07/06/04 — New hospital system set to cut time, costs

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New hospital system set to cut time, costs

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 6, 2004 1:59 PM

A new inventory control system at Wayne Memorial Hospital is being touted as a time-saver for the staff and a way to save money.

The "Pyxis" brand system is a fully automated, vending-machine approach to tracking medical supplies. It was launched in April in the endoscopy department.

"We have put our supplies in these machines, and it keeps track of inventory," says Teresa Rose, hospital clinical coordinator of the endoscopy department. "The machine tells the computer system what it needs to reorder."

Every item has a matching button that is pushed when something is removed from the shelf or if something is returned to stock.

"It's been very beneficial," Ms. Rose says. "Everything's really organized, and you don't have the clutter.

"It's given us the time back, because we don't have to search through the cabinets to see what to order."

Roy Cottle, a nursing assistant in the perianesthesia care unit, set up the system in his department. He said the transition has been smooth, and his co-workers have adjusted well to the new format.

"It's not been real hard at all," he said, adding, "It's bound to save the hospital some money."

Bob Zongaro, director of materials management, says the automated program allows for daily ordering and next-day delivery. Early each morning, stock is distributed to each department.

The new system is expected to cut down on the amount ordered and eliminate waste. Tom Bradshaw, vice president of operations, says this will be especially helpful with items that have an expiration date.

"It's all computer-driven," he said. "Using statistics and probability, you can predict fairly confidently what you'll need."

The idea is expected to save the hospital 10 percent in supply costs, with the added bonus of freeing up warehouse storage space for excess items.

"We spend over $25 million a year for medical surgical supplies," Bradshaw says. "If you can reduce that 10 percent, that's $2.5 million."

Only a handful of departments are using the system. In addition to endoscopy and PACU, day surgery and anesthesia holding have implemented it.

Pyxis has provided personnel on site to help with the training transition. A total of 250 units, which are being leased, should be in place throughout the hospital by the end of the year.

At that point, the warehouse will still carry emergency supplies and backup of critical items, but about 80 percent of the stock previously stored there will be eliminated, says Gary Firestone, distribution manager at the hospital who also oversees the Pyxis project.

He said the biggest adjustment is working two systems, the old and the new.

"If we could convert at the same time, it would be wonderful," agrees Bradshaw. "Right now we're living in two different worlds."