Pioneering consumable management service enhances patient safety and traceability

A pioneering consumable management service has been introduced by Althea at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton as an integral part of their Radiology managed service.

Althea has enabled the Trust to track all Radiology products from the moment they are sourced until they are assigned to a patient.  This pioneering service enables the delivery of better patient care, improved clinical productivity and supply chain efficiency; whilst future-proofing the Trust against the Department of Health and Social Care’s Scan4Safety criteria.

Althea’s service includes a bespoke inventory management system and an on-site stock controller who ensures the clinical team can maintain their focus on patient care.

Once products arrive from the centralised Receipt & Distribution area Althea’s stock controller adds them to the inventory management system via a handheld scanner.  The stock controller then decants the right products into the right areas of the Radiology department ensuring there is the appropriate quantity and size of products available for each procedure.  Thereafter the stock controller ensures stock obsolescence is eliminated.

At point-of-care the clinical team then utilise a handheld scanner to assign the product to the patient – including lot and serial numbers.  This allows for lifetime traceability as well as facilitating procedure-level costings for the hospital’s management team.

Once consumed the product is removed from the inventory and an automated replenishment order is raised, with all procurement and finance activities performed by Althea’s back office team – providing the Trust with further efficiency savings.

Dr Katharine Lewis, Clinical Lead for Interventional Radiology, said: “This system can track an exact product to a particular patient, which enhances patient safety.

“We also benefit from the system updating our stock volumes in real-time, enabling us to maintain efficient stock levels to meet clinical demands and we feel it has improved our efficiency and service overall.”

Althea’s consumable management service delivers a reliable, efficient, and patient-focussed service to eight clinical departments at seven NHS hospitals.  The outsourced managed service is fully aligned with NHS England’s recently announced changes to the specialised High-Cost Tariff-Excluded Devices programme and the move to a Visible Cost Model, and is saving hospitals up to 30% on their clinical consumable and device expenditure on a vendor-neutral basis.

Althea is one of the largest independent buyers of Radiology, Cardiology, and Endoscopy clinical consumables and devices in the UK and has achieved economies of scale that lead to real procurement savings and cost avoidance for NHS customers.

David Rolfe, UK&I Chief Executive Officer at Althea said “A lot of hospitals have inventory systems in place, however what they cannot do is track every product against a patient and be able to deliver traceability. This innovative service is extremely advanced, and we are delighted that it has made such an impact to the Trust.”

Althea has a catalogue of over 3,500 clinical consumables and devices sourced from over 100 suppliers in line with its ethos of vendor-independence and clinical choice.  Althea dovetails clinical flexibility with operational efficiencies without compromising research and innovation.