Electronic or digital records are all the rage these days. Everyone either wants to go digital or is being forced to go digital. One industry that stands out in the talk about digital records is the healthcare industry. Electronic health records (EHR) or electronic medical records (EMR) have been around for years, but they’re only recently being used – doctors and nurses are using computers during exams; patients are filling out forms on iPads; and prescriptions are delivered directly to the pharmacy.
The Numerous Benefits to Using EHR or EMR Systems
The benefits to using EHR or EMR are numerous. According to HealthIT.gov using electronic records gives healthcare providers,
- Accurate and complete information about a patient’s health. This enables providers to give the best possible care, whether during a routine office visit or in a medical emergency, by providing the information they need to evaluate a patient’s current condition in the context of the patient’s health history and other treatments.
- The ability to quickly provide care. In a crisis, EHRs provide instant access to information about a patient’s medical history, allergies, and medications. This can enable providers to make decisions sooner, instead of waiting for information from test results.
- The ability to better coordinate the care they give. This is especially important if a patient has a serious or chronic medical condition, such as diabetes.
- A way to share information with patients and their family caregivers. This means patients and their families can more fully take part in decisions about their health care.
But before you stop reading and jump head first into using an EHR or EMR system, there’s one additional thing to consider – old/existing patient health records.
Why Old Patient Records Need to Be Digitized
Having a complete patient history available is invaluable to treating your patients. And without digitizing your old or existing patient health records, you will lose out on many of the benefits of an EHR or EMR system. So what can you do?
The Wrong Strategy for Scanning Exiting Patient Records
One strategy many healthcare providers are using is to hire one or two people whose only job function is to manually scan the information into the EHR or EMR system. The downside is that it can take years before every patient’s records are scanned into the system. While you’re waiting for this to be complete, everyone is frustrated because who knows which patients records are digital and which ones aren’t. Efficiency and productivity suffer, which means patient satisfaction suffers. And the amount of money you spend hiring people might not make it worth it. There has to be a better option.
The Better Option for Your Patient Record Scanning Project
Outsourcing. You might have some negative thoughts about outsourcing this type of project, but with us here at Southwest Solutions Group it will be a much better solution than scanning the patient records yourself. If you’re still not convinced, here are some reasons letting us handle your scanning project is a better option for your healthcare facility:
- Our services are completely HIPAA compliant.
- We can quickly scan millions of medical records that will promptly be available for your staff to use.
- We work on your schedule and within your specified budget so that you are in control.
- With our services, you can free up space that was previously used to store paper records and put it to better use.
- Because we know what we are doing and provide all the equipment, you don’t have to rely on untrained new hires or purchase expensive equipment.
- We will provide storage for your paper records at our facility or come to your site at no extra cost to you.
Optimize Your Warehouse Storage with Warehouse Management Software
Automated storage systems have been designed to meet the storage needs of a wide variety of operations. When combined with warehouse management software (WMS), streamlining production in your warehouse becomes even easier, more efficient, and can save you thousands of dollars per year on storage and ergonomics.
Streamlining Production Levels with WMS Integration
In order to ensure optimized production levels most effectively, measures must be taken to properly integrate your WMS into new or existing software. Ideally, you will be able to integrate with little downtime and more cost-effectively than traditional, software-less warehouse management. Warehouse management software not only reduces time spent managing your warehouse, but it also reduces human error and provides automatic configuration for tasks such as inventory management and tracking, batch picking, shipping labeling, receiving, material handling, storing materials in the least amount of space possible, and more.
Factors to consider before WMS integration
Before choosing a WMS system for your warehouse, you should first consider whether you want a specific best-of-brand package to integrate into your existing system or to implement a new overall system. WMS-ERP integrated systems are recommended since the software can integrate seamlessly with other existing system activities and processes. An integrated system also helps avoid the difficulties and costs associated with implementing standalone warehouse management software into an existing system.
