By Phillip Morrill
Inventory is one of those necessary “evils” required in a dialysis practice. Often, it becomes a second or third responsibility and does not receive the attention it deserves.
I have talked with many people across the country regarding their inventory in dialysis units. From these discussions, I have identified a few areas where dialysis facilities are losing money in their inventory.
Some of the serious errors are—being unaware of what is actually happening in the units in regards to inventory, lack of standardization of items, lack of price negotiations and comparisons, too much inventory on the shelves, heavily involved manual processes, and antipathetic mindsets around investing in inventory solutions.
Too often I talk with administrators or owners about their inventory: what is ordered; where it is ordered from; how much is paid for dialyzers, saline, bloodlines, etc.; and how the supplies are used.
Almost always I receive one of two responses. The first and most common is what the administrator or owner THINKS is happening, only to find out later that what is ACTUALLY happening is very different.
The second answer is, “I don’t know.”
Supply and medication costs in a well-run dialysis facility represent a healthy portion of a clinics’ expenses, it is vital for administrators and owners to know exactly what is happening with their inventory.
Unfortunately, as we all know, even though policies and procedures have been implemented, it does not mean they are followed.
The next area where facilities run into trouble is lack of standardization in the supplies used by the staff. One of the biggest indicators that I look for in a well-managed inventory program is how many types of syringes are used. All too often I go into a clinic only to find there are three different types of syringes used to draw up the same medication. The syringes for all purposes are the same syringe; the only differences are the brand and preference of the staff.