How to Set Up and Use the Inventory Ability

The Inventory Ability provides a system for tracking supplies and merchandise stock quantities, as well as incoming sales and consumption. It is used to manage items, stock, audits, and reorders, and may also be used to track stock on incidentally used items, such as items consumed by performing a procedure.

This article provides an overview for the set up and usage of the Inventory Ability.

If you prefer visual learning, please refer to our Inventory videos.


Setting up the Inventory Ability
The set up for Inventory can be time consuming, but with the proper set up, tracking your Inventory is a smooth process. 

Configuring Preferences
There are not many preferences that require adjusting in the Inventory Ability. You'll likely want to come back and configure these later. They can be found in the MacPractice Menu > Preferences > Inventory.


Once you've set up your items, you can come here and set your default retail item Procedure Types and Procedure Categories to fit your practice's needs. These impact what retail items will default to when adding charges to a patient's ledger.

The Inventory Ability can work in conjunction with a barcode scanner. In UPC/EAN fields, you can use that barcode scanner to scan an item, and MacPractice will automatically look up that code on Amazon and pull in information. The "When item data differs from inventory data" preference controls whether information updates from Amazon's servers. You can also set this to ask you every time. You'll need to take your practice's needs into account when setting these options.

Finally, there's a preference to scale down images larger then a certain size.


Creating Items in the Items Node
Next, we'll move to the Inventory Ability and navigate to the Items node under the References category. From here, we can add your Inventory items to the database.


To add an item, click the Green Plus in the sidebar to add a new record.
The Category and Brand fields are required fields that must be filled out. You can type into these fields to add the appropriate References into the Categories and Brands reference nodes, or you can select the Categories and Brands Reference nodes in the sidebar and click the Green Plus to add records to them. Any added records can then select with the drop down menus shown in the above screenshot.

This is a list of all the fields in the Item node.

  • Item Name: The required field that sets the name by which the item is listed
  • In Stock: Reflects the current quantity of the item within the database
  • Adjust Quantity: Opens the Adjustment Sheet, through which item quantities are adjusted
  • Reorder Level: Sets the level of quantity at which MacPractice will prompt a reorder of the item
  • Do Not Reorder Checkbox: If checked, you will not be prompted to re-order this Item regardless of the quantity level remaining.
  • Category: The Category the Item belongs to. This selector will allow you to select any previously added Category from the Category node, or you can add a new one on the fly by simply entering the name of the Category in question. Items in a Category will allow this Item's data to be pulled when an Inventory Report is ran, or the Item is referenced in Retail Items.
  • Brand: The Brand the Item belongs to. Like the Category field, the selector will allow you to select any previously added Brand from the Brands node, or you can add a new one on the fly by simply entering the name of the Brand in question. 
  • Model: The Model acts as the Alias within the Fee Schedule when searching for a particular charge.
  • UPC/EAN: The UPC/EAN number associated to the item.
  • Description: A brief description of the item in question.
  • Notes: A text field that contains any relevant notes that you wish to include about the Item.

There are also a few tables present with an Item selected.

  • Purchase Orders: Displays each of the purchase orders associated to the item in Inventory Management, along with the Status Order Reference Number, Date Ordered, Quantity Ordered, Date Expected, Date Received, (Quantity) Received, Cost/Unit, and Total Cost (of the Order)
  • Vendors: Displays any vendor that has been added for the item. Vendors can be manually associated to the item through the Plus button along with a cost and date of the price (Cost Date).
  • Item Log: Displays activity associated to the item that changed the quantity. Item Log Actions include Order Received, Charge (Received), Alert, Audit, Charge (Sold), Returned, and Initial Quantity.

Setting and Adjusting the Quantity of Items
You can set the initial quantity of an item by selecting the item once it's been created and saved, and then clicking the "Adjust Quantity..." button. You can also use this function to adjust the quantity for other reasons, with comments to explain further.

In Gen 9 and up, you can create your own Adjustment Reasons in the Adjustment Reasons node.


