Recent industry surveys indicate that many healthcare providers around the country are still using manual methods to receive, deliver, and track all of the orders and parcels they receive each day. In other words, vital package and order tracking data is entered by hand on paper, and this paper system is used to manage the receipt of millions of dollars of medical devices, inventory, and lifesaving items, like human tissue. In addition to being tedious, this receiving method is extremely inefficient—depending on error-prone handwritten logs to document important information is a recipe for disaster. There will be inconsistencies, discrepancies, and poor documentation of the work overall. And the larger the facility, the greater the potential for lost packages.
Relying on paper to track packages through the receiving and delivery process makes measuring productivity even more challenging. For instance, if you’re attempting to determine how your staff is managing their time or their productivity in order to ensure that you’re staffing the department properly, a manual system will make this process infinitely more difficult. And forget about maintaining a consistent and updated chain of custody for each package.
Any healthcare facility’s receiving and delivery department must have a fully-integrated inbound package tracking system. An ideal system will perform the following functions:
- Easily integrate with your ERP or MMIS to eliminate redundant data entry
- Create an easily verified chain of custody
- Offer proof of delivery
- Automated bar-code based data entry eliminates handwritten logs
- Significantly decrease the amount of time spent on package processing and delivery
- Automate recordkeeping and reporting
- Real-time tracking that ensures management and staff make fully informed decisions that are entirely based on the most up-to-date data.
Are you ready to pull your facility into the 21st century with an automated inbound package tracking system? Incorporating a system that is specifically created to assist you in carefully monitoring each package that comes into your hospital with electronic tracking will enable you to monitor the chain of custody better than ever before. Before you commit to a system, carefully examine all of the advantages Vuetura’s system has to offer.
1. Up-Front Savings and Speedy ROI
The bottom line: an automated package tracking system will save your hospital a lot of money in the long-term. It will ensure that your tracking process is as simple and straightforward as possible, which will reduce the time and the resources used by your receiving and delivery department.
Most hospitals benefit from two different varieties of Return of Investment, or ROI, when they implement an automated package tracking and delivery system. These include:
- Benefit A: Implementing automated package tracking will increase your team’s productivity and overall accountability.
Processes that took several minutes or more, take seconds now. When a package is tracked through its chain of delivery—from the moment it’s dropped at the facility’s dock to the end of the journey when it arrives in the recipient’s hands—your team will spend significantly less time attempting to locate misplaced packages. No more packages left behind on the delivery cart, hidden beneath a table, or left on the recipient’s desk without obtaining the proper signature.
- Benefit B: Implementing automated package tracking will significantly improve your facility’s operational efficiency overall.
As soon as you introduce the automated package tracking system into your facility, it might feel like your hospital’s systems are improved in a flash. When you use this system to optimize your hospital’s receiving, delivery, and tracking of all packages, your procedures will undergo a major overhaul.
Is the fear that an automated package tracking system will be too expensive for your company the only thing that’s keeping you from taking the leap? Let us lay that fear to rest. Consider this: an old-fashioned manual tracking system sucks hours of your staff’s time, increasing man hours and reducing efficiency. When you factor in the potential for human error, get ready to multiply those hours as your staff attempts to locate wayward packages.
In addition to the inevitable ROI you’ll see on your automated package tracking system, you’ll also see a savings in real estate and employment costs.
2. Eliminate Missing Packages
While a lost package is never ideal, in a hospital setting, a missing package can have a significant impact on your patient care. In fact, it can even be the difference between life and death. Every day, your facility’s receiving department gets vital medical supplies and medications. You must know precisely where each package is at each stop in the chain of custody.
An automated package tracking system can eliminate the possibility of the errors that are inevitable when you rely on manual tracking. Transposed numbers or illegible handwriting play a big role in missing packages, not to mention the dreaded “Where’s my package?” call. While these phone calls are all-too-common in hospital receiving departments around the nation, introducing an automated package tracking system will put a major dent in those queries. Now, employees can see precisely where their priority package is located at every point in the process with a simple click of the mouse.
