PAR-Level Equipment Management
When it comes to patient care, you never want a shortage of available equipment. But how do you accurately know what equipment you have on hand, where it is, and how it’s being utilized?
It’s the reality many hospitals are facing. For example, in a conversation with one health system, they were running into issues with pump sterilization. Because of the lack of visibility into the location and use of the equipment, they struggled in identifying if and when to obtain soiled pumps from the soiled utility room. As a result, pumps were clustering in the utility room and weren’t being sterilized on a timely basis. This inefficiency then trickled down to nursing staff, who did not have the appropriate, sterilized equipment on hand when needed for patient care.
While it has become commonplace for hospitals to manage supplies using a PAR level, for many it is still a manual process. In a very simplistic view, a PAR-level equipment management system (periodic automatic replenishment) works by first establishing an inventory level for an item (often quantifying one value that should be available of that specific item within one specific location, at any given time) and then replenishing it when that item is outside of its “PAR” threshold.
This system is certainly simple in theory; however, the reality is that it is a time-intensive process. Most organizations bring their inventory to PAR through a daily rounding process. To ensure equipment items are available to front line staff, this reactive process presents challenges as they simply do not have visibility to real-time inventory levels in specific spaces. As a result, the team responsible for replenishing these spaces cannot be expected to effectively, nor efficiently, ensure equipment item levels are meeting the front line staff’s expectations and demand. This non-value added manual activity not only increases cost, but can be subject to error and inaccuracy.
Today, this process can be automated using location-based technology. For example, the InSites for Asset Management solution provides equipment owners, such as central sterile, visibility into the real-time inventory level for PAR-monitored locations compared to their established PAR levels. Is equipment stocked out, critically under PAR, under PAR, or over PAR? Using our dashboards, equipment owners have at-a-glance access to this data and can quickly see which locations continually have sufficient inventory and where potentially overstocked equipment can be redistributed to other locations.
“…you know exactly where your inventory is and what level it is at ALL times.” – Inventory Manager for Cardiology, Veterans Administration, VISN11
Additionally, by being able to easily identify and locate equipment that needs to be sterilized and delivered back to clean storage locations ensures soiled equipment locations don’t exceed their capacity, which can potentially negatively impact patient safety.
In the example mentioned earlier, lack of visibility into real-time inventory levels was causing the day-to-day tasks of sterilizing and replenishing equipment to be not just inefficient, but totally reactive. Additionally, it was causing frustration amongst staff and posing a safety risk to patients. The good news is that, with location-based technology, this facility’s staff can now take a proactive role in PAR-level equipment management – reducing cost, boosting staff morale, and improving patient safety and care. What a nice gift to busy, hard-working teams!
Customer Success Manager – Intelligent InSites
Hear more in this series from Chris Paul – Connecting Healthcare Operations and the Patient Experience: