Innovating to free up nurse capacity 

Materials management solution for hospitals


Catharina Hospital is a teaching hospital in Eindhoven, Netherlands. It is home to one of the largest cardiovascular centres in the Netherlands Nieuwegein.

The hospital is a Centre of Excellence for cardiovascular and oncology. It specialises in heart rhythm disorders, angiography, heart valve surgery and aneurysms. It also serves as an education centre for doctors and nurses. The Catharina Hospital heart centre’s partner for materials management is Medtronic. The below article highlights the hospital’s perspective on the impact of working with Medtronic.


Catharina Hospital’s healthcare professionals are driven to give patients the best care every day. Innovation plays an important role in our success. We are always looking for new ways to make care even better and safer.
One of many examples of this is how we have revamped our materials management. This is essentially the efficient management of all supplies that go into a hospital’s operations. Materials management involves the procurement, distribution, purchasing and inventory control of supplies. When materials management is managed optimally, hospitals can provide high-quality care at a reduced cost.


Healthcare professionals looking at a tablet


Back in 2015, we decided to take action to improve in this area. To support Catharina’s growth ambitions, we needed to do more with the same resources. 
There was too much waste of medical devices that had expired and consequently couldn’t be used. Materials management inefficiencies periodically interrupted the delivery of care. 




"Nurses were spending too much time handling materials management on top of all their other responsibilities related to patient care."





"Without our operating materials, everything comes to a standstill,” said Ruud Boogers, Nurse Cathlab Heart Centre, Catharina Hospital. “If we don't have a good stock, we can't move forward.”
“Processes and the overall supply chain around materials need to be organised as efficiently as possible so that there is always sufficient stock and hospital personnel can work with the materials they need at the right moment,” added Mieke Martens, Manager of the Heart Centre at Catharina Hospital. “We want to do this in the most efficient, resourceful and cost-effective way as it connects directly to high-quality patient care.”
Hospitals sometimes bring on consultancies to provide overall guidance on different aspects of their operations. We thought it was important to bring on a partner that was not only offering guidance but also providing operational talent to manage non-clinical activities.
As a result of identifying such a collaboration, two dedicated support staff from the partnering organisation have joined the hospital. These individuals are directly managing all aspects of materials management. This has freed up two full-time, highly specialised nurses within the Heart and Vascular Centre so they can focus on delivering care. For example, instead of managing the intricacies of which medical devices should be used or discarded, these nurses can instead be more present in attending to patients’ needs.
Four nurses gathered around a front desk talking.


A completely new system for materials management has been implemented. It handles everything from ordering, invoicing and usage. Data is driving decision-making for the creation of new orders. All materials are scanned, and the back-office system enables Medtronic staff in the hospital to easily identify available materials and the corresponding expiration dates. The materials closer to the expiration date are used, directly impacting the amount of waste.  All processes around this system are verified, checked and executed. The clinical team is more confident in the availability of devices and materials they need, thus reducing the need to postpone interventions. 



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