Inventory management practices and performance of public hospitals in Kenya
Public hospitals have a procurement department that is responsible for the provision of goods services to the hospitals with the aim of providing quality health care services in order to achieve customer satisfaction. The study sought to determine the inventory management practices used by Public hospitals in Kenya, establish the relationship between inventory management practices and performance of public hospitals in Kenya and to determine the challenges of implementing inventory management practices in public hospitals in Kenya. The study used a descriptive survey establishing the relationship between the variables. The study population comprised of the main public hospitals in Nairobi County and former Central Province Counties. The study considered 40 hospitals where inventory management was mostly carried out. The study used both primary data that was collected through a semi-structured questionnaire to collect information for quantitative and qualitative analysis. Out of the 40 questionnaires that were distributed 35 questionnaires were filled and returned successfully. This represents a response rate of 88 percent which was considered sufficient for making generalization of all the public hospitals in Kenya. Data was analyzed using descriptive statics and regression analysis. The study found that the most popular inventory management practices used by public hospitals in Nairobi and former central province counties are follows: ERP systems, ABC systems, e-procurement, simulation and EOQ. These practices were mainly used in level 5, level 6 and stand-alone which offers specialized services and operates under defined semi-autonomy which allows them to manage their own inventory. The study further concludes that the main challenges that hindered implementation of inventory management practices in public hospitals were: failure to invest in modern technologies, insufficient, insufficient funding, poor infrastructure, lack of top management commitment training and unreliable suppliers. The regression results concluded that inventory management practices were positively related to performance of public hospitals in Nairobi and former Central province. The major limitation of this study is that it was limited to district hospitals in Nairobi and former Central province Counties due to costs and time constraints. It would have been important for future researchers to consider investigating inventory management practices in public hospitals outside Nairobi County and former Central Province Counties to find out whether these findings will hold. The study recommends that government allocates more funds to public hospitals to be invested in modern information technologies because this will lead to increased information sharing, reduction of costs and improved quality of health services.