sets from various sources, such as for inventory management.

For many settings this will drive the trend for integrated systems such as moving existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to a cloud-based solution. Cloud software has a number of advantages, such as improved data security, access to data on the move, and remote management. With clinicians on the move within a setting, or between locations, mobile devices ensure that reliable data is always available.

From an IT management perspective, remote IT teams can utilise Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems to push updates to devices or even shut down access entirely if a device falls into the wrong hands or is misplaced, maintaining the integrity of data and security.

The bottom line is that cloud computing is at the heart of all of these trends. The healthcare industry is not unique in this respect as there is a colossal shift towards remote access, enhanced security and real-time data requirements across many industries.  However, the healthcare industry is unique in the fact that errors can be fatal, and so it’s vital that specialist technology partners are chosen to implement appropriate solutions.

For more information, visit www.barcodedata.co.uk