What Every Pediatric Practice Manager Needs to Know About Vaccine Inventory

This is a guest post by Paul Vanchiere. He is the co-founder of Pediatric Practice Institute, a pediatric centric service company that helps practices and healthcare networks leverage their success and maximize their potential. 

I recently took a trip to The Home Depot to round up some supplies for a project. While there, I noticed an army of people with laptops attached to rolling carts counting the inventory.

It got me thinking about pediatric practices and the need to ensure tight inventory controls.While Home Depot does this for a variety of tax reasons, it is also part of its program to ensure that its inventory levels are properly recorded.

Despite the billions of dollars in information system resources, even Home Depot has to take the time to hand count things from time to time.

In a pediatric practice, the second-largest expense is vaccines. While people take due care to ensure that state-supplied vaccines are properly accounted for, have you made sure that your “private” inventory is properly accounted for?

One simple way to track your inventory is to simply take the month’s beginning inventory levels, add the amount you received during the month, and subtract out the number of billed units and vaccines lost due to a variety of circumstances.

Remember that patient late in the day who was going to get a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine but after the immunization was drawn up, the mother changed her mind? Because the child was your last patient on a Friday afternoon, there is nothing that can be done but toss it into the sharps container.

What about situations in which the nurse has drawn up vaccines but may have contaminated the injection or mixed the incorrect amount of diluents? In these instances, it is important to track such occasions, not only for the purposes of process improvement but for proper fiscal management.

Following is a sample spreadsheet to help you track your inventory. One should always take due care to ensure that inventory is taken each month to verify that your practice is properly accounting for this expensive resource.

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  1. A great followup to this would be to podcast about vaccines; ordering(negotiations, storage, group buying power vs independent , proper billing with admin codes)