Process Improvement Plan
Operations Management

September 24, 2003

In examining material management and supply chain systems in the hospital industry, unexpected inefficiencies to monitor material usage patterns on hospital units, causes great risk to many processes that are involved in the healthcare industry on a daily basis. The process necessary to improve systems involves staff participation in brainstorming and analyzing criteria for recommending solutions to fine-tune problem areas for enhancing patient care supply chain management.

Process Improvement Plan

Failure to maintain adequate supply levels in a healthcare process can cause delays in patient’s care, customer satisfaction, risk to servicing patients and increased frustration to staff. Processes are implemented in facilities to help minimize the room for error so that individuals working in the facility can perform task in a consistent, efficient, and optimal manner, which could ultimately lead to improvement in both distribution efficiency and aggregate cost.

Each nursing unit has to order supplies from the purchasing department to place on their carts in-order administer and distribute medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to provide prescribed health care to patients. The following process is utilized for ordering supplies in a hospital setting:

Supplies in which the nurses are responsible for ordering are on the AS400 on the computer.

The nurse takes a print out of the supply list and they inventory the stock and then the list is given to the unit secretary for placing in the computer. The order request sheet prints in the purchasing department and the purchasing department fills the request and places them on the unit on the supply cart.

The purchasing department monitors some of the items that are routine, such as toothbrushes, pitchers, toothpaste and etc. when they make their daily rounds and perform cart checks. The problem with this ordering process is that there has been inadequate stocking of supplies on medication carts by nurses during shift changes. One way to gain solutions to this problem is through brainstorming. Brainstorming is defined as the act of defining a problem or idea and coming up with anything related to the topic--no matter how remote a suggestion may sound. All the ideas or recorded and evaluated.

Brainstorming can be an effective way to generate lots of ideas and then determine which idea or ideas best solve the problem. When a facility is utilizing brainstorming, this should be performed in a relaxed environment as if individuals feel pressured, they may not stretch their minds to full capacity.

Steps to brainstorming:

1). Identify the problem.

2). Set time limit for resolutions.

3). Peer participate through verbalizing issues and possible solutions to the


4). Selected the five major topic for discussion and resolution.

5.) Select five criteria for evaluate and the best process for problem containment.

6). Rate and rank each idea and recommended solution (0-5)

7). Choose the idea with the highest ranking as a possible solution to the

problem. A record should be maintained of all the ideas, incase the first idea does

not work.

Another method that could assist the organization in identifying the prevalence of a unit being under stocked is by using the “the Pareto principle, “the 80/20 rule” This concept can save you time and money. In the world of quality control, the concept is applied to defects. A small percentage of root causes are responsible for the majority of the defects. Data on how often problems occur can be tracked using a bar chart. This can save an organization time and money by helping its staff to focus on what’s most important and ignoring the distractions.

Some of the main areas of inefficiencies are:

Medical supply ordering processes were not timely, and follow-up action with the host MTF was not effective. The host MTF did not effectively support the reserve unit with required logistics support.

Certificates of transfer for medical equipment management office property were not completed for the last 2 account transfers. Additionally, the annual equipment inventory was not completed in a timely manner.

Timely resolution of equipment discrepancies identified during annual inventories was hampered by incomplete or delayed reports of survey.

Documentation indication that medical equipment inventories were completed within the required 12 –month period was inconsistent.

MEMO inventory was not accomplished during FYs 01 and 00.

Designation of the individual responsible for approving Inventory Adjustment Vouchers was not completed in accordance with Vol