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More Effective Shrinkage Control in Hospitals Using Asset Locating

How many dollars disappear out of your hospital doors in the form of inventory shrinkage? Discover the two steps for using asset locating to control inventory shrinkage in your hospital.

Inventory shrinkage: It’s the difference between your documented inventory numbers and what physical inventory is truly available. As medical devices become smaller in size, more portable and more costly, there’s always a discrepancy between documented and physical inventory.

The Challenge of Shrinkage Control is More Pressing than Ever

Purposefully, portable design is a feature of many medical devices. That makes them more susceptible to loss and misplacement.

By the time a device goes missing, oftentimes, it is unusable as it has been laundered or compacted in the facility’s trash. Additionally, wheelchairs and other mobile assets routinely exit your doors of hospitals, never to be seen again.

Whether the device loss is accidental or intentional, the end result of inventory shrinkage is all the same, additional cost and loss of capital funds spent on replacing equipment. This problem affects all healthcare stakeholders, from IDNs, caregivers, and patients.

Hospital Hallway

Two Primary Goals of Shrinkage Control

Best practices regarding asset locating to improve inventory diminishing focus on two goals: Preventing equipment from leaving the building and identifying procedural improvements.

1. Prevent equipment from leaving your building, whether in the laundry, a patient transfer, or a visitor’s pocket.

Hospital Location Pin Image

2. Analyze equipment data to identify improvementsInformed procedural changes regarding your hospital assets can improve asset recovery. For example, recover an asset before it leaves the building in a biohazard bag or is damaged by laundering.

Asset insights help your staff identify the most problem-plagued assets of a hospital — e.g., what devices are most susceptible to loss.

With an asset locating system, you can make improvements in both areas of inventory management best practices.

Hospital Staff

How Can Asset Locating Improve Shrinkage Control?

As you invest in infrastructure to support asset locating, your hospital will need to assess how to improve asset retention and maintenance. Preventing the loss of only a small number of devices and maintaining frequently used equipment results in significant savings in capital equipment budgets.

However, please keep in mind, tagging assets doesn’t solve inventory shrinkage without assembling a team of individuals who will manage the project. It’s essential to assemble the right team, they will design a workflow targeted at specific, suspected loss prevention. Such a workflow should include identifying what assets are most often lost, locating that equipment to prevent loss, and scheduling often used equipment to ensure proper maintenance.


About the author:

Grant Zwicke is the lead content writer at RF Technologies and a member of the marketing team. His varied experience includes pharmaceuticals, medical device, specialty chemicals, public health, scientific research, publishing, television entertainment and news media.