“Almost eliminate “where’s my package” calls. Vuetura customers report a 98% reduction in customer services calls.”
VueturaTrac, our state-of-the-art automated package tracking system, offers users a movement-by-movement picture of where each package is at any point of its journey. Your team will look capable and your department will gain a reputation for reliability.
Additionally, your package recipients get a notification as soon as their package is received when you implement an automated package tracking system. It will assist your team in tackling the tasks that have stacked up over time as they dealt with locating missing packages when they get the calls from angry staff members desperately waiting for their package.
“Your team will look capable and your department will gain a reputation for reliability.”
3. Integrate Vuetura with your External Systems
There are a lot of options available that can help your hospital staff keep track of packages when they’re out for delivery. But can those systems track inbound purchase orders? If your hospital is like most, you’re ordering high-ticket items to be received at your dock every day, and these items can cost millions of dollars. Keeping a close eye on those purchase orders is just as important as knowing where the packages are at all times.
While you can find a package tracking app that will help you automate your staff’s manual processes, a truly state-of-the-art system will go beyond that. It will integrate your hospital’s preexisting ERP/MMIS system seamlessly, enabling you to track inbound purchase orders as well as packages throughout the chain of custody.
A system that will revolutionize your facility’s receiving and delivery and integrate it with an ERP-PO confirmation system will streamline your staff’s processes, giving them a quicker, more efficient procedure without the potential for human error.
“Streamline your staff’s processes, giving them a quicker, more efficient procedure without the potential for human error.”
Imagine this: your receiving team won’t have to search the ERP or employee directory for the order’s final destination and then manually re-enter the data into your current tracking system. There are a lot of ways that this procedure could go amiss— numbers get transposed, workers get waylaid mid-process and forget which step is next, or a step could get skipped altogether.
Consider how much easier it would be for your staff if your ERP and your automated tracking system worked together. POs could be located with ease, packages could be assigned in a flash, and the possibility for a misdelivered or misplaced package is significantly reduced. With a system like VueturaTrac, this dream could be a reality.
4. Get a Greener Facility by Eliminating Waste
In addition to decreasing costs as you maintain excellent patient care, modern hospitals are also expected to do what they can to run a more environmentally friendly facility. While this challenge might feel insurmountable, focusing on creating a greener hospital will not just help you eliminate waste, but it will also increase your efficiency and save a lot of time and money.
Hospitals are under a lot of pressure to reduce waste across the board. If you’re wondering which department would see the most powerful impact when you implement improvement processes, look no further than the hospital’s receiving department. If you take the necessary steps to update your receiving department with an updated automated receiving and delivery system, you’ll see improvements in waste elimination as well as a significant improvement in the receiving department staff morale.
“Healthcare organizations lose $5 billion annually due to waste in the supply chain.”
—Source: Cardinal Health. “5 Challenges Healthcare Supply Chain Leaders Face… And How Automated Technology Can Help Solve Them.”
If your facility is still using manual tracking, you’re not just spending a great deal of money on paper and the space required to store it, but you’re making a very negative impact on the environment. Introducing an automated package tracking system will not only keep your receiving department green, but it will reduce the waste that goes hand-in-hand with manual tracking: the expense of paper and ink and the staff hours required to enter incoming packages and track packages out for delivery are just a few ways that you’ll eliminate waste and improve your environmental impact.
While you might be concerned about the initial cost of an automated package tracking system, take a moment to factor in the costs you won’t be responsible for any longer when you upgrade from your old way of doing things. Automated package tracking systems have an incredible ROI, and you really can’t afford to continue tracking packages with the equivalent of a horse and buggy.
5. Improved Accuracy and Efficiency = Time Saved
Try as they might, people can’t outpace machines. A human being writing a long tracking number just won’t be as efficient as a machine that can quickly scan a string of numbers. Automated package tracking systems enable packages to be processed two times faster as they are using the old-fashioned manual method. This level of efficiency will enable your team to take on projects that have been waiting in the wings for an opportune moment. Better yet, your projects won’t be disrupted by the dreaded calls from people wondering when their packages will be delivered.
