Hospital Inventory Management: Best Practices for Managing Inventory Levels

When dealing with supplies and inventory in hospitals, there are many different practices which management may decide to use to keep track and keep inventory levels on supplies up to date. Which methods and which practices are used in each hospital will depend on: management decisions, the size of the hospital and the amount of inventory which it usually keeps on hand, the type of inventory management which staff has been trained on and is used to dealing with, and whatever other practices which the hospital and management staff believe are in the best interest of the hospital.

Some of the best practices in hospital inventory management are similar to the kinds of methodologies which are used in the production materials management industry. These practices in hospital inventory management generate the same cost reduction and improvements in service levels which are typically seen in the manufacturing industry. In the past hospitals were only interested in managing the material; Today, however, managers and staff are also looking to manage expenses, materials, and the human capital involved to measure inventory levels.

To best manage inventory levels hospitals have to consider the dollars and cents, not just the level of materials they have on hand. Because it is a hospital, and you can never tell what patients will need, it is better to keep higher stock of material just in case it is needed. Many organizations do not analyze the right place for inventory to be kept, how much it costs to keep it, and how much is really required. To properly manage the inventory, all these considerations need to be taken.

Hospitals must also take into consideration the cost of materials, not just the actual price tag. The costs in procuring materials including, ordering and shipping costs, are critical for managers to be able to truly calculate the inventory on hand. Setting up integrated policies for staff to follow is another key. Using centralized ordering systems will help to keep the inventory levels under control. These policies on ordering limits and times, will keep all staff aware of what is on hand, and what will be needed next time ordering dates come around.

To maintain the best inventory system in hospitals, all aspects from actual amount in stock, to costs involved in storing inventory, to shipping costs need to be considered. For the best practices set policies on ordering, minimum levels to be kept, and all inventory and costs for the entire hospital staff.

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Yoga and Meditation: How It Reduces the Hospital Visits and Changes Your Mind and Body

The yoga and meditation reduces stress and risk for various diseases, improved well-being and a rewired brain. But there are a few experiments to support these claims. A study published in Biological Psychiatry shows that a mindfulness meditation can change the brains of ordinary people and potentially improve their health. The yoga and meditation can curb the need for common healthcare services by almost 50% according to researchers. A regular practice of both you can limit your healthcare costs to yoga classes, healthy food and an occasional homeopathic.

A study reveals that evoking the physiologic state of deep rest or the relaxation response can help alleviate stress and anxiety and also affect the heart rate and blood pressure (BP). This study also finds that programs that train patients to elicit the relaxation response can also dramatically reduce health care utilization. These types of programs can improve wellbeing and could ease the burden on our health delivery systems at minimal cost and at no real risk. This study is done by the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) the Institute for Technology Assessment and Benson-Henry Institute (BHI).

A mindfulness meditation demands '' an open and receptive, nonjudgmental awareness of your present-moment experience, '' says J. David Creswell, who is an associate professor of psychology and director at Carnegie Mellon University.
In some studies, some participants receive treatment while others get a placebo. The people are getting different treatment while they are think that they are getting the same treatment. For many years yoga and meditation have been used as an everyday way of life to improve good health and wellness. The both used for thousands of years in the East and increasingly popular in the Western world. The people want to be healthy but they are not aware or educated about how they can change their lifestyle to be healthy. Yoga, prayer and meditation make you health conscious.

In a study, first recruited Thirty Five unemployed people who were looking for work and experiencing significant stress. The brain scans were given and blood drawn was given. Half of the people were taught formal mindfulness meditation and half were taught a sham mindfulness meditation that was focused on relaxation and distracting from stress. The first group paid close attention to bodily sensations and second group was ignore their bodies and encouraged to chatter cracking jokes.

After three days the brain scans showed differences in only mindfulness meditation group. All participants told to the researchers that they feel refreshed and better able to withstand stress. After 4 months first group showed much lower levels of unhealthy inflammation of blood than the second group. The yoga and meditation offers an opportunity to connect within. It can improve our health care system and also improve the quality of our lives. Here it is unclear that how much mindfulness is needed to improve health and have no idea about the ideal time.

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How Hospital Cafeterias Are Increasing Retail Revenue

Hospitals retail areas find themselves under increasing pressure to meet revenue goals

Faced with rising costs and financially challenging times, healthcare organizations are increasingly looking to their retail areas as an additional source of revenue generation. Although hospital foodservices operations are well known for providing patient meals, most if not all are also responsible for the retail side of foodservice operations at their onsite cafeteria, snack bar and or coffee bar. Tasked with growing their revenue contribution to the hospital, many Directors of Foodservices and Cafeteria Managers are taking creative steps to increase patronage. Increasing employee participation, enticing members of the local community, and tailoring their food and beverage offerings to the needs and culinary preferences of patrons are all goals of aggressive foodservices operators.

