Vending Machines Control Medical Supply Costs

Automated Supply CabinetWith today’s focus on lowering costs while improving outcomes, medical supplies — which account for 30% to 40% of a hospital’s total costs — are a prime target. Automated point-of-use systems for hospital supply chain management offer quick, convenient access to supplies, extensive reporting tools, and can be customized by size, security, and configuration. Inventory and supply usage are recorded, by patient, making charge capture consistent and accurate. With better control over inventory, the risk of running out of essential items is reduced and the clinical staff spend less time looking for supplies when they need them.

For example, the Omnicell® supply management system offers flexible, scalable cabinets that are either stand-alone systems or an adjunct to a medication management system. These cabinets use biometric identification, barcoding technology, and verbal confirmation for log-on, expired products, and latex warnings. A single cabinet can store seven years of data. They can be customized for the surgical suite, the cardiac catheterization lab, and other key clinical areas of the hospital. A two-cell cabinet measures 52” wide by 24” deep by 78” high.

Incorporating the Parking Garage Into Disaster Planning

Parked CarsThe cars, minivans and sports-utility vehicles began lining up and slowly moving forward, just as they would at a busy fast food drive-thru. But there weren’t any burgers or fries on the menu. Instead, drivers and passengers were examined by a team of Stanford doctors and nurses, all without getting out of their cars. In what is believed to be the first training exercise in the country, a team of healthcare professionals at Stanford (California) Hospital and Clinics turned the first floor of a parking garage into a drive-through emergency room in hopes of creating a more efficient way to treat a large number of patients during an influenza pandemic or other emergency. The hospital’s medical director for disaster planning believes that drive-through triage can serve as a blueprint for hospitals nationwide and across the globe. During the flu season, emergency departments are bursting at the seams as people with limited health insurance use the emergency department as their primary care physician. According to Dr. Eric Weiss, medical director of disaster planning at Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital: “We have to have a new mechanism to take care of large numbers of patients during a pandemic and I think that this is going to be it.”

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