Benefits of Warehouse management software integration
- Improved supply chain visibility
- Unified data structures and consistent user interfaces that help greatly reduce the amount of time spent training employees
- Improved automated functionality that allows employees to maximize productive time
- Gradual transition to WMS for traditional warehouse systems
- Incremental shutdown capabilities to protect data
- Automated inventory tracking and monitoring
- Integrated technology and software for AS/RS storage systems
Contact Us About Warehouse Management Software
Navigating the many different types of warehouse management software can be intimidating. Southwest Solutions Group® provides design, consultation, and implementation services to a wide variety of business sectors, including retail, manufacturing, industrial, and warehouse operations. Whether you’re looking to update or replace your current WMS system or manage additional warehouses, SSG can help you find the right software depending on your specific needs and get you on your way to enhancing your production levels and increase your ROI. For more information or to speak with a warehouse management specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.
It’s been said before, but I think it needs repeating: today’s libraries are not the same as they used to be – even 10 years ago. Back then (as if 10 years was really warrants the statement “back then”, but why not) almost no one had heard of an e-book, people were still using flip phones, and college students still relied on desktop computers. Oh my…how times have changed!
People Expect Libraries to do More Than Just Lend Books
The good news is that libraries are willing to adapt to these changes in technology. And it’s not just about adapting to new technology; communities themselves are changing. While reading a book is something many people do – for fun and not just school – they expect more from their local libraries than just books. According to the American Library Association’s 2014 State of America’s Libraries report,
Ninety-six percent of the Americans responding to the Pew survey agreed that public libraries are important because they provide tech resources and access to materials, and the same number found libraries valuable because they promote literacy and a love of reading.
Libraries are community resources. With people receiving help applying for jobs, participating in computer software courses, gathering their children for reading groups, and more, there is a lot libraries have to offer. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Examples of How Libraries are Responding to the Needs and Wants of the Community
For example, Fast Company wrote an article about a library re-opening in Oakland, CA and how the library’s collection is different from most as a response to the needs of the community.
Oakland is among a growing number of libraries across the U.S. that lend tools–as in awls, sledgehammers, and hacksaws–as well as other unexpected items like bakeware, Moog synthesizers, and human skeletons to keep pace with the times.
And the Oakland library isn’t alone. A new public library in the heart of downtown Austin, TX is incorporating a full-service restaurant and 300-person event space for culinary demonstrations. In an article from Austin 360 one of the architects on the project commented,
“Amazon has made us really think about this: If the information is really available in the palm of your hand, what is it about the library that is really important?” he says. “It’s where we gather as a community to learn and share ideas and to come together.”
Changes in Library Functions Affect Design AND Book Storage
As part of this shift in the expectations we have for libraries, the overall design of the library has to change. Meaning there will be less of a focus on books and more of a focus on these other activities. However, many libraries – and patrons too – still value the books. And this is where design comes in.
Off-site Book Depositories are Housing Print Books and Archives
In order to make room for other activities while still storing and maintaining a book collection, libraries are turning to off-site book repositories – a place where duplicate copies of print books and archives are stored.
For instance, Florida Polytechnic University’s library has gone completely digital. Instead of traditional print books, students are able to download and purchase digital copies. But there are still print books available to students from an off-site library that also supplies books to a community college. This concept of a book repository isn’t new and, in fact, is gaining traction throughout the country.
Recently, the University of Texas and Texas A&M collaborated to open the Joint Library Facility to provide storage for over a million print books and journals that will be made available for use by other academic or medical institutions. With space on campus at a premium and limited financial resources, the universities wanted a cost-efficient solution to free up space for higher circulating materials and new study areas for students. The Joint Library Facility represented that solution.
Libraries are Using Compact Mobile Shelving On-site to Save Space When Storing Books
Another option that’s appealing to libraries is compact mobile shelving. The shelving allows the libraries to store the same number of books (and in some cases more) on-site, but in less space than traditional static shelving. One of the Arkansas public libraries added a compact mobile shelving system to its basement in order to make room for archive magazines, newspapers, and extra books used throughout other smaller public libraries in Arkansas.
And then there is the combination of an off-site book repository and compact mobile shelving. Western Michigan University consolidated their special collection into a new book repository and used the compact mobile shelving to house it in less space (read about the project here).
LEAN practices are all about reducing waste; however in the past, LEAN practices typically only applied to the production and manufacturing of standardized products. Warehousing and distribution, on the other hand, are service industries that are very far from standardized because the customer is able to choose from thousands of items. With this view, how can the same LEAN practices used in manufacturing apply to your warehousing facility?