Grab and Go

In a busy healthcare environment, speed is key! That’s why over the past few years, many hospital cafeterias have redesigned their space to accommodate new coolers stocked with appetizing pre-packaged food choices; ranging from yogurt and fruit parfaits, to sandwiches and salads. These portable food options offer a highly convenient and fast way for busy healthcare workers to quickly grab something to eat or drink while on the run. The pre-packaging also enables staff to bring these items back to their desk or another area for consumption at a place other than the cafeteria. When used with a POS system and bar coded labels, check out of these grab and go items at the point of sale takes only a few fast seconds.

Dining Experience

Many healthcare facilities have renovated their cafeterias to offer a more appealing restaurant-like dining experience to attract employees, visitors and guests. Their goal is to entice hospital workers to remain onsite for lunch instead of seeking off site alternatives, appeal to visitors, and in some cases attract the local community. To accomplish this, Foodservices Directors are not only creating a visually appealing dining area, but also are hiring highly talented and experienced restaurant chefs with a flair for engineering new and delicious menus. Using a POS system with menu item performance tracking gives the chefs a clear picture of which menu items are performing well, and which should be removed from the menu rotation.

Employee payroll deductions

Managed through a Point of Sale System as an employee payroll deduction to be deducted from a future pay check, the ability to make a retail purchase by scanning the employee badge already carried by the healthcare worker is seen to be a valuable benefit and convenience. When employees can present the badge they already carry as a form of payment, they no longer have the need to carry cash or credit cards as they move about the facility. Frequently, this convenience means the difference between having the time to enjoy a delicious meal versus a skipped lunch or breakfast. Cashless payment also translates into an increase in add on food and beverage purchases, when the employee doesn’t have enough cash on their person to cover all the choices they’d like to make.

Credit card processing

It’s not unusual for visitors to find themselves without cash on hand when visiting a patient in the hospital. We are all consumers accustom to paying for most everything with our debit or credit cards, and are therefore quite surprised to find out the hospital cafeteria does not accept credit or debit cards. Although most hospitals offer an onsite ATM, the inability to accept credit or debit card payments translates into a lost sale; and quite possibly a full tray of food left at the checkout counter because the visitor didn’t have a convenience payment option. The checkout process is a big part of the customer experience, so it is important that credit and debit card processing is fast and fully integrated with the cash register operations of the POS system.

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Two Recommended Hospitals in Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, officially known as Frankfurt am Main is the second largest metropolitan area in the country of Germany. Frankfurt is a globally renowned center for commerce, transportation, finance, education, culture and tourism. It is regarded as the second most expensive city of Germany and one of the top 10 most livable cities in the world. This city is very multicultural as 30% of its residents are immigrants. It was also the former headquarter of the U.S. Army in Germany. Visitors can find many modern hospitals in Frankfurt that offer high quality health care at global standards. All the leading hospitals accept major health insurances and provide special accommodations for international patients. Here is a note on some of the better hospitals in Frankfurt.

The University Hospital of Frankfurt located at Theodor-Stern-Kai 7 is a major health care facility in Frankfurt. The hospital offers comprehensive medical service to a large number of patients. Founded in 1914, the hospital now has 25 medical clinics and 25 research institutes. It is one of the most well known centers for various types of transplant and the only designated center for liver and pancreas transplants in the area. The central laboratory performs every kind of test for hematology, immunology and coagulation analysis. Its ISO 9001:2000 certified Institute of diagnostic and interventional radiology is remarkable and offers service in many areas. This is a premier institute for medical education and research. Tel: + 49 69 630 10

Hospital of the Holy Spirit GmbH (Hospital zum heiligen Geist) is another popular hospital in Frankfurt that offers modern and effective health care at an affordable cost. This hospital is regarded as the oldest health care facility in the city with its glorious history of about 800 years. The center offers the complete range of medical services including internal medicine, gynecology, obstetrics, surgery, aesthesia, psychosomatic medicine and pain therapy. The surgical clinic employs some well known surgeons and works under and interdisciplinary consensus. The Women’s Hospital features four birth rooms with a birthing pool, a birth stool, and a waterbed. The hospital has the best emergency care unit and ICUs. The emergency section has 20 beds and features many specialized units for heart attack, renal failure, poisoning, acute abdominal problems and shock. Tel: 069/2196-0

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Importance of Communication in Hospitals

Interaction with the front desk staff generally forms the patient’s first impression of a hospital. Lack of communication is also often the root cause of a majority of incidents that occur in a hospital. In today’s customer focused healthcare scenario, communication plays a massive role in a hospital. Sadly, it is also one of the most common and overlooked problem areas in a majority of the hospitals.

