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BPO Bulletin

Revolutionizing Materials and Inventory Management: How Outsourcing Maximizes Hospital Efficiency and Enhances Patient Care

by Ken Neal
November 27, 2023

In the ever-evolving healthcare field, hospitals and other healthcare organizations face the daunting task of ensuring that day-to-day operations support the delivery of top-notch patient care. Hospitals must remain adaptable in the face of increasing patient volume, evolving medical technologies and shifting work environments. At the same time, these organizations often face financial constraints, making it essential to balance quality with cost-efficiency.

This challenge can certainly be seen in healthcare materials management. Hospitals require access to vital tools and supplies, which is often complicated by inventory tracking challenges, unique storage requirements and strict expiration dates. External suppliers can disrupt the hospital supply chain if they fail to meet expectations. And it can be daunting to implement new technologies to keep track of inventory. At the same time, hospitals also need to ensure interoperability with existing systems while confirming that supplies are not only in stock, but in the right place for medical staff to use when needed. Canon’s approach includes updating inventory methodology based on discussions and training sessions with onsite nurses and physicians. Our teams value their input and align with their daily needs for inventory accessibility and efficient communication flow.

To address these challenges and streamline operations, many hospitals and healthcare organizations are turning to outsourced hospital inventory management services partners with healthcare industry expertise to revolutionize their organization's operations.

Reshaping hospital inventory management for flexibility, scalability and cost savings

As hospitals grow, materials and healthcare inventory management becomes more intricate. Inventory must be kept at the right level to meet demand. It is vital that physicians have efficient access to the high value, mission-specific tools and inventory that they need. Unavailable tools can result in crucial minutes being lost for patient care. However, managing inventory while navigating rotating staff schedules and supplier relationships is complex. Outsourcing provides the flexibility to scale based on your needs, whether you're expanding into new practices or experiencing fluctuations in patient volume.

By entrusting materials and medical inventory management to experts, you eliminate the need to invest in specialized personnel, infrastructure and technologies. Inventory management services partners track and manage inventory data and levels, procure supplies and manage supplier relationships, resulting in cost savings for your organization. And a true materials and inventory partner integrates with your existing systems while optimizing inventory levels, reducing waste and cutting additional costs.

One of the nation's top children's hospitals realized these savings firsthand. By rewiring workflows for maximum efficiency and reorganizing supply storage, Canon revolutionized the hospital's inventory management. In endoscopic mechanical items alone, Canon reduced inventory levels, freeing up storage space and cutting costs by over $40,000.

Mitigating risks and ensuring compliance

When managing supplies and inventory in-house, hospitals assume extra risk outside of healthcare — such as fluctuations in demand, supplier disruptions, market uncertainties and changing regulations. Outsourcing partners take on this risk and help ensure operational continuity. These experts can evaluate your internal processes to identify improvements and reduce cycle time by integrating best practices. And outsourcing partners hold close relationships with suppliers, leading to improved communication and better terms, including more favorable pricing, better lead times and greater supply chain management efficiency.

Inventory and materials management partners like Canon are also well-versed in healthcare industry regulations and compliance standards. By partnering with these experts, you ensure your materials and inventory management processes adhere to all necessary guidelines, minimizing legal and financial risks. For example, when a healthcare provider needed to rethink its reliance on paper records to better comply with industry regulations, Canon developed digital workflows and records management processes to support its digital transformation.

Refocusing on core competencies: Elevating patient care

A hospital’s ability to serve patients is directly tied to proper materials and inventory management. Stockouts of emergency medical equipment, for example, can impede patient health, leading to decreased quality of care ratings for healthcare facilities. However, reallocating internal teams to manage stock reduces their time spent caring for patients. Outsourcing medical supplies and healthcare inventory management allows you to tap into a wealth of knowledge and cutting-edge technologies to manage your inventory more efficiently. Having the right management structure in place, combined with employee training programs dedicated to supply chain and inventory management, help ensure the proper support and training for the job at hand.

Experienced partners like Canon leverage advanced inventory management systems and data analytics to optimize every aspect of the healthcare supply chain. From demand forecasting and procurement to storage and distribution, these tools provide valuable insights to inform decision-making, reduce waste, and enhance visibility across all systems and facilities.

A nationally ranked hospital partnered with Canon to reevaluate its data tracking, inventory management and logistics employee development. With Canon’s Kanban inventory systems and point-of-use storage model, the hospital reduced processing times, gleaned important business insights and gained greater scheduling flexibility. As the flow of critical medical supplies improved, hospital staff were empowered to refocus on delivering exemplary patient care.

A trusted materials and inventory management partner

From cost savings and enhanced efficiency to improved supplier relationships and regulatory compliance, the advantages of outsourcing materials and inventory management for hospitals and healthcare organizations are far-reaching. Finding a partner to support these critical functions is becoming not just a strategic choice but a vital one to enable healthcare providers to thrive in a competitive landscape.

With customized solutions designed for a hospital’s specific parameters, Canon is dedicated to enabling healthcare professionals to deliver quality care by providing a combination of people, process and technology. Canon's holistic approach, featuring KPI-driven performance based on a profound understanding of the nuances of healthcare, solidifies its reputation as the premier partner for healthcare organizations looking to optimize their materials and inventory management processes.

Contact us to learn how Canon's Healthcare Business Process Outsourcing Solutions can help your organization in a business value assessment.

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