When I do my charge master reviews for hospitals, one of the areas that's always of particular interest is supplies. Hospitals can literally have more than 5,000 supply items on their charge master; that's hard for anyone to keep up with. Having items in their inventory control is one thing; having that many charges that someone is supposed to try to capture... insane!

by William Warby
via Flickr

One of the first things I go looking for are screws. There are a lot of screws used in surgery, of all different types and sizes. There are anchor screws, cancellous screws, cortical screws, lag screws... on and on. And you've seen regular screws, so you can bet that medical screws come in multiple sized, sometimes very minimally incremental sizes.

The thing about these screws is that most of them either have the same exact price or maybe a price difference of a dollar or two. In my mind, having all those screws on a charge master is setting up a nurse that has to give these things to the doctor during surgery for failure in trying to remember all the screws in proper sizes that were used during the procedure. Doctors don't even remember after the surgery which size they selected. And since the price is probably the same, it makes no sense having all those screws to try to deal with.

I always advocate simplicity when it comes to trying to capture charges. If you make it easy on the people whose job it is to do the work, they'll get it done and you'll have no worries. This is always my recommendation when it comes to things like screws.

This is also my general recommendation when it comes to work, whether you're the owner, manager or employee. I see so many examples of things being duplicated because management has decided they want check after check after check, and at the same time wants to stay on schedule and keep production up. When you throw needless obstacles into the mix, you back things up and make it hard for people to do their job. You also make it hard for yourself because you have to check all that excess stuff to make sure it took place.

True, there are some businesses where you need inventory control. But for the most part this isn't something every business should be doing. Create your process, verify it works, modify it when necessary; that's it. Make it simple on everyone else and you make it simple on yourself.