Written by Dennis Summers, Senior Account Executive at dancker
dancker’s Healthcare Logistics team has a tried-and-true process when it comes to managing our clients’ assets to ensure they have what they need, when they need it.
If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve probably spent countless hours sitting in waiting rooms of doctor’s offices or hospitals. And while waiting, you might have done a little people-watching, taking note of how many different patients come and go, each with personal circumstances that require very different forms of care. Even the professionals who you might see pass through the space will be diverse – doctors, nurses, lab technicians and other practitioners, as well as administrators and vendors. Your mental notetaking continues after your name has been called and you’re in an exam room or other patient space, as you see myriad pieces of medical equipment and technology, and lots and lots of soap.
What you might not recognize is what has made it possible for each of these people and pieces of equipment to be operational, not to mention efficient and effective at providing the highest level of patient care. That’s a good thing. Done right, those behind-the-scenes operational details will be unnoticed by the average patient. You shouldn’t have to care about where that exam room table was manufactured, when it was delivered, and how much longer it will be effective. But we have to care, and we do.
CENTRALIZING DOZENS OF DELIVERIES THROUGH DANCKER
When a healthcare organization is developing a new facility, they are likely buying products – hospital beds, surgical equipment, x-ray machines, computers, and yes, even soap – from dozens and dozens of manufacturers and vendors. dancker’s healthcare logistics team consolidates those relationships into one, reducing complexity for the client.
As all of those orders are fulfilled – instead of having equipment delivered to a busy, messy construction site where it might otherwise sit for weeks before it’s ready for installation – they’re sent straight to dancker’s logistics hub. Items are received, tagged, and inspected before being stored in a clean and secure, climate-controlled warehouse. We track each project’s timeline closely, staying on top of construction schedules, Department of Health inspections, and go-live dates, so we can plan each piece of equipment’s delivery and installation at the client site to be right on time. As new equipment is set up and put into service, our team trains the healthcare staff to ensure they’re comfortable with their new tools and technology. We do this for each of those dozens of manufacturers and vendors, so the client only has to deal with dancker.
MOVING ASSETS WHERE THEY’RE NEEDED MOST
A similar process is employed when a healthcare organization is moving, renovating, or consolidating locations. But rather than purchasing new equipment from dozens of vendors, we’re collecting the client’s existing assets and developing an inventory management plan that eliminates redundancies and improves efficiencies.
Even in this example where a client is renovating or relocating, all of the equipment is transferred to dancker’s logistics hub, where it’s inspected, barcoded and photographed, and entered into our proprietary inventory management software, StatusAction, before it’s stored on dancker’s site. As client locations are ready to receive specific pieces of furniture or equipment, we ship it out, set it up, and again provide necessary training. Because many 21st century healthcare organizations are part of large health systems with numerous locations, we help the different parts and pieces talk to each other. So, for example, if one facility in Hoboken is preparing to purchase a new piece of equipment – the same one that their sister facility in Manhattan has recently sent to storage – we can connect the dots and arrange for the cost-saving transfer.
Similarly, as a piece of medical equipment or furniture nears the end of its useful life (a timeline that dancker’s inventory management system helps to track), we can also facilitate recycling programs that generate green credits, or we can broker donations. For example, when a client had an abundance of hospital beds, we helped that client donate them to a medical facility-in-need in Ghana.
SHIFTING OPERATIONS TO MEET INDUSTRY STANDARDS
This kind of asset management becomes increasingly critical as more and more healthcare systems are shifting to a hub-and-spoke model with a large central hospital and multiple smaller, regional facilities. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is one example of an organization that is expanding its reach through a network of facilities that are each individually designed to offer more convenient or (in some cases) more specialized services – requiring unique equipment and furnishings.
Industry shifts toward urgent care facilities with smaller footprints, often located in retail centers or other non-traditional healthcare locations, also necessitate operational shifts. Put simply, smaller facilities mean less space for storage. Our healthcare logistics services help clients maximize their real estate and focus every inch on providing excellent patient care.
RECLAIMING PRECIOUS REAL ESTATE FOR PATIENT CARE
Northwell Health is another example of a healthcare system that delivers high-quality care through an expansive network. But even with a long list of locations, space still comes at a premium. Working with dancker to manage logistics, Northwell recently partnered with Steris to consolidate its sterile operations into a single location that can serve all nine Northwell hospitals as well as more than one hundred physician practices. This innovative sterilization hub allows Northwell to reclaim their on-site space for patient care while empowering Steris to perform the highest level of sterilization in dedicated off-site space.
We’re proud to be part of many forward-thinking projects, with partners in many industries, but there’s something truly unique about the healthcare industry. It’s 24/7, and human lives really are at stake. We take that responsibility very seriously and are passionate about going above and beyond. The whole dancker team is willing to help; in fact, our healthcare logistics team operates on a 24/7 schedule, too. (When a client called at 1 am to say their hospital’s NICU needed more beds, you can bet we delivered quickly.) We’re inspired by the fact that our work is difficult and complex, but also incredibly satisfying. When we’re sitting in those waiting rooms ourselves, whether you notice or not, we can see the impact our logistics management has had, and we’re proud to have contributed.