However, manual tracking’s inefficiency doesn’t just impact the receiving department. Your hospital’s budget is overblown thanks to the hours required to record and address packages, not to mention the additional time your staff has to spend locating missing packages thanks to error-ridden handwritten numbers.
Computer-generated labels aren’t just more efficiently created, but they ensure that the whole process is streamlined. This will reduce your staffing expenses, which will impact your bottom line for the better.
One of the most attractive features of an automated package tracking system is its efficiency. Your staff will be able to receive packages, record vital data, and address them using an easy-to-read scannable sticker. Equip your team with hand-held mobile computers with scanners, and your deliveries will be completed in no time.
“Implementing automated package tracking will significantly improve your facility’s operational efficiency.”
Additionally, package tracking that’s automated is far more accurate than its manual counterpart. Human error is inevitable, and there’s a larger chance for error if your team is responsible for recording long strings of numbers. The amount of activity that’s occurring in your receiving department at any given moment is bound to be distracting; reduce the possibility for error with a scanning device.
6. Keep Better Track of Medical Devices and Live Tissue
Hospitals receive hundreds, if not thousands, of packages every day, and a great number of these packages require unique handling and tracking in order to adhere to the requirements put forth by the FDA/Joint Commission. These packages should be delivered quickly and efficiently, as medical professionals are waiting to use them for potentially life-saving measures.
When your receiving staff knows that the contents of a package are of the highest priority, they can expedite them from the beginning. It’s a lot harder to expedite a package when you don’t know exactly what’s in it, and manual tracking slows matters down.
When a package contains live tissue or a medical device that a patient is awaiting, it becomes even more vital that your team has the necessary tools to ensure its safe delivery. One of the biggest benefits of an automated package tracking system is the ability to locate each package at every point in the chain of custody. No matter where the package might be in the facility, you’ll be able to locate it with just a few clicks. It won’t be abandoned on a desk somewhere, waiting for the recipient to come back to their office.
“When a package contains live tissue or a medical device that a patient is awaiting, it becomes even more vital that your team has the necessary tools to ensure its safe delivery.”
In addition to recognizing the requirements of the Joint Commission Audits and the FDA, it’s also important that you’re avoiding compliance issues. Introducing an automated package tracking system will do just that, as well as keep you in line with the tissue tracking requirements and ensuring your surgeries are occurring on schedule.
7. Avoid Hard-Copy Paperwork Pains with Customized Labels
When you’re working with paper, you’re bound to lose something sometime. And if you don’t lose a piece of paper, there’s a potential for an accident, whether it’s tearing or spilling or soiling in some other manner. If that paper’s the only piece of information you have about a certain package your facility has received, that is a scenario rife with disaster.
Enter the automated package tracking system. Don’t depend on one delivery document for multi-parcel orders. Chances are your ERP only tracks orders, not the parcels in the order. It’s easy to lose a parcel if you’re only tracking a delivery document with 20 parcels. The industry best practice is to track at the parcel level not the order level.
The solution is to print a customized “license plate” label with a unique bar-code along with all pertinent order and delivery information required to get the package delivered without a hitch. You’ll be able to track each package through the chain of delivery, allowing the package’s recipient to check throughout the day.
Instead of printing delivery documents that are digitized and sent to the recipient via email, the delivery, order, and routing information required to get the package from point A to point B is on the package’s “license plate.” This eliminates the potential for a “mystery package.”
Another advantage of the “license plate” is legibility. You don’t need to worry that a package will be misdelivered because of transposed numbers or unreadable names.
Also, the automated system integrates with your hospital’s internal addresses to make processing non-PO items more streamlined. Older package addressing systems require your team to manually look up staff and employees in one or more internal locator systems, then hand write addresses. This is a time-consuming and error-prone process. A modern system will enable users to scan the carrier barcode, lookup the recipient, print a label with the click of a mouse, and send the recipient a text or email confirming the receipt and estimated delivery. This saves time and guarantees a correct address on every package, accountability of the delivery, and visibility of each step.
