August 21, 2020

Tip of the week: uses

This week we look at uses - the easiest way to manage a pool of inventory items without having to create multiple items. They greatly simplify inventory management, and eliminate the headache associated with managing reminders for complex scenarios such as series vaccines.

Tip of the week: uses

Welcome to the tip of the week.  This week we look at uses - the easiest way to manage a pool of inventory items without having to create multiple items.

What are uses?

Uses are a way to tell the software that a particular inventory item is used in different ways.  Take for example, rabies.  The same rabies vaccine may be given as part of a puppy series, then on an on-going basis through adulthood.  Rather than creating a different inventory item for each part of that series, uses allow you to group them all under one inventory item.

How are uses useful?

To answer that question, we'll continue with our rabies example.  Let's say that our rabies series consists of a vaccination at 14 weeks, one year, and then every three years.  Each of those vaccines require their own set of reminders that are triggered at different times.  Most systems require that you create three inventory items and tie the reminders to those items.  That may work for reminders, but it makes a mess out of managing inventory.  Rather than recording the receipt and use of the vaccine in one place, you now have to manage it across three items!  Uses make it possible to manage  everything under one "rabies" inventory item.  All purchases of that item are recorded in one place, and each time the item is used (regardless of how it is used), that amount is deducted from one place.  Easy!

But what about reminders?

Good question.  Reminders are tied to the use itself, and allow for each reminder to remind for the next item in the series.  For example, the 14-week use can send a reminder for the one-year use, and the one-year use can send a reminder for the three-year use.  We'll talk about reminders in a future post, but suffice it to say that managing reminders is much easier thanks to uses.

So how do I set up uses?

I thought you'd never ask.  Uses are managed in an inventory item's profile.  

Uses are created in the inventory item's profile.

Once created, you'll be able to assign reminder actions to them (again, we'll talk about reminders in a future post).  Medical records will then be created using the uses rather than the parent item, which ensures that the right reminders get created and the patient's history reflects what was actually done for that patient.

In conclusion...

Uses are a terrific way to simplify inventory management.  They also eliminate a huge headache associated with managing reminders for complex scenarios such as series vaccines.

Cover photo by Anton on Unsplash.