[Exeter, UK/ Implementations] - Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E) has saved £421,000 using a stockmanagement system to improve stock control in 23 theatres and provide patient-level costing. Also, by standardising on certain products used in surgery, RD&E is looking to achieve a further 3% cost saving on the Trust′s £5.5 million theatre budget.
Theatre staff are using the system to capture the detail and cost of all items used for surgery, from anaesthetics through to surgical mesh. All items used are recorded (with product-specific codes) against the patient′s code and once the operation is over, all the recorded billing materials are checked for accuracy before being committed to the system. The system also automatically raises an order when items require replenishing (based upon pre-set stock levels).
Stock checks by touching a button
Fred Cock, Clinical Services Manager at the Trust, said, “Stock checks can now be done with a touch of a button. Before PRM, staff had to be gathered at a weekend to count and record all stock items. This was very labour-intensive, open to errors and couldn′t provide a real-time, holistic view of stock across the theatres.
“We have improved inventory management, thereby reducing our stock holding and cutting unnecessary waste. This provided us with an initial cost saving and the business intelligence to make further cost savings within the programme. With intelligence about our products and their associated costs at our fingertips, we can investigate why one surgeon may be using products that are more expensive than another surgeon. We have the insight to ask questions and find answers so that we can make cost-conscious decisions.
Standardise on certain cost-effective products
RD&E also intends to standardise on certain cost-effective products used in surgery, such as surgical mesh used in hernia operations. There is no real difference in the application of standard surgical meshes and so the Trust plans to roll-out a standard, cost-effective type across all theatres.
Cocks added, “There cannot be an unequivocal acceptance of the cost of products used by surgeons, which is why intelligence is so important. By standardising on certain generic products used in surgery, this will provide a further 3% cost saving on our £5.5 million theatre budget, equating to another £150,000 of savings.”[hw][Photo: Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital by Richard Dorrell, Wikimedia Commons]