From XU Magazine, 
Issue 30

New Zealand clinic manages inventory with surgical precision

Scalpels, sutures, and implants, oh my! With hundreds of stock items consumed each day, how do clinics track it all?

In their fast-paced facility, Rodney Surgical Centre has discovered the secret to managing a smooth, structured, and tidy clinic.

Navigating the need for surgery is never easy, and when amplified by the turbulence of COVID-19, accessible and stress-free solutions are of paramount importance. In New Zealand, Rodney Surgical Centre (RSC) provides top quality medical services while making them convenient and straightforward.

RSC is a private surgical facility based in Warkworth, about 60 kilometres north of Auckland. As a day-stay hospital, patients are moved in and out efficiently, served by specialist doctors who travel to the clinic to operate. The space provides these specialists with access to nurses, administrative staff, and surgical equipment for operations.

Born from the lack of local access to high-quality, timely surgical care, RSC has been on a mission to provide excellent rural healthcare since 2009. By pairing state of the art facilities with proximity to home and comfort, RSC mitigates the need to travel to Auckland for surgery. 

Today, in the high growth regions of Rodney, Kaipara, and Hibiscus Coast, RSC is still the only private surgical hospital in the area. Consequently, their operating rooms are busy. This equates to a high volume of surgical instruments and materials constantly being consumed. 

Fast-paced procedures

Imagine this: you’re a nurse in the operating theatre of an endoscopy, peering over at the surgical tray as the doctor swiftly discards swabs and scopes and brushes. Hurriedly, you jot down each material used, and just as the surgery wraps, another patient is being prepared to be brought in. You rush to organise the next patient’s papers, and the process repeats.

In the early days, this was the reality for nurses at RSC. With patients being billed for time and materials used in the theatre, it is vital that nurses record everything quickly and precisely. In a slower environment, it might not matter if an item or two are missed because inaccuracies can be corrected between sessions. However, at RSC, there is little time for error.  

Furthermore, with multiple surgeons rotating in and out of the clinic, each with varying preferences for different tools, keeping track of stock isn’t as simple as preparing the same tray of materials each time. 

The paperwork problem 

Like many other hospitals and clinics, RSC deals with a lot of paperwork, patient files, and duplication of records. This leads to unnecessary inefficiencies, with administrative staff often needing to manually copy the same forms across different systems. 

“Orders, arrived purchases, stock use, and invoicing for consumables and stock take were all done under different systems that did not interact with each other,” says Marianne Davidson-Beker, CEO of RSC. This disconnect adds to the pile of paperwork, but how do you get these systems to communicate with each other?

The answer lay in TidyEnterprise; an inventory and project management software with seamless Xero integration. RSC has been using Tidy since 2018 and it now plays a central role in their day-to-day operations, from reception to surgery. 

“As a small private hospital, we needed something agile rather than the larger systems,” says Davidson-Beker. Tidy fulfilled this need by working closely with RSC to understand and cater to their unique requirements, helping them to optimise use of the software and realise many benefits like cost savings and increases in productivity.  

Time and paperwork savings

Since implementing Tidy, RSC has experienced significant improvements in efficiency. Davidson-Beker says “the greatest change has been consumables being recorded easily and correctly before being uploaded into Xero invoices.” 

This accuracy is important because all materials used in surgery are charged on a per patient basis. With Tidy taking care of stock management, RSC staff are able to redeploy more of their time and focus from paperwork to what matters most in healthcare: patient care.

Furthermore, the issue of differing surgeon preferences for tools has also been mitigated by setting up templates in Tidy. “Being able to create estimates for operations has saved a lot of time and paperwork.”

Time is an invaluable resource for RSC because they are motivated to aid the greatest number of patients possible while maintaining world-class standards. With the mercurial COVID-19 still lingering, the accessibility of RSC’s services is more vital than ever, providing not only convenience but also peace of mind to local patients. By streamlining paperwork processes in Tidy, RSC has saved an immense amount of time, enabling them to better care for their community.


Reporting

As a busy clinic juggling a large assortment of materials and activities, oversight of the bigger picture can get lost in the hubbub. Cumulatively, missed expiry dates and mismanaged stock counts eat at profit margins, but with limited human resources, it can be difficult for small clinics to keep track. 

With Tidy’s built-in reporting functions, it’s easy for RSC to summarise cost/revenue comparisons, price breakdowns, and consumables used. The management team can see where money is being earned or lost, and the insights gathered help them to elevate patient experiences and day-to-day operational activities. 

Tidy also features batch functionality that uses material conversion to accurately manage the stock levels of single-piece items. If a new box of syringes is entered into the system, RSC can break it down into individual items, track expiry dates, and run reports. When stock levels fall below a set threshold, a notification alerts RSC that it is time to place a new purchase order. This saves them from situations where operations and schedules fall into disarray because of stock-related setbacks. 

The future

RSC has been actively participating in the research and development of fit-for-purpose healthcare inventory management software that Tidy will soon bring to market. This will be catered specifically for specialist clinics and day surgical centres like RSC. 

Medical terminology and standards will be built into the fields and overall design. It will also support the shorter invoice cycles needed in clinics, with faster, more streamlined processes between accounting and RSC’s other systems. 

By providing invaluable insights into their industry, medical organisations like RSC are helping to shape Tidy’s upcoming healthcare sector focussed product. This innovative product will further enable clinics to concentrate resources on their central purpose: improving patient outcomes.

Why leave it there?

To find out more about Tidy

Straight to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter for updates as they happen
We hate spam too. We NEVER sell our mailing list.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.