8. Streamline Operations with Superior Reporting Tools
How does your current tracking system handle your hospital’s reporting? Do you have a procedure for generating reports in place? Reporting is crucial for hospital receiving departments to make informed decisions about a variety of issues, including the operations of the hospital’s receiving department as well as your team’s overall performance. When you have this information at hand, you’ll be able to streamline your procedures, improving your productivity in a variety of ways.
For one, with accurate reporting, you’ll know whether your processes are truly as productive as they can possibly be. Most modern hospitals assume that their receiving and delivery departments are working at their peak potential without taking the time to assess the way they’re doing things, taking an attitude of, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” This short-sighted view could inhibit the potential for growth. Implementing a system with top-notch reporting tools will assist you in streamlining your current operations, allowing you to break free of the prison of the status-quo.
Manual tracking bogs your receiving department down. Processes are more time-consuming and more difficult and they pull employees from other tasks that should be accomplished. It’s close to impossible to locate information from the past—even the recent past—without considerable effort.
“Implementing a system with top-notch reporting tools will assist you in streamlining your current operations, allowing you to break free of the prison of the status-quo.”
An automated package tracking system will give you the ability to effortlessly locate data about all packages. All information about each package that enters the facility will be safely stored in an easily-accessible database, which will then be transformed into useful reports that will assist you in improving the overall productivity of your facility.
9. Automated Tracking Will Enhance Patient Care
Every patient in your hospital needs supplies for their care. Some of it’s routine, like bandages or alcohol wipes, but other supplies fall into the life-or-death category, like organs or live tissue. Regardless of their use, every supply is a vital part of bringing patients back to health. The potential for catastrophe if these supplies are lost or misdelivered due to outdated manual package logging is incalculable.
You’re ready to pull your facility into the 21st century with an automated package tracking system, but you’re not sure how improving your package tracking will help you improve your patient care.
For one, if you’re spending all of your time manually logging packages, that’s less time your staff has to devote to patient care. Additionally, when members of your staff are taking valuable time away from caring for their charges to search for crucial supplies, it can have a negative impact on your patients’ experience as well as their health.
“Supplies will be found with a click of a mouse, allowing the staff to attend to patients quicker than ever.”
Automated package tracking will also streamline your ER department, decreasing wait times and improving overall patient care. Supplies will be found with a click of a mouse, allowing the staff to attend to patients quicker than ever. Many Vuetura customers report that their package processing drops from one to ten minutes down to mere seconds.
All of this additional time can be used to improve patient care for the whole facility, which will also improve your hospital’s reputation as well as the bottom line. When your staff has the autonomy to locate packages themselves without relying on the receiving department to sift through reams of paper, they’ll feel more empowered to give patients the care they need.
10. Improve Your Shipping and Receiving Team’s Reputation
Each time a package arrives at your hospital’s dock, your receiving team initiates the chain of custody. If you’re still using a manual tracking system, this entails your team painstakingly copying strings of numbers and names. You hope that they didn’t transpose any numbers and that their writing is completely legible, and then the delivery team sets out (at last) to make the deliveries for the day.
If you implement an automated package tracking system, you’ll significantly reduce the amount of time that your team spends processing packages from the moment they enter the facility. With a quick scan of the tracking number, the automated system will create an easy-to-read sticker. Even a hospital with a high volume of deliveries will see a big difference in the time spent prepping packages for delivery with manual tracking versus the time spent with an automated system. The processing time will go from between one to ten minutes down to under ten seconds. Your team will have time to handle projects that have been waiting on the back burner until they had everything sufficiently under control to tackle them.
“If you implement an automated package tracking system, you’ll significantly reduce the amount of time that your team spends processing packages from the moment they enter the facility.”
Also, you might be able to reduce the amount of money you’re spending on staffing each month. You’ll be able to do more work more efficiently with fewer people. And the people who are there will have a reputation for efficiency and speed as well as the trust of everyone in the facility. No longer will the shipping and receiving department be subjected to questioning about the whereabouts of important packages; customers can simply search for themselves.
If you’re ready to modernize your shipping and receiving department once and for all, Vuetura can help. We’d love to talk with you. Click here to contact us for a free demo today.