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Ensure an Efficient Monthly Supply Order With These Tips From PHS Clinicians

Tracking supply quantities can be a difficult task when a medically complex child requires numerous items to meet their care needs. But by maintaining an effective inventory management method and organization system, your supply order for a monthly shipment can be more efficient and you can spend time confident that you will have what you need when you need it.

We recently asked our clinicians what tips and tricks they share with patient families to ensure they’re able to maintain a monthly supply ordering schedule – leading to improved knowledge of supply inventory and spending of healthcare dollars. Check out what team members from each department had to say and be sure to share any tips that keep your supplies in order and stocked!

Infusion Intake Coordinator Tori

  • Put a recurring reminder on your google calendar 5-7 days before the order is due. That way, you can call or go online each month when the “supply order” reminder pops up on your phone.
  • Keep a running list of all of the supplies received monthly, including how many of each per month you are using and the inventory number of each supply. Print off the list of supplies that were delivered each month, and keep track of how many you are actually using. Update the list of supplies each month to ensure you aren’t under- or over-ordering supplies.

Respiratory Therapist Mary

  • Respiratory Therapist Mary spends time with one of her patientsGood organization and storage of your medical supplies is key – by knowing what is where, you won’t run out of a supply unexpectedly and you won’t have more than you need. Plus, it will help you feel more in control of the additional items in your home. PHS has created some tips on how to best organize your supplies – you can find the blog here, or a PDF document of it here.

Respiratory Therapist Jill

  • Keep the yellow copy of the delivery ticket that arrives with the monthly order to use as a guide of what you might need on a monthly basis.

Respiratory Therapist Barb

  • Follow the recommended “Regular Stock Monthly Amount” entered on the supply form from your clinician so as not to fall short or order too many of an item. This can help keep the amount of space needed to store supplies to a minimum at home.

Respiratory Therapist Carrie

  • Respiratory Therapist Carrie visits a patientTry not to focus on your needs in the moment, but your needs for the month. It can be very overwhelming to think about how many supplies you need for the month if you are hyperfocused on the present use and not thinking ahead.  Once you start thinking this way, it helps keep the stress of the unknown out of the way because you are always ready for what is to come in terms of your child’s medical supply needs.
  • Be mindful of supplies that can be washed and reused rather than throwing away after each use to prevent the need for large amounts of supplies. Common examples: feeding bags, feeding extensions, syringes, trach tubes, adaptors, etc.

Respiratory Therapist Krystal

  • When ordering online, make sure supply form is accurate and ask customer service to make sure online ordering matches the supply form. Another tip for ordering online is that if you are ordering for the next month, make sure to click that you are doing a Medical Assistance Pre-Order so you don’t run into issues with quantity limits.

Home Care Nurse Kay

  • Have one person in charge of ordering – whether that is a nurse or a parent.  Ideally, that person is someone who is very familiar with ALL the supplies, and how much is used on a regular basis.
  • supply organization like this bin makes inventory management much easierCreate a custom inventory form with supplies separated into related sections such as “suction”, “oxygen”, “high-flow”, “nursing supplies”, etc.
  • Have the supplies separated in bins according to their function, same as above.  Therefore, when suction supplies need to be inventoried, they are all together and not spread out throughout the room.
  • Schedule inventory and ordering for one specific day or shift of each month.
  • When supplies arrive, “marry” the items into bags/bins with the same items. That way, inventory is more simple since you don’t have to hunt around for an item buried in the bin or in another area of the room.

Home Care Nurse Matt

  • Record the inventory counts in a spreadsheet – this helps you keep a history of orders and inventories, so you can look back and see if you are going through more items than usual.
  • When allowed by insurance, order a little extra of frequently used supplies. That way if you run low on an item, you can pull from this box instead of placing an additional order or borrowing from the e-bag. Examples might include a stethoscope, a box of gloves, feeding bags, suction catheters, etc. Check these supplies regularly for expiration dates and rotation as needed.  
Originally published: September 13, 2017

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