Medical equipment planning for medical suppliers as well as wholesale drug distributors and retail pharmacies requires an extensive amount of deliberation. Along with determining which supplies to focus on, whether it be medical equipment for hospitals and clinics or pharmaceutical supplies, there is so much involved in this industry. Managing medical and pharmacy equipment planning requires identifying products for purchasing, along with pinpointing and predicting healthcare industry needs. Compliance is also a major factor. Healthcare providers involved with medical and pharmacy equipment supplies must meet federal regulations to ensure all equipment and supplies are safe for use in the capacity of private patient care. To help you determine how to begin this behemoth task of medical and pharmacy equipment planning, here are several key areas including space, machine needs, and other requirements to cover as a business owner or wholesale equipment dealer.
Choosing the right equipment for a facility is paramount to helping medical customers and healthcare providers save lives, as well as a huge amount of money. There are many different types of medical equipment and supplies. These range from storage and transport of equipment to diagnostic, electronic, surgical, and acute care equipment. In terms of storage of medical equipment, trays and transport systems are needed to store and move medical equipment. At the very least, you will need these for holding medical equipment while in inventory or for display and testing purposes. Facilities may also provide durable medical equipment (DME), which is used in home health care, including hospice care. This includes beds and equipment provided for patients in their home environment.
Diagnostic medical equipment includes X-ray generators, computerized axial tomography (CAT) scanners, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. Smaller yet still as important equipment needed for efficient medical management includes thermometers, stethoscopes, and procedure medical equipment. Examples of procedural medical supplies include forceps, surgical clamps, operating scissors, and scalpels, as well as headlights and gloves.
Acute care equipment is much in-demand for hospitals and medical clinics. This type of medical equipment includes monitoring equipment and nonsurgical instruments, as well as trash for minor procedures and general purposes. Wound care and skincare supply kits are also in constant demand for medical units. Other examples of medical equipment needed for efficient medication management include medication pumps, medical imaging software, heart rate monitors, and powered medical equipment. This covers defibrillators, pacemakers, and other lifesaving medical devices.
Pharmacies require suppliers to have shelving and software, as well as bottling and labeling supplies. This also includes applicators and dispensers, as well as balance printers, cables, and adapters plus accessories. Pill counters, tampers, capsule machines, and full systems for compounding pharmacists are also in demand in this market. Powder presses, remote swabbing, and microbiological sampling tools are also some of the interesting equipment needed by pharmacy equipment wholesalers.
The amount of square footage available in the pharmacy section will depend on several factors. Medical supplies and drug manufacturing equipment, as well as trays and tables for bottling and packaging materials will be included in this area. While this may not seem like a lot in terms of inventory and storage, pharmacy storage can quickly ramp up to be equal to the amount of footage you need to store machinery.
This brings up how to determine the space that will be dedicated to machinery and larger medical equipment. This includes storage and transport equipment along with traction equipment, hospital beds, and lifts. Surgical tables and instrument tables are also large pieces of equipment that will take up a lot of storage space.
Most likely the split for pharmacy and machinery will be 40/60 at the most for pharmacy goods, whereas a 30/70 divide for pharmacy/machinery would be doable as well. Medical machinery and equipment tends to be larger and requires more room to move it around in inventory compared to pharmacy equipment and supplies.
There are several features of medication packaging equipment planning that need to be addressed by stakeholders in a hospital, health system or medical pharmacy. These include serialization, barcoding, and FDB compatibility. To provide the best services for end customers, these features should be made available when procuring equipment.
Serialization and DSCSA Requirement
A key feature for medical equipment planning is serialization in response to the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). This act by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will go into effect by 2023. The purpose of the DSCSA is to enhance drug distribution security provisions in the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain. As a business involved in medical equipment planning, this topic pertains to system and data security, as well as product tracing and verification for product legitimacy.
As a result of the DSCSA, the FDA requires product identifiers for serialization to be included on prescription drug packages “on the smallest individual salable unit.” Prescription drug wholesalers must also be equipped to utilize the Verification Router Service (VRS) to manage all salable returns. By 2023, wholesalers must also provide “enhanced drug distribution security across the pharmaceutical supply chain,” according to CosmoTrace, a pharmatech consulting firm in the UK and India.
The healthcare industry utilizes barcode technology in a number of ways. As Recommendations for Using Barcode in Hospital Process from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports, “Barcode technology can prevent medical errors by providing detailed and reliable information in the site of patient care.” For success with barcode technology on medical equipment, there are two basic requirements. The barcodes must be well made and clear, and staff must be equipped with the proper scanning technology to read these barcodes. Utilize the latest in medical and pharmaceutical barcode printing and scanning technologies to be competitive in this market.
First Databank (FDB) is a leading resource for pharmacists and doctors regarding healthcare information. They offer extensive information about electronic health records and drug management, as well as prescription drug pricing and medication warnings. FDB provides a variety of solutions for technology developers, healthcare providers, and retail pharmacies. When determining drug pricing for wholesale and retail pharmacies, the FDB MedKnowledge® Drug Pricing database features everything from wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) to Medicare Part B pricing schedules.
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) provides annually updated standards for manufacturers and regulatory organizations. The USP is involved in food ingredients, medicine, and other ingredients, including dietary supplements and pharmacy compounding standards. Two of these standards are most applicable when managing medical equipment planning.
These include USP 797 Pharmaceutical Compounding of Sterile Preparations and USP 800 Hazardous Drugs Handling in Healthcare Settings. The current USP 797 and 800 guidelines for pharmacy and/or medical equipment planning are informational concerning compliance with the FDA. Follow the USP 797 and 800 guidelines when establishing a new medical equipment manufacturing facility to be on the front lines of compliance.
USP 797 and USP 800 cover organizational planning for human resource policies; exposure to hazardous drugs; drug handling construction and ventilation; compounding requirements; and risk mitigation for handling and disposing of medications. Following these USP guidelines when planning medical equipment installations and layouts will best suit your company. This is both helpful in terms of providing invaluable planning advice, but it will also ensure safety and compliance with the FDA in the future.
Determining a budget is key to setting up a successful medical and/or pharmacy equipment wholesale supply business. Figure out the total amount your company can spend on pharmacy equipment in this fiscal year. Anything that goes above budget should be planned for the next fiscal year. Ideally, you want to have a three to five-year plan with a budget outlined from the start of medical equipment planning.
This gives you a better perspective when making one-off purchases and dealing with unexpected expenses and price increases. Also, consider what you will do if pharmacy equipment or medical supplies suddenly hit a price dip. Will you purchase equipment in such an instance, and if so, are you dependent on discount pricing? Timing is key to operating any business and sudden deals can provide a ton of savings if you are able to take advantage of such opportunities.
The staff who will be operating the medical and pharmacy equipment are the next area of focus. Anyone who is responsible for shipments and deliveries of pharmacy and medical equipment must be trained on how to handle and receive equipment. Additionally, those staff members who are going to be using this equipment need to have proper instruction and formal training in some instances.
Providing medical and pharmacy equipment training is essential for maintaining customers in this marketplace. A lot of times, medical equipment purchasing managers are most interested in a vendor that is willing to provide training at the onset of purchasing equipment, and on down the line in the case of equipment updates or safety recalls.
Training for installing equipment, along with safety training and instruction on how to use the equipment, should be made available to purchasing customers.