Use This Medical Office Supplies List For Your Next Restock

Supplies support operations and client care at medical offices. Make sure you’re fully stocked using our medical office supplies list and procurement tips.
Written by:  Bridey Joyce
Published:  May 20, 2024
medical assistant ordering office supplies

Medical offices are busy places. The demand for service-based medical businesses like med spas, dermatologists, dentists, and urgent care facilities is growing. This means businesses are working harder than ever to provide safe, satisfactory experiences for clients and patients.

At many clinics, stocking the supply closet is a full-time job. With supply chain issues, quality concerns, safety regulations, and cost-effectiveness always at the forefront, finance and procurement teams must work smarter instead of harder to keep supply levels strong and consistent.

Software can make buying medical office supplies easier, even for businesses with several locations. Read on to learn ways to keep your top supplies in stock, mitigate issues with backorders, stick with your preferred vendors for critical items, and save money — all at the same time.

Download the free ebook: 5 Ways Your Purchasing Process is Leaking Cash (And How to Fix It)

What is medical office supplies procurement?

Medical supplies procurement refers to the systematic process of sourcing and acquiring medical supplies and specialized equipment needed by healthcare facilities to provide patient care. 

Many activities help procurement teams get the best pricing and terms on their medical office supplies, including:

  • Identifying needs and inventory levels
  • Specifying vendor requirements
  • Negotiating pricing and terms
  • Managing contracts

Procurement is a critical function for medical businesses. It ensures healthcare workers have consistent access to high-quality, cost-effective medical products ranging from basic consumables like gloves and syringes to sophisticated diagnostic machines and life-support systems.

Effective procurement supports efficient healthcare while optimizing resource use. Good process contributes greatly to this overall performance and helps teams manage indirect procurement costs. While the traditional route for healthcare sourcing has been group purchasing organizations (GPOs), the model doesn’t always work well for smaller organizations. There are a few things a GPO won’t tell you about procuring through their contracts. 

5 Ways Your Purchasing Process Is Leaking Cash, (and How to Fix It)
Ebook

5 Ways Your Purchasing Process Is Leaking Cash, (and How to Fix It)

Identify top areas where your current purchasing process might be falling short—and costing you BIG.

Download the ebook

Medical equipment vs. medical office supplies

Medical businesses rely on access to the best tools and high-quality products to perform their roles well. Although these two categories work hand-in-hand, their procurement and budget management vary, as they serve different functions.

Medical equipment includes big-ticket items that are used often but purchased infrequently. 

  • Medical equipment refers to durable items meant for extended use, such as MRI machines, patient monitors, and surgical instruments. This equipment is critical for diagnostic, monitoring, and therapeutic purposes. 
  • This type of equipment often represents a significant investment for a medical office or healthcare facility. The procurement process for medical equipment involves meticulous acquisition plans. These plans include assessments of technological specs, long-term service agreements, and training for healthcare professionals who will operate them. 

On the other hand, medical supplies encompass items that the medical office consumes or uses for short-term processes. 

  • Medical supplies include the products and consumable items that people use every day, such as gloves, bandages, syringes, and disposable surgical instruments. 
  • Where equipment purchases are infrequent and carefully planned, consumables and supplies are used in large quantities. They need regular replenishment to ensure availability.

The differences in procuring these categories for a medical office stem from their usage patterns and cost implications.

  • Both require careful supplier selection to ensure that products meet regulatory standards for safety and efficacy.
  • Procuring medical equipment requires substantial upfront investment and consideration of long-term maintenance costs.
  • Purchasing medical supplies involves managing ongoing expenditures and ensuring consistent stock. For high-volume supplies, teams must manage costs effectively through bulk purchasing agreements, volume discounts, and strategic sourcing.

What are the challenges in medical supplies procurement?

Ordering consumables for the medical office can be complex. Businesses must balance getting the right supplies (for instance, gloves that don’t rip at the thumb every time) and maintaining the supplies budget. 

Managing the process and maintaining visibility can also be tricky, especially for larger organizations with multiple locations or large sites with many different departments.

Often, medical businesses run into some common issues when procuring supplies for their locations, such as: 

Supply chain disruptions: Unexpected events like natural disasters, pandemics, or global situations can disrupt the supply chain, causing delays in the delivery of medical supplies and leading to shortages.

Regulatory compliance: Purchasing teams must navigate regulatory requirements to ensure all procured medical supplies meet local and international standards for safety and efficacy.

Quality assurance: Teams must ensure they purchase high-quality supplies that do not pose any risk to patients. This requires rigorous supplier vetting and thorough quality monitoring.

Cost management: Finance and purchasing teams face the perennial challenge of balancing the need for high-quality supplies with budget constraints. Fluctuating prices and the demand for emergency equipment purchases increase these concerns.

Vendor performance: Finding and maintaining relationships with reliable suppliers who consistently deliver high-quality products on time is vital. Strong vendor management policies enable this function.

Inventory management: Efficiently managing inventory levels helps avoid stockouts or excessive overstock. Both these scenarios can tie up capital, so adequate forecasting and planning tools are essential to procurement success.

Procurement management: Teams must have the tools to efficiently manage procurement activities like coordinating order intake, processing, and approval while ensuring timely fulfillment. Insufficient vendor reliability and product quality can make this process harder.

5 Ways Your Purchasing Process Is Leaking Cash, (and How to Fix It)
Ebook

5 Ways Your Purchasing Process Is Leaking Cash, (and How to Fix It)

Identify top areas where your current purchasing process might be falling short—and costing you BIG.

Download the ebook

Stock your office with a complete medical office supplies list

To run a medical practice efficiently, you must have easy access to necessary supplies for the front office and patient areas. These supplies are essential for keeping the clinic or location safe, sanitary, and welcoming for guests. These supplies enable teams to serve clients with quality services and products. 

