Products & Technology

The Inventory Balancing Act

HME InventoryLike much progress in the industry, providers find themselves trying to strike a balance between making things work today, and laying the foundation for how things will work tomorrow. As providers are reconsidering their supply chains and how they must change, those businesses must remain deft managers of the here-and-now inventory that they control.

As mentioned in the main article, inventory typically represents HME providers’ biggest element of overhead. And unlike many aspects of their businesses, such as salaries, benefits, deliveries or workflow processes, inventory offers a substantial arena for finding gains. While a provider might not be able to make HR cuts, inventory can be slimmed down.

The key is for providers to ensure that they balance their need for having the right stock on-hand without having too much of it on-hand. Moreover, they need to be able to quickly replenish their supplies. This is where HME software can help.

Using HME software systems, providers have been able to leverage various inventory tools that help them slim down their inventory footprint, create a manageable system that can save them not only overhead, but wasted time and manpower that can be allocated to other business needs. Depending on the software used, providers can take advantage of inventory management features such as barcoding, automated purchasing and reporting.

Let’s take a look at some of the inventory management capabilities provided by various HME software offerings available to provider businesses:

AR-Express

Company name: DIABCO – Healthcare Software Solutions, Inc.
Web Address: www.AR-Express.net
Toll-free phone number: 800-864-6210
Inventory management features: The purchasing and receiving process updates inventory on-order, on-hand, and last costs for all products by manufacturer, and can produce bar coded price tags. Using the ePO feature will send purchase orders electronically to vendors. As patient orders are entered, inventory is depleted and stock status reporting gives providers a reorder tool.

Brightree

Company name: Brightree, LLC.
Web Address: www.brightree.com
Toll-free phone number: 888-598-7797
Inventory management features: The system’s integrated ordering and inventory tracking maximizes inventory turnover, tracks repair and maintenance plus flags obsolete items as well as superseded products. Brightree supports handheld scanning devices to quickly and accurately count inventory items. Integrated ePurchasing with major suppliers, like McKesson, ResMed and Assuramed, enables seamless and accurate ordering from within the Brightree system. When integrated ePurchasing is combined with drop shipping, providers can reduce delivery charges and inventory carrying costs. Brightree works in real-time, so when shipments are received they are immediately reflected in inventory.

CPR+, Fastrack, Caretinuum, MestaMed

Company name: Mediware Information Systems
Web Address: www.mediware.com/hme
Toll-free phone number: 866-277-4876
Inventory management features: The system offers full inventory control with barcoding of inventory for field scanning, ordering and replenishing of purchase orders, 850 purchase orders, full interface with MSD for Patient Home Delivery (drop-ship) and bulk ordering. Other inventory features include purchasing/receiving, physical inventory and asset maintenance for serialized equipment.

Inscrybe Referral Management

Company name: Authentidate
Web Address: www.authentidate.com/referrals
Toll-free phone number: 877-467-2792
Inventory management features: Faxes are barcoded to link files to related case electronically. Interfaces available to practice management and billing systems where inventory records are kept and managed.

Medeq Manager

Company name: Bonafide Management Systems
Web Address: www.bonafide.com
Toll-free phone number: 805-908-2333
Inventory management features: Unlimited locations using barcodes and just in time ordering protocols. Sell today, have replenishment delivered tomorrow with automatic EDI ordering. Receivables offset payables with proper payment terms from vendor.

MedFORCE Scan, MedFORCE D&R, MedFORCE WorkFLOW, UPS, USPS and FedEX Shipment Tracker, ZipMit

Company name: MedFORCE Technologies, Inc.
Web Address: www.medforcetech.com
Toll-free phone number: 866-237-1190
Inventory management features: MedFORCE Scan can scan in documents with barcode information and allow that information to be saved into demographic fields which reports can be generated from.

Noble*Direct for Windows

Company name: Noble House
Web Address: www.nobledirect.com
Toll-free phone number: 800-749-6700
Inventory management features: Noble*Direct has integrated inventory and also provides drop ship capabilities to various medical equipment distributors.

SystemOne

Company name: QS/1
Web Address: www.qs1.com
Toll-free phone number: 800-231-7776
Inventory management features: The Purchase Order module enhances SystemOne’s inventory management. This gives providers the ability to have a primary and secondary vendor or sku number entry, automatically create purchase orders, receive purchase orders, and view real time on-hand quantities.

TIMS Software

Company name: Computers Unlimited
Web Address: www.cu.net
Toll-free phone number: 406-255-9500
Inventory management features: Supports single and multiple warehouses
and bin locations and includes bar code tracking for supplies, medical gases and rental equipment, including serial number and lot number tracking with easy access for recalls. Handles rental equipment tracking and repairs. Offers wireless warehouse management for cycle counting, picking and receiving and annual physical inventory counting.

U-Sleep

Company name: Umbian
Web Address: u-sleep.com
Toll-free phone number: 877-242-1703
Inventory management features: Focused on sleep therapy services, USleep supports the entry (either keyed or barcode scanned) of CPAP device serial numbers for supported makes and models. This value can be updated at any time, to ensure that the user always has visibility into the particular device which is associated with a given patient.

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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