January 06, 2021

Vanessa Jinks, Associate Director of Procurement at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust: Using an automated inventory management solution to help manage PPE stock during the COVID-19 pandemic

Associate Director of Procurement at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, Vanessa Jinks shares their learnings from using automated inventory management solution, Omnicell SupplyX, to manage PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic initially hit, the team and I were faced with a lot of new challenges. We were unsure of PPE stock requirements for the different areas of the Trust, there was a lack of clarity ordering PPE and some areas of the Trust requested supplies that we had never sourced before. It was really difficult at the beginning, but the new challenges we faced led to new processes which became sophisticated in a short amount of time.

We originally managed PPE stock using Excel spreadsheets which was a cumbersome and time-consuming process. We were already using the automated inventory management system (IMS), Omnicell SupplyX, in a theatre setting and soon made the decision to use it to manage PPE stock over the three hospital sites.

It took us some time to create new product IDs and upload these into the IMS, however, the data from SupplyX has been invaluable in tracking real-time PPE stock levels. With a push of a button, we can identify what PPE stock we have, how much we have, and where it is, as well as easily issuing it to different areas of the hospital sites.

For example, as demand increased in one area of the hospital for a particular PPE item, we’ve been able to easily identify other areas where demand isn’t as high and simply moved stock from area to area or site to site.

We’ve also been able to readily identify the burn-rate of stock and understand how much stock is being used where, a key requirement, along with accurate details of current stock holding of the daily reporting required from all Trusts into the NHSEI national Trust 360 tool. If we didn’t have the Omnicell SupplyX IMS in place then we would have lost a lot of time using Excel spreadsheets to calculate stock levels across the three sites.

Although Omnicell SupplyX IMS has been invaluable to help manage PPE at Frimley Health, communication between departments has also played a key role. By listening to departments’ stocking issues, we’ve been able to review the data in the IMS and use this to meet the requirements of different departments, hospitals, and community sites.

In addition to successfully managing all of our PPE stock, we are also using Omnicell SupplyX to capture all consumable and implantable device information at the point of consumption. We are looking forward to reviewing this data and understanding the opportunity it will present.

Although we are still in the implementation phase of rolling out Omnicell SupplyX across the Frimley Health Trust, it has without a doubt allowed us to react quickly to demand and ensured PPE has been available for our staff so they can provide vital patient care through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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