Communication can be a very effective tool for improving patient satisfaction in a hospital. Hospital feedback forms often reflect issues where improper or inadequate communication is the root cause. Long discharge time is a common cause for patient dissatisfaction in most of the hospitals, however, a major cause for disconcert could be that the patient/patient relative were not explained at the onset about the discharge process and the time taken for it and hence expects a discharge the minute the doctor orders it. Similarly, if patients are informed beforehand of the expected time delay and reasons for delay in an OPD, they are less likely to complain about the waiting time and the services at the hospital. Patient Safety is another area which relies to a great extent on communication. Improving effective communication is also one of the patient safety goals. Even a minor mistake during handover between shifts can effect patient safety. Similarly, critical test values need to be communicated instantly to the concerned consultant and in case of a code blue, alerting the code blue team or the concerned personnel is indispensable. In a healthcare set up where a critical test result or a change in the patient condition can be a matter of life and death the importance of communication cannot be emphasized enough.

Some strategies for effective communication in hospitals:

• Soft skill training should be given to staff for better patient handling. Rude staff and inadequate information and attention by staff are frequent complains of patients at the registration and enquiry desk during the peak hours of patient flow.

• The hospital should plan and prepare for communication strategies in situations where enhanced communication is required and train their staff for the same, for e.g. sudden death of a patient, violent patient relatives etc.

It is also important that the patient relatives are periodically updated about the condition of the patient.

• Senior clinical and management staff should always encourage an open channel of communication with staff down the line. There have been incidences in hospitals where patient care was compromised because the nurses were apprehensive to contact the doctor. A good communication culture in the organization also improves employee satisfaction as it improves transparency and increases accountability.

• Good intra and inter departmental flow of information is essential to improve the efficiency of hospital services. Quality indicator trends, audit results and patient feedback results should be communicated down the line to the concerned staff down the line, without which the activity is useless.

External and internal communication play a major role in a hospital set up where timeliness, adequacy, accuracy, completeness of information could play a vital role in avoiding errors and saving a life. At the end of the day, however good the clinical care given it will be useless if it is not communicated appropriately to the patient.

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Chery Automobiles: China's Auto War Begins

China is laying plans at this very moment to begin shipment of passenger vehicles to the North American market by mid 2007. Chinese automobile manufacturer, Chery, yes read that again … the company sounds strangely like Chevy, is looking at bringing not just one , but a whole fleet of low cost production vehicles to our shores. Proposed prices will astound you and could potentially bring the US auto market to its knees. Don't think for even one moment that Japanese and Korean automakers will be immune from this flood of low cost cars. Chery vehicles have been designed – some say stolen – from current Asian models and will compete directly against the likes of Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai. China's long awaited war with the US – at one time expected to begin with a Red Army attack on Taiwan – may be fought on an economic front instead.

Chery, a state-owned car producer formed in China's eastern Anhui Province, is currently building a number of cars in China including the QQ – a compact car strangely similar to the Daewoo Spark [GM 'Korean division], as well as several sedans and a compact SUV. Indeed, recent charges made by Toyota, GM, and Honda have all alleged that Chery mimicked or outright stole designs from at least one of each automaker's vehicles including the Honda CR-V. For the record, the Toyota case was rejected, Honda is still attempting to work out a solution with their case, and GM recently dropped its suit after the Chinese automaker agreed not to sell their cars in the US under the Chery name which GM has stated is too close to the Chevy name. Chinese courts have also ruled that the Daewoo Spark design was not registered in China, so GM dropped its suit.

At present, the Chery vehicle line up includes the tiny QQ; a compact SUV built jointly with Mitsubishi called the Tiggo; and three sedans: the Oriental Son, the Flagcloud, and the Windcloud. Recently, Chery unveiled a newly designed crossover vehicle along the lines of the Chrysler Pacifica. With an introductory MSRP of under $ 20,000 the Chery crossover will seat up to seven passengers and come equipped with both four and six cylinder engines. As you might guess the Chery crossover, if equipped similarly to the Pacifica, could be priced some ten thousand dollars less than the Chrysler model.

