Waste Not, Want Not

Inventory app expected to help All Children’s Hospital pathology department save more than $400,000 in five years.

Published in Dome - November 2015

JumpStock, an inventory management app, is helping the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at All Children’s Hospital to eliminate waste, save money and prevent the department from running out of vital supplies. The digital inventory tracking system is expected to save close to $410,000 over the next five years, according to Beth Carberry, the hospital’s innovation developer.

Manual tracking of supplies relies on guesswork about what’s in stock, and Carberry found the department was overstocking supplies by about 6.8 percent. Eliminating overstock minimizes the possibility that supplies will expire and go to waste.

“You always want to have the least amount of money sitting on the shelf while maintaining adequate supplies to prevent any interruption in patient care,” she says.

The app has already reduced the amount of overstock in the department. Its immunology division, for example, decreased the value of its inventory from close to $177,000 in mid-April to $159,000 by mid-July—a 10 percent reduction. During the first quarter of JumpStock use, there has been no waste related to outdated, incorrect or overordered product.

Manual tracking—“eyeballing”—can also lead to uneven amounts of supplies, Carberry says. There may be three months’ worth of some supplies on hand but only three days’ worth of other items. If supplies aren’t in stock, patient specimen diagnoses can be stalled.

JumpStock keeps track of supplies, notifying clinical laboratory staff when to reorder items. If an item is recalled, JumpStock knows exactly how many items in stock are affected, and how many and when recalled items were used.

This inventory management system can also interact with SAP, the Johns Hopkins Health System’s primary supply ordering system, which will be introduced to All Children’s Hospital in January 2016.

Once all of the laboratory’s six divisions are using JumpStock, Carberry hopes to combine their orders for common items. For example, petri dishes used by the immunology and microbiology divisions could be ordered together to get a lower, bulk price and save on shipping costs.

The new inventory management and bulk ordering plans follow the supply chain department’s initiative to decrease waste and increase cost savings while maintaining or improving patient outcomes.