Guide to Essential Medical Consumables

Running a healthcare facility is an onerous task, for a number of reasons. Each day is likely to bring a new set of challenges, from a medical and managerial perspective. One of these challenges is ensuring that your facility is adequately stocked with high-quality medical consumables.

Clinicians rely on these products perhaps more than is realised. We might assume that disposable products, like needle guides and ultrasound probe covers, are just that — disposable and not particularly important from a clinical perspective. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not having these products on hand can prevent doctors and nurses from providing high-quality care in an efficient manner.

Whether you’re planning on opening a new facility or reassessing stock levels and suppliers, read on to discover what you should consider when purchasing medical consumables.

What is a medical consumable?

A medical consumable is defined as a product that a healthcare practitioner uses on a daily basis to improve patient care. Medical consumables tend to be disposable, single use products. Medical practitioners often use them to facilitate more complex procedures. For example, a needle guide can be used to help a clinician perform a biopsy.

Consumables can also be used to help keep an environment safe and free from infection.

Given the disposable nature of these products, they are usually ordered in bulk. Stock levels require constant monitoring to ensure that they do not run too low.

Despite the fact that medical consumables are single use products, they still need to be a very high quality to ensure proper patient care. As is the case with capital equipment, consumable products are not an area in which you should be looking to cut costs.

Essential medical consumables

Every facility will have different needs. A hospital, for example, is perhaps more likely to require surgical procedural kits than an aged care home. With this in mind, to discern your ‘essential medical consumables’ you are best off speaking to an experienced healthcare equipment provider. They will be able to provide tailored advice based on your needs and situation.

However, broadly speaking, most healthcare facilities will benefit from having the medical consumables listed below on hand.

Ultrasound probe covers

The rise of point-of-care ultrasound machines has led to this diagnostic procedure becoming more accessible and affordable. An ultrasound probe cover is an important consumable that ensures the procedure is safe and hygienic for all involved.

Needle guides

The goal of any procedure is to treat the patient in an efficient and pain free manner. Needle guides help accomplish this by providing improved visualisation and reduced procedure time for treating clinicians. They can be used when performing an ultrasound procedure or a biopsy.

Procedural kits

Clinicians will often find themselves performing the same procedure over and over again. While no two patients are alike, the tools that are needed to perform these diagnostic and operative routines are. Procedure specific kits provide a clinician with confidence that all the medical consumables they need are right by their side. At the conclusion of the procedure, the kit can be simply disposed of.

Many healthcare equipment providers work with facilities to create procedure specific kits, meaning you can customise the product to feature the instruments and consumables you need.

Enteral feeding products

Patients who have acquired damage to their mouth or throat may struggle to obtain the nutrients they need to make a full recovery. Enteral feeding products can help facilitate patient recovery by providing a passageway through which food can be delivered down the throat and into the gastrointestinal system. As to be expected, tubes are a consumable product and should be disposed of after use.

Oncology delivery products

While chemotherapy is essential in helping treat patients with cancer, the drugs can be quite dangerous when not used in the correct manner. Oncology delivery products protect those clinicians involved in preparing cancer therapy treatments by providing an airtight delivery system.

Infusion therapy products

The development of infusion therapy revolutionised healthcare, with clinicians now able to provide patients with intravenous nutrients and medication in a safe and pain-free manner. Infusion therapy is now used across all healthcare environments, from aged care homes to critical care units. The treatment relies on the use of a number of different medical consumables.

Infection control consumables

Few things are more important in a healthcare environment than infection control. While capital equipment can be used for this purpose, consumable products often do the bulk of the disinfecting work. Regardless of the type of facility you run, infection control consumables should be top of your priority list.

Clinicians rely on medical consumables to facilitate the majority of medical procedures. If you’re new to the world of healthcare management or have any questions about the quality and quantity of consumables you require, it’s a good idea to speak to an experienced healthcare equipment provider. They’ll be able to answer all of your questions and help set you up with appropriate supplies.