Adding Items to a Fee Schedule
Once you have your items set up that comprise your inventory and set your starting quantities, you'll now want to connect the inventory to your fee schedules. This will allow you to add inventory charges to your patient's ledgers, and automatically deduct items from your inventory.

There are two methods you can use to bring your items to the fee schedule. You can:

  • Add a item directly to your fee schedules as a new "procedure" via the Retail Items node in the Inventory Ability
  • Tie Items to existing procedures via the Fee Schedules node in the References Ability.

Let's discuss each option in turn, starting with the Retail Items Node.

Adding Items via the Retail Items Node


The Retail Items node allows you to easily drag your items into a selected Fee Schedule. The top half of the Retail Items window displays all items in the selected Category, while the bottom half displays all items in the currently selected Fee Schedule. The bottom half will also display procedures that have items tied to them.

To add an Item to a Fee Schedule, select the Items in the upper half of the Retail Items window, then select the Fee Schedule you want the Item in. From there, click the "Add Selected Items to Fee Schedule" button at the bottom. This will add the item to the Fee Schedule and assign that item a Procedure code with INV as the leading characters, with the Model field used as an Alias, and the name of the item as the Short Description.


For example, when we add a Widgets inventory item is added to our Initial Fee Schedule, this is the automatically generated code that it populated in the Code field:


We strongly recommend creating a separate Fee Schedule for all of your Items that don't need to be tied to procedure codes. This will help you find your Items easily in a large Fee Schedule. 

Linking Items to Existing Procedures
The other option is to link Items to an existing procedure by using the Consumed Items tab in the Fee Schedule. To do this, navigate to the References Ability and select the Fee Schedules node in the left sidebar.

Once there, select a code you'd like from any Fee Schedule. With the code open, you can then click the "Consumed Items" tab. You can use the Green Plus and Red Minus buttons to add and remove Consumed Items.


When you add a Consumed Item to an existing Procedure, there'll be an option available to adjust both the fee calculation and the association of the item.

The Fee Calculation can be adjusted to scale up based on the quantity of units associated with the procedure if you have an appropriate Item Cost set. Alternatively, you can choose "Fixed to Fee" to just use the set Fee for that Procedure code.

The Association allows you to determine whether an Item is Consumed when charged, or whether it is an item that can be Sold. Sold items can be returned via the Ledger > Other Menu > Return Item option, while Consumed items cannot be returned.

Adding Items to an Individual Charge
Sometimes you'll just need to tack on an item on top of an existing charge one time. You can easily do this from the Charge Window in the Ledger. Simply open an existing charge, or create a new one. From there, you can use the Items tab to add Items.


The Inventory Node


The Inventory Node is split into two halves. The top half functions as an Inventory Report, displaying Inventory data depending on what filters have been set. You'll need to click the "Apply" button after making changes to any filters for them to take effect.

You can configure the color coding to easily identify which items need to be re-ordered or are getting close to reaching your re-order level. Click on the color bars by the desired option in the upper right to make adjustments.

You can also determine how the Consumed column counts by using the drop down in the upper right. It defaults to "Count Consumed Since Last Audit", but you can set it to count since the last Purchase Order, or how many have been consumed in the last week/month/quarter/year.

You can adjust quantities of items from this view by clicking the "Adjust Qty." button by an item. 

Creating Inventory Purchase Orders
The bottom half of the Inventory Node is dedicated to Purchase Orders (POs). Purchase Orders allow you to track if you have an Purchase Order for more product, and the details of that order. An important note: This functionality is manually driven, meaning you will be responsible for adjusting the Statuses of Purchase Orders and updating information to keep an organized tally of your Purchase Orders.


The left side lists all filtered Product Orders by Status. You can control which Product Orders appear by clicking on the Pending/Ordered/Fulfilled buttons to toggle their visibility. The number in parentheses ()s indicates how many Product Orders are in that category. 

