• Industry: Healthcare
  • Type: Survey report
  • Date: 10/8/2012

South Africa: Helen Joseph Hospital improves efficiency and nurse empowerment through stock control 

Situated in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Helen Joseph Hospital is a designated regional academic facility and, with 530 beds, is the third largest teaching hospital in Gauteng Province. However, the hospital, which also offers tertiary services, was experiencing challenges related to stock control and stock staging, particularly for ward supplies. Facing high costs for expired ward stock, the hospital recognized the need to improve their stock utilization and budget in order to submit their budget requests for the following year.

South Africa

How it led to productivity improvement

With a renewed focus on maximizing stock efficiency on a minimal budget, the Helen Joseph Hospital began a stock efficiency improvement project in 2011 with the goal of achieving rational drug use and improved stock control.

The project began by mapping the stock processes and identifying areas of inefficiency in order to develop targeted interventions. As a result, inefficient ward stock processes were improved by moving stock ordering and planning from a reactive process to a proactive one. All areas of the hospital charged with storing pharmaceutical stock were also cleaned up and the layout of the ward store area was optimized.

Project leaders also focused on building the nursing staff’s capabilities by offering continuous support and advice in stock management. Regular meetings with pharmacists and therapeutics added to the sense of urgency for the nursing staff.

Key results

While the project is only in its first year, the results are already becoming evident in both the productivity of the organization and staff motivation. The improved pharmaceutical management processes have led to decreased total stock costs and enhanced efficiency with nurses spending less time waiting for stock at the pharmacy due to more efficient cross-functional teams. Ordering efficiency was also improved by allocating pharmacists to specific wards and, with more time to visit the wards to due improved efficiency, communication was enhanced between physicians, nurses and pharmacists leading to a higher quality of care.

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With the gap between the pharmacy and the nursing staff effectively bridged, staff motivation also improved. Pharmacy staff reports feeling more empowered and, having provided input on improving processes, felt that they now played a more vital role that allowed them to be more involved in the whole process. Early results show that the nursing staff now feel better supported by the pharmacy and have a much better understanding of the process and, as a result, are more supportive of the stock process and their role in it.

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