8 Types of Waste Found in Warehousing & Distribution
When you look at the waste found in manufacturing, you will see similar types of waste in warehousing and distribution. According to the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), “Since warehousing is nothing more than managing space and time, reducing waste starts with identifying the poor use of both.” In NAW’s book Lean Warehousing they describe 8 types of waste found in warehousing,
- Overproduction in manufacturing results in wasted materials. In warehousing, an excess of inventory has the same result.
- Waiting is a waste of time. This is as true in warehouse operations as it is in production.
- Unnecessary movement of cargo is a major source of waste in materials handling.
- Over processing is a waste in production – in warehousing it is over checking.
- Poor inventory control represents waste, particularly when stock-outs are frequent.
- Movement is a waste when it involves hunting for tools, or stored items that cannot be located.
- Defective parts waste production; in warehousing, errors result in waste.
- Unused employee creativity represents a waste of human resources.
Once you have identified the causes of waste in your facility, you can move forward and apply LEAN practices.
Equipment to Help Facilitate LEAN Practices for Warehousing
Managing space, time, and inventory to reduce waste is a large task. That’s why investing in the right equipment solutions will help you facilitate LEAN practices. Depending on your particular needs, there are a variety of equipment solutions including,
- Vertical lift modules (VLM): The vertical lift modules store small, medium, and large parts in the least amount of floor space possible.
- Vertical Carousels: The vertical carousels maximize the storage of small parts in bins.
- Horizontal carousels: The horizontal carousels increase picking efficiency by allowing for batch picking.
Each of these machines operates on the goods-to-person principle: delivering stored items directly to the user. This eliminates the time workers spend searching for items. In addition, the VLM and vertical carousels have an ergonomically positioned work counter that helps to reduce injuries related to bending, twisting, and reaching for stored items.
Other equipment designed to maximize the use of space in your warehouse includes,
- Compact pallet racks: The compact pallet racks condense the floor space required for storage by 50% while maintaining accessibility.
- Mezzanines: The mezzanines use vertical space to add another level of floor space to your warehouse.
- Specialty vertical carousels: The specialty vertical carousels store items like rolls of textiles, tires, hanging garments, wire spools, and print cylinders.
Contact the Storage Experts at Southwest Solutions Group for Help
Applying LEAN practices and investing in the right equipment starts with first identifying the areas of your warehouse that are creating the most waste. Southwest Solutions Group’s material handling experts can help. We offer a variety of equipment solutions that will help your warehouse and distribution center become more efficient and sustainable. Contact us by phone at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message.
One of the top causes of Joint Commission citations is empty hospital beds stored in corridors. Even if your hospital is lucky enough to have a room to store hospital beds – the situation is seldom ideal.
Finding and gaining access to a specific bed often involves climbing on and over several beds to locate the one you need. And of course once the right bed is found, you have to begin the task of clearing a path so it can be retrieved. This time consuming process leads to damaged hospital beds and exposes employees to injury.
Why Vertical Storage Racks are a Better Solution
A better solution is to stack spare or broken hospital beds in a secure vertical arrangement. Not only does this save valuable floor space, it removes a potential life safety issue from hospital corridors. Using a storage rack for hospital beds will improve the efficiency of a hospital’s maintenance department and increase the number of beds available for patient use at any given moment.
The storage racks also have the added advantage of reducing the need for extra hospital beds, freeing up capital for other uses. (Click to read a case study on vertical storage racks used for a hospital’s facility and engineering department.)
Hospital bed stacking is based on last in – first out picking (LIFO). The first bed is pushed onto the rack then raised, opening the space underneath it for the next bed. One person can do the entire procedure by simply pushing a button.
Here is an example of how you can use the storage racks. Line one wall of a storage and maintenance space with the racks to store beds that are ready for use and on the other wall use storage racks for beds awaiting service and repair. This set-up reduces bed handling, improves inventory control, and improves cycle time to change out beds.
Contact Us for Help Storing Your Hospital Beds
Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for vertical storage racks. If you need more information on this innovative new way of storing hospital beds, please give us a call at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message.