Six Best Practices in Hospital Materials Management
Hospital materials management has suffered from many of the same
problems as materials management world wide. Many of the best practices
in hospital materials management link back to the same strategic
sourcing methodology in production materials management.
These best practices in hospital materials management are generating
the same substantial cost reduction and service level improvements seen
across the manufacturing and retail industries. Where once hospitals
just managed materials, now they are looking to manage materials,
expenses and even human capital.
In the 2003 Annual Association for Healthcare Resource
& Materials Management conference, a team composed of several major
medical center leaders identified six critical components of
Best-In-Class hospital materials management. They are:
- Manage Dollars, not just Materials.
While in a hospital setting, critical stocks must be
available in the right place at the right time, many healthcare
organizations currently fail to analyze what is the right place and how
much is required where.
- Collaborate with Physicians and Nursing Staff.
In hospital materials management environments that do not use strategic cost management, administration personal operate the materials management program with little to no input from the actual working staff.
- Consider total cost, not just price.
From ordering costs to the carrying costs of materials, it is
critical for health care setting materials managers to calculate true
cost of inventory instead of looking strictly at dollars spent. For
example, requiring expedited delivery because of an out of stock may
prove more expensive than the required materials.
- Create integrated Policies and Procedures.
Using centralized ordering systems, such as those offered in an e
procurement environment, help improve adherence to ordering policies and
procedures. This reduces maverick spending and helps ensure consistent
- Develop a process, not departmental focus.
Using consistent processes makes it easier to evaluate the
efficiency of the materials management method used. Pharmacy inventory
management practices should look largely identical to operating room
inventory management practices.
- Develop team focused, not individual focused processes.
One person cannot make or break a process. While it is
encouraged to have specialists in material management rather than making
multiple team members execute the process, the processes should support
team goals, not the preferences of one staff member.
By developing a materials management program that
reflects these six best practices in hospital materials management, your
medical group can cut costs and improve patient outcomes.
Return from Hospital Materials Management to Materials Management
Return from Hospital Materials Management to Purchasing Procurement Center Homepage