How Inventory Control Systems Benefit Healthcare Simulation Programs
Inventory control systems, also referred to as asset management systems, help healthcare simulation programs to better understand their inventory or medical supplies, medical simulation equipment, or other equipment necessary to maintain clinical simulation operations. Task trainers, manikins, or various other simulators are expenses of the equipment needed to properly educate and train healthcare simulation learners. This HealthySimulation.com further explains what inventory control systems are, their benefits, and how they can be employed across medical simulation centers and programs.
Often, the first step in adopting an inventory control system for a medical simulation program is to evaluate the program’s current inventory and the process by which equipment is logged. The inventory control system evaluation process should include inventory management solutions in use and buying selection criteria to create a complete picture of present operating procedures.
Using inventory control systems to automate these processes can help medical simulation programs improve upon efficiency while gaining insight into their business performance. This is because a single solution can often complete the many tasks associated with inventory control, including inventory management, order management, warehousing, fulfillment, shipping, purchasing, and accounting. In general, these systems can truly help to govern how a medical simulation program approaches inventory management. Yet, there are several “must have” components of an inventory control system that is best suited for a healthcare simulation program.
Inventory Control System Criteria
First, the inventory control system offers automation and is easy to operate. This allows for laborious tasks across sales channels and inventory locations to be comprehensively managed. Using this type of technology helps management to begin to take on more orders, and eliminate the risk innately posed by human error.
Another critical component of any inventory control system is the ability to plan for changes to inventory, such as drastic increases. Further, these solutions must be able to employ demand forecasting to predict sales and usage based on historical use. This can help to avoid an unequal balance between supply and demand. This element of inventory management is extremely important given the high price of many healthcare simulation products.
Additionally, when selecting an inventory control system, factoring in customer service options and availability is essential. Clinical simulation programs may need to take advantage of onboarding training offerings, or they may require assistance when implementing the software. Companies providing inventory control systems typically provide these customer service options, as these actions can present challenges if no guidance is provided.
Note: Exact inventory management workflows will depend upon how each clinical simulation program intends on using an inventory management system. They will also depend on the type of software being employed and the software’s capabilities (i.e. multichannel inventory management).
Inventory Control System Benefits
There are a number of benefits to selecting an appropriate inventory control system for a healthcare simulation program. Along with financial benefits, such as fewer missed sales or better cash investments, the digitization of these solutions means more accurate reports can be produced. These reports can include all sales information, such as cost and asset values, and this ultimately helps to establish correct balance sheets.
Then, this accurate information can be used to ensure that all inventory levels within a system are up-to-date to better overall collaboration and efficiency between teams. As this information is stored online or in the cloud, the availability of certain pieces of equipment can be checked from anywhere at any time. This allows all those who rely on a medical simulation center’s equipment to easily be able to determine if what they need is available.
Without having to question the accuracy and up-to-date nature of inventory levels, a medical simulation center’s periodic cycle count can become even faster. Staff will only have to confirm the accuracy of data that has already been logged in the system, as opposed to manually entering the information themselves.
Inventory control systems can also benefit clinical simulation programs that manage their inventory perpetually, rather than periodically. While period inventory control involves counting stock regularly (i.e. every three to six months), perpetual inventory is accounted for as materials or products are received, sold, returned, etc. This type of inventory relies upon up-to-date inventory figures – which is where automation can ensure everything is instantly accounted for in the system.
Above all, inventory control systems can have an enormous impact on a clinical simulation program’s bottom line. Without proper management, the healthcare simulation equipment put in place for medical simulation learners to use can go unaccounted for between uses. An efficient inventory control system establishes stronger management and oversight of such equipment, minimizing unnecessary costs and the need to repurchase added equipment.
More About Healthcare Simulation Programs
A simulation program is an educational initiative that allows learners to hone in on and practice new healthcare skills, all while improving patient safety outcomes and ultimately reducing medical errors. The primary purpose of clinical simulation is to deliver high-quality, realistic simulated clinical learning experiences in both discipline-specific and interprofessional environments to prepare for an evolving healthcare system. Another goal of healthcare simulation programs is to improve the competence and performance of specific simulation-based practices. This is achieved through the development of critical thinking and applying effective teamwork and communication strategies.
Healthcare simulation programs often exist across university degree programs and within medical facilities to assist in the training of learners and professionals alike. While simulation programs may encompass different focuses/disciplines and utilize individualized solutions and technology, there are several components that tend to remain consistent. For example, most medical simulation programs rely on manikins, moulage, virtual reality, standardized patients (SPs), and other clinical solutions to best convey healthcare simulation principles.
An example of a simulation program discipline is high-fidelity team simulation. This core competency learning can include the creation of realistic scenarios that allow learners to improve their team dynamics and communication skills in high-risk, low-frequency, and life-threatening situations. High fidelity and reinforcing effective communication strategies during everything from standardized Pediatric and Adult Advanced Life Support scenarios to the most complex and unique scenarios.
Lance Baily, BA, EMT-B, is the Founder & CEO of HealthySimulation.com, which he started while serving as the Director of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas back in 2010. Lance is also the Founder and acting Advisor to the Board of SimGHOSTS.org, the world’s only non-profit organization dedicated to supporting professionals operating healthcare simulation technologies. His new co-edited Book: “Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice” is available now. Lance’s background also includes serving as a Simulation Technology Specialist for the LA Community College District, EMS fire fighting, Hollywood movie production, rescue diving, and global travel. He and his wife Abigail Baily, PhD live in Las Vegas, Nevada with two amazing daughters and two crazy dachshunds.