Contributed by NUHS

How might we improve inventory management within hospital ward clean utility rooms?

Inventory management is a key component in day-to-day hospital inpatient operations.  There are a myriad of supply categories found in each ward’s clean utility rooms, such as consumables like diapers; linen; specialised consumables required for intravenous (IV) infusions like needles and IV plugs; and blood-taking and pharmacy-related products like medications, infusion bags, and milk feeds.  

Currently, there is a two-bin system: that is, the total stock is split into two separate bins. When one of the bins is empty, a RFID card is placed on the second bin to trigger automatic ordering of stock. 

However, this only addresses the ordering issue and does not offer full inventory management, as the system cannot monitor fully the usage and expiry dates.


This leads to the inability to account for fluctuations in stock movements, and manual checks are still required for expiry dates of products.  

A smart inventory management system to automate ordering, establish an audit trail for picking and returning, and track expiry dates of supplies should result in higher efficiency, reduction in human errors, and potentially cost savings.