You can easily create a new Product Order by selecting an item or items in the table displayed in the screenshot above, then clicking the "Create POs from Selection". If no item is selected, the "Create Purchase Orders for All" button will be present instead.

Note: You can only purchase an Item if there is at least one vendor added to the Vendors Table in the Item details.

Clicking the Create Purchase Order button will open up a price sheet listing each vendor in the columns, and prices for each Item that the vendor has available, as shown in the screenshot below:


In this sheet, you'll select which Vendor you wish to order each item from. The Preferred Vendor (The Starred option) will be the Vendor listed first in the Item detail's Vendor Table. Click the cells containing the price to select that particular Vendor. When done, click the "Create Purchase Order" to add it to the Purchase Order Table in the Inventory Node.


From here, you can input data, such as the Ordered Amount, the Expected Date, the Cost Per Unit, etc. You can use the Status drop down to change the Status of the Purchase Order from Pending to Ordered or Fulfilled.

You can also use the Green Plus and Minus to add or remove items to a Purchase Order.

Scanning Barcodes

Where UPC/EAN (Universal Product Code/European Article Number) codes can be entered, such as the Items Reference Node or the Ledger, items can be scanned with a Mac compatible scanning device.

To add an item to the Item node, use the following steps:

  1. Select the Items node in the sidebar on the left, and click the green plus. 
  2. On the right, enter the Item Name, and either select an existing Category & Brand, or enter a new Category & Brand.
  3. Based on the item's packaging, enter the UPC/EAN in the corresponding field. You should be able to utilize your connected barcode scanner for this purpose.
  4. Press Command + S to save when you are finished, and repeat the steps to add another item.

To add an item as a charge within a patient Ledger, use the following steps:

  1. Above the Ledger select the Charges menu > New Charge.
  2. Place the cursor in the Code field and scan the item. Any fee where Inventory data matches the item's scanned UPC/EAN will be found.
  3. If multiple items are found, select the correct fee from the resulting window.
  4. Additional items may be added to the Charges table with the green plus button in the New Charge Window.

Inventory Reports


Within the Inventory Reports node are several reports that can be used to generate data based on the information you've entered into the Inventory ability. Below is a summary of each report, and a link to additional information about that report.

  • Archived and Do Not ReorderThe Archived and Do Not Reorder report displays all items that have been archived or marked as Do Not Reorder.
  • Current Stock Value: The Current Stock Value report displays the current amounts of all items in your Inventory.
  • Inventory AdjustmentsThe Inventory Adjustments report details out all changes and adjustments made to your Inventory Items.
  • Inventory Alert Responses: The Inventory Alert Responses report records each Inventory Alert regarding stock levels and re-order levels, and the user's response to these reports. 
  • Inventory DiscrepanciesThe Discrepancies Report displays differences between the expected stock and any audit counts that have been conducted. Please refer to the Audits section for additional information on Audits.

The Audits node both contains the functionality to run audits of your expected inventory levels, and the records of prior audits that have been conducted. To add a new audit, simply select the Audits node then click the Green Plus in the sidebar.

Screen_Shot_2018-03-20_at_9.43.45_AM.pngAudits can be in two possible states, a "Started" audit or a "Complete" audit.

Audits in a "Started" state are indicated by the "Started on 06-22-2017" line at the top of the above screenshot. Started Audits allow you to enter current stock values and make comments on particular items.

You can also use the "Complete" button in the second pane on the left next to the Print button to mark an Audit as Complete, which will lock down the entry fields so they can no longer be adjusted.

The audit sheet itself is organized into categories, which you can quickly navigate by using the audit pane on the left side, next to the sidebar.

The intended workflow of the audit node is to create an audit when you intend to check your inventory, and use the print button to print off an audit sheet. That sheet can be used to check and mark your actual inventory values. Once that process is complete, you can then return to MacPractice and mark down the actual values in the "In Stock" field. You can also use the Comments field to explain any discrepancies found. Once finished, you'd then click the Complete button to lock down the audit.

For more information, please visit our Inventory - Audits article.



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