Article

Improve efficiency & patient outcomes
with Procedure Management

Our healthcare customers were having some common problems managing processes related to medical prosthesis equipment. With a customer experiencing particular issues managing prostheses and capturing usage and billing information, we decided to develop a Procedure Management module to solve these issues.

A problem waiting to be solved

Revenue loss, efficient inventory management and patient safety were three key areas to be addressed.

Manual, paper-based procedure patient records double-keyed into multiple systems meant that implanted and explanted items were not always recorded, or were recorded with incorrect rebate codes for billing. This information was often only understood by a few people, or even just one person which represented a single point of knowledge failure point in the organisation. Given the expensive nature of many items, and the high volumes of others, this led to significant revenue leakage.

Inventory and supply chain processes were often manual which caused delays. Poor visibility of stock levels made it difficult to manage replenishment or identify wastage. This resulted in excess cost of holding stock, an inability to investigate wastage loss, and theatre downtime when items were only realised as being out of stock immediately prior to a patient procedure.

Patient safety was of real concern in relation to product recalls. The lack of easily reportable patient procedure records made identification of patients caught up in product recalls very difficult. Not being able to track stock items down to their precise locations based on batch, serial and lot numbers meant that removing recalled items out of inventory was also a difficult and time-consuming process. Product recall processes for both patients and stock on hand were also error-prone, compromising patient safety.

Procedure Management in action

To develop a Procedure Management system in collaboration with our customer, we started off with the supply chain and stock usage module (which is where each item used is recorded). The other key system is patient administration, which holds the patient account and patient, surgeon and procedure information. That needed to be integrated with the prothesis stock usage data, to identify what you're using in which procedure, for which patient.

The new system enabled items to be barcode scanned. Typically, hospitals manage low-value inventory items as Imprest stock, and more expensive protheses items are held as individual stock on hand. Consignment stock is owned by the supplier and must be paid for when used and replenished. There are also loan items, ordered in for a procedure and which need to be paid for when used, but don't necessarily need to be replenished or replaced at the time.

Instead of tracking all this manually, Procedure Management automatically creates a received purchase order for loan items, a purchase requisition for consignment items, and a stock issue for items that are issued from inventory. The system contains up-to-date rebate data and items used in a procedure are scanned, so this flows back into the patient administration systems for billing purposes. The result is that multiple previously manual steps in the prothesis supply chain have been automated.

Benefits for patients

Apart from significantly reducing time and effort in supply chain process, our Procedure Management solution offers several benefits to enhance patient outcomes.

Patient safety is enhanced. Expired items are identified with alerts and can be tracked to precise inventory locations for removal – just like recalled items. The patient record is complete, accurate and fully reportable, ensuring that all patients who have received a recalled item can be easily identified.

Automatic extraction of smart barcode information, including expiry dates, lot and serial numbers through a single scan is supported – to provide accurate patient records of protheses used.

Surgical preference cards can also be maintained for each surgeon, providing a list of all items they are likely to need for a particular procedure such as a left hip replacement. There’s a bulk import feature, so you can export them from Microsoft Excel, for instance. An export/import capability lets you export preference cards, then update and re-import them back in bulk.

Attachments for tray layouts can be attached to the preference cards, so you can see exactly how you can lay out all of the items for a particular procedure. There's a ‘save as’ feature, so if you have created a preference card for one surgeon for a procedure, you can do a save as, make a few small changes, and save it with a different name.

As well as saving surgeons' and administrators' time, it also ensures the right protheses are on the spot and available for each procedure—to maximise effectiveness and treatment outcomes. Further, the system records what items are implanted and can also track explants for wastage. Expiry date alerts are generated for improved patient safety and recalls easily managed—all serving to improve patient safety.

Benefits for hospitals

Procedure Management is simplified. By simply scanning an item, billing, rebate and device information are all extracted and recorded automatically. This also generates the purchasing documents required. There's no double-keying, no need for anybody to take labels and stick them on a sheet to send to finance so that they know to bill patients, and others for ordering more consignment stock. Everything happens automatically.

Stock items used are automatically replenished, so stock holdings can be reduced. Wastage is reduced and can be managed, as reasons for wastage are recorded.

Importantly, streamlined integration with your patient administration system resolves inaccurate billing—such as missing items that they should have been billed—which was probably one of the biggest problems our customers faced.


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Publish date

09 Apr 2021

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