hospital inventory

Mayo Clinic, founded in Rochester, MN, in 1862, has 68,000 employees in over 116 locations, 4,800 doctors, performed 133,000 surgeries in 2018, and had 1.3 million patients. Presenting at the WERC Annual Conference for Logistics Professionals in Columbus, OH, last week, Linda Akiens-Castiglioni, Todd Pederson and Ted Pletta of Mayo Clinic, said the organization is highly collaborative and team-based with the needs of the patient coming first – and the patient experience is expected to be the same at all locations.

The supply chain in such a large organization is diverse, and multiple locations in different states created barriers to inventory management. There is one major inventory center in Rochester, with 670 employees in the Mayo Clinic supply chain, and 100,000 SKUs (28,000 of which are for surgery). The supply chain generates revenue by outsourcing to other medical organizations through contract purchasing – and 50% of that revenue is generated from the Rochester location.

Healthcare is only recently moving out of paper-based inventory management to an electronic system. Also, consumerism is coming to healthcare with pricing transparency being driven by new legislation, creating new demands and expectations. In an effort to bring the inventory management system into this evolving landscape, Mayo Clinic initiated the single inventory management system called Supply Plus. They started with the surgery core, a storage area that tends to overstock due to the fact that surgical supplies depend on the surgery and the unique needs of the patient – neither of which is always a known factor in advance.

The nurses and technicians are the “customers” of the surgical supply chain - cases are picked from core for surgery, and some items are returned to inventory if not used. The new system required standard interfaces and standard processes of reporting across all locations. The integration of three key systems was necessary: recording of inventory, the case requirements for each surgery which then removes the items from inventory, and a notification that a re-order is necessary when the doctor uses the items.

This transformational change had its challenges. There were varied systems in place at dispersed locations. Multiple interfaces and inconsistent barcodes needed to be addressed. And, a multi-year project with imposed timelines added to the pressure. Critical to the success, said the speakers, were leadership commitment; a strong vendor partnership; knowledgeable, dedicated project staff; and, change management. Also, the Supply Plus project came in on time and under budget, with no cancellations – a sure sign of success.

To learn more about WERC, click here.

Learn more about supply chain solutions at the co-located Healthcare Packaging Expo and PACK EXPO Las Vegas, September 23-25.