Depending on the type of medical business you run, you’ll likely need most or all of the supplies mentioned in these supply categories: 

Front office

  • Pens and pencils 
  • Notepads
  • Appointment books or software
  • Clipboards
  • File folders
  • Printer paper and ink cartridges
  • Scissors
  • Stapler and staples
  • Tape dispensers and tape rolls

Consultation and exam room supplies

  • Disposable gloves (latex, vinyl, or nitrile)
  • Face masks
  • Cotton balls 
  • Patient gowns  
  • Forehead thermometers 
  • Stethoscope 
  • Blood pressure cuffs
  • Tongue depressors
  • Syringes and needles
  • Exam table paper rolls

Laboratory

  • Urine collection cups
  • Specimen containers
  • Microscope slides and cover slips
  • Lab coats and aprons
  • Goggles or safety glasses
  • Pipettes and pipette tips
  • Test tubes, beakers, and flasks
  • Centrifuge tubes
  • Petri dishes
  • Biohazard bags
  • Chemicals and reagents for lab tests

Cleaning and sanitation 

  • Disinfectant cleaner 
  • Paper towels or cloth towels for cleaning surfaces 
  • Trash bags 
  • Antibacterial hand soap 
  • Disposable mop heads or cleaning cloths 
  • Sanitizing spray for equipment and surfaces 

Linens and towels

  • Medical gowns for patients
  • Exam table paper rolls or sheets  
  • Patient drapes  
  • Towels (hand towels, washcloths)  
  • Linens for patient bedding (sheets, pillowcases)  

General use

  • First aid kits
  • Facial tissues
  • Paper towels 
  • Band-aids  
  • Fire extinguisher  
  • Hand sanitizer stations throughout the office  

Specialty-specific medical office supplies to consider

Specialty medical businesses often require specialized supplies. If you’re buying for a dentist's office, medical spa, dermatologist, or medical dispensary, certain specialty stock will be essential for your daily operations. 

Office supplies for dentists

Dentist offices require specialized procurement of consumables to clean instruments, sterilize surfaces, and provide single-use supplies for patient comfort. The supplies for these businesses are tailored to the needs of those providing dental procedures and hygiene practices, such as:

  • Disposable gloves and masks
  • Sterilization equipment and consumables
  • Dental anesthetics and syringes
  • Dental impression materials and accessories
  • Composite resins and bonding agents
  • Dental burs and drill bits for various procedures
  • X-ray equipment and protective gear
  • Saliva ejectors and suction tips
  • Ultrasonic cleaners and solutions
  • Endodontic supplies (files, sealers)
  • Orthodontic supplies (brackets, wires, bands)
  • Prosthodontic supplies (denture materials, cements)
  • Fluoride treatments and applicators
  • Patient bibs
  • Chair covers
  • Surface disinfectants

Dermatologist office supplies

Dermatology offices spend a lot of time creating a hygienic environment and safe practices for serving clients. This requires many specialty products and consumables designed to make procedures safer and more comfortable, including:

  • Medical-grade skin cleansers and antiseptics
  • Biopsy kits and disposable blades
  • Light therapy devices for acne and psoriasis treatment
  • Skin moisturizers and cleansers
  • Acne extraction tools
  • Sterile gauze
  • Bandages
  • Wound dressings
  • Topical anesthetics and corticosteroids
  • Skin patch test kits for allergies
  • Prescription dispensing supplies
  • Tools specifically designed for dermatological use
  • Magnifying lamps for detailed skin examinations
  • Medical waste disposal supplies

Medical spas

Medical spas combine traditional spa treatments with medical practice. They require specialized products to administer treatments, maintain equipment, and run front-of-the-house and retail operations. They often have specialty consumables needs, many of which must be sourced through specific and reputable vendors, such as: 

  • Chemical peel solutions and neutralizers
  • Essential oils
  • Injectable fillers (e.g., Botox, Juvederm)
  • Collagen stimulation tools
  • Skin rejuvenation and tightening agents
  • Medical-grade skincare products for resale
  • LED light therapy devices
  • Sterilization equipment for tools and devices
  • Ultrasound or radiofrequency devices for skin treatments
  • Permanent makeup machines and pigments

Medical cannabis dispensaries 

Many states offer patients with qualifying conditions access to therapeutic cannabis through medical dispensaries, also called alternative treatment centers (ATCs) in some states. These dispensaries differ from recreational businesses due to state statutes or regulations. They are run as a medical practice and follow strict consumption and distribution guidelines. However, they may have specialty office supply needs, including: 

  • Child-proof packaging and containers
  • Vaporizers, grinders, and other consumption tools
  • Educational materials on strains and effects
  • Labeling machines and labels
  • Jars and humidity packs for storage
  • Trimming scissors and processing equipment for preparation
  • Testing kits for THC/CBD levels and contaminants
  • Odor control systems to maintain a neutral environment
  • Consumption tool cleaning products and accessories
  • Branded packaging and sales supplies
  • Cleaning supplies for processing equipment

Make medical practice equipment procurement easier with Order.co

No matter what type of medical business you run, supply quality and availability can make or break success. A procurement platform like Order.co unifies the procurement and approval process into one effective platform. It makes it easy for individual team members to order and reorder the products they know and love.

Order.co also helps buyers find replacements with their preferred vendor when items are out of stock. It aids finance teams in maintaining budgetary control and visibility to save money without compromising staff and patient experience. 

If you’d like to explore more ways to centralize and streamline the procurement of all your medical office supplies, check out our ebook, The Procurement Strategy Playbook for Modern Businesses. It’s full of strategies and tips to help your medical business improve its buying and procurement performance.

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