Current prices on the other models have not yet been set, but published reports this past summer indicated that a basic Chery could retail for as low as $ 6995 in the US, which would be some three thousand dollars less than the next lowest priced car, the Chevy Aveo [from GM's Daewoo unit, naturally]. Of course, this particular pricing strategy has raised all sorts of alarms within the automobile industry, chiefly how to counter a flood of low cost cars invading the US market. As some have pointed out, much like Hyundai's introduction to the North America market during the 1980s, the Chinese cars are expected to initially have only a limited appeal primarily due to expected low quality levels. Still, it only took Hyundai less than one decade to begin to produce cars which consistently matched the quality levels of many American and Asian models. So, it could be just a matter of a few years before Chinese cars receive the positive press now given to many other Asian automakers, resulting in a sharp surge in sales.

While the Chery dealer network within the US has yet to be established, it is under development; a limited version of the dealer network is expected to be in place by Summer 2007 when the first Chinese vehicles arrive. A rapid expansion of this same network across the US and Canada has been planned over the ensuing years and although the Chery name will not be used in the US, you can expect that whatever name is selected these cars will impact the way many Americans buy their cars from that point forward. Oh, by the way, two other Chinese automakers – Shuanghuan Automobile Manufacturing, LTD and Geely Automotive – are also expected to export cars to the North American market soon after Chery makes its debut.

While it is too early to say, the opening of the lucrative North American automobile market to cheap Chinese vehicles could possibly shake the American economy in ways never anticipated. I, for one, shudder to think just how all of this might unfold.

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Exporting Automobiles From the United States

The procedure of exporting an automobile from the United States is not a complicated process; However, there are requirements that must be fulfilled for car export. In order to export cars from the United States to other countries, the exporter must be able to provide documentation that proves the ownership of the vehicle. In most cases, this will be the certificate of title of the vehicle. The exporter must present ownership documentation to the US Customs either by certified copy of the original ownership documents or the original documents themselves.

When exporting a vehicle through a land border port, the car exporter must provide the port with ownership documents at least three days in advance of the car export. On the day in which the vehicle is to be exported US Customs will require that you present the vehicle to them so that they will be able to verify that the vehicle is indeed the vehicle that is described in the ownership documents.

For car exporters exporting vehicles via ship or plane, it is necessary to present the ownership documents at least 72 hours before lading to US Customs. The vehicle will then be subject to Customs inspection.

Once US Customs has verified that the vehicle is the vehicle described in the ownership papers and inspected the vehicle it will then be authorized for car export.

While the process is not complicated, requirements must be followed carefully. And, for any car exporters that fail to follow the requirements and meet the compliance outlined by the US Customs a non-compliance penalty may be imposed. Non-compliance penalties ranges from $ 500 to $ 10,000 dollars.So it definitely worth following the rules.

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Hospital Discharge – How to Plan For a Safe Discharge

Be aware that all unplanned, rushed or poorly coordinated discharges from hospitals are very dangerous! A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that one in five Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. One in three are back within 90 days. The author suggests that many of these problems are related to inadequate coordination of care and poor discharge planning.

Why This Happens

Discharge planning is not always given the care and attention necessary for a smooth transition from the hospital. All patients should receive detailed care instructions in their language and at their health care literacy level. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

Hospital staff members are under intense pressure to release you as soon as they can. Those in the health care industry have coined the term “quicker and sicker” when they describe how patients are now discharged from hospitals. As a direct result of such early hospital discharges:

· 41% of patients are discharged with test results still pending.

· 13% of these tests are of an urgent nature.

What’s worse, at the time of discharge, one half of adults have trouble understanding their prescriptions or discharge instructions. In addition, less than one-half of patients know their diagnosis, treatment plan or side effects of prescribed medication.

The results of poor care coordination at the time of a hospital discharge can jeopardize your health and safety. Here is my recommendation; don’t allow this to happen to you or a loved one.

Take Active Role in Your Discharge Plan

You must insist on a well planned and coordinated hospital discharge plan. At the very least, be sure to:

1. Receive the necessary discharge education about the condition that brought you to the hospital. Take full advantage of the expertise of the hospital staff. Ask as many questions as necessary to gain a full understanding of your condition, diagnosis, and treatment plan. Ask for written information as well.

2. Request to meet with the hospital pharmacist to review all of your discharge medications. Be sure to discuss any changes, additions or deletions of medication that you were taking before your hospitalization. This process is called “Medication Reconciliation” and is essential to a safe discharge. It has been found that between 20 and 30% of all hospital re-admissions within 30 days are the direct result of medication issues.

3. Find out when you need to follow up with your medical team such as your primary care physician, surgeon or specialist. This is critical as a well coordinated discharge plan will involve timely follow up care.

4. Be sure that your primary care physician receives copies of your discharge medication list and instructions. Take your copy with you to your follow up appointment.

These are just a few of the items that need to be contained in your official discharge plan. Remember, this may not happen unless you request it. You will increase the likelihood of a safe discharge when you are an active participant in discharge planning.

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Two Recommended Medical Centers in Curitiba, Brazil

Curitiba – located in Paraná state is the most important city in southern Brazil . Curitiba is the second largest car manufacturer and is regarded as the best place for investments in Brazil. Attractions include gardens, an opera house and museums.Curitiba has a developed medical service sector with many modern hospitals.This is a summary of some of Curitiba's reputable hospitals.

Hospital VITA Curitiba is one of the best hospitals in the country. The 152 bed, modern hospital is operated by one of the leading hospital groups in Brazil. The hospital has attained many famous accreditations including the highest accreditation level of the country awarded by ONA (National Accreditation Organization). Hospital VITA has full-fledged clinical departments and seven operating rooms, all of which provide excellent medical and surgical service in every specialty.

The hospital's emergency center features an emergency room, 13 observation rooms and 1 minor surgery room making the center equipped to meet any urgency. It has a 24 bed general ICU, a pediatric ICU with10 beds, a cardiac ICU and a neurological ICU. All of the ICUs in this hospital offer 24-hour specialized care. VITA Curitiba has a nicely equipped diagnostics division that offers over 16 types of advanced procedures. It is also equipped with modern laboratories, a hemodynamics section and a pharmacy. Hospital VITA has110 apartments and it offers accommodations in a friendly environment. Tel: + 55 41 3315 1935

Hospital Santa Cruz is one of the best private hospitals in Brazil and is placed at Avenida do Batel, 1889 Curitiba. This 220 bed multi disciplinary center started in 1966 and has won ONA's third level approval. The center, popularly known by Holy Cross Hospital, offers excellent medical service in all specialties. Additionally, its preventive medicine, neurosurgery, cardiology and emergency divisions are nationally renowned. The hospital has eleven modern operating rooms including six general surgery theaters. The emergency unit has modern facilities as well as 60 specialized physicians. This specific emergency unit has the highest number of doctors per shift among the Curitiba hospitals. The ICU with 32 beds offers excellent care. The laboratories are also at par with other international hospitals. Warm accommodations are available in luxurious suites and rooms. Tel: + 55 41 3312 3000

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Hospital Dentistry As Special Dental Solution

There might be times when conventional dental care would be insufficient for some patients. The factors can range from physical limitations because of sickness to the age of the patients. Either they might be too young or they are too old to have a regular cleaning or a root canal treatment. A remarkable solution to all these problems is the hospital dentistry.

This is a special arrangement, or a solution, for those who need dental care but not in a normal setting.

Occasionally, the patients also have problems getting the treatment in a clinic. This is despite the fact that dentistry is completed with countless state-of-the-art features. It has come a long way from the 17th century when Charles Allen published the first book of dentistry, titled the Operator for the Teeth. In many cases, hospital dentistry has emerged as the only special dental solution.

This might be surprising but this special dental solution works for those patients, who have a phobia for anything related to dental care. Many people have also fear about the needles and forceps used in a clinic. The treatment might be a simple paint-free dentistry, such as for cleaning and teeth whitening. Yet, the irrational fear persists.

On the other hand, kids, young children and other patients with development disabilities would also need special care and treatment. A traditional dental setting would be insufficient for them. In extreme cases, there might be patients who would need a full sedation as in a hospital to get the pain free dentistry as well.

So what are provided in hospital dentistry?

Though the approach is slightly different from normal care in these facilities, all the common dental care solutions are available. Patients can look forward to a host of paint free dentistry, some of which are mentioned below:

• Cleaning and prevention: This includes fillings, digital X-rays and deep cleaning.

• Teeth whitening: This is remarkable for cosmetic purposes.

• Invisalign: This is a much more efficient alternative to traditional braces.

• Root canal therapy: Hospital dentistry has simplified this complex process of curing tooth pain and decay.

• Extractions: Many patients cannot stand this treatment and hence the crucial roles of pain free dentistry.

• Crowns, dentures and bridges: These are ideal for curing both teeth problems and cosmetic purposes.

• Implants: Another cosmetic solution in the most effective way

To conclude, hospital dentistry is an extension of dental care, albeit with a more sophisticated, yet simplified purposes. Precisely, it would suit everyone’s need regardless of phobias, inconvenience, age or illness.

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