Inventory Management - Tracking Software


Inventory Management Software


Excerpted from Pass It On Center Webinar

May 20, 2008


The optimum means of tracking inventory is with a computer database. Some of the following information was presented by Carla Walker, Kim Walker and Mike Freehill from Paraquad,Inc., an independent living center in St. Louis, Missouri.


Inventory Tracking with Microsoft Access

Paraquad initially used Microsoft Office Access, a database management system that is included in Microsoft Office Professional Suite, or can be purchased separately. This product provides a relatively easy-to-use means of building a customized desktop database application. Paraquad originally used Access to build an inventory management system.

Access permits the user to create databases to manage information objects using tables, forms and queries. The user designs tables to collect and store information about objects. Each object has a separate table. For example, if one object is a DONOR, some of the information fields (or attributes) might be Name, Street Address, City, State, Zip Code, Telephone, E-mail address and the ID number of the donated item. DEVICE could be another object, with fields for system-assigned ID number, Category, Name, Manufacturer, Model, Serial Number, and Year of Manufacture. The user may add as many tables as needed.

Data entry can be simplified by creating forms for users to complete to populate the data into the tables. The forms also permit on-screen editing of information.

Queries are used to extract information from the database. Information can be selected or combined from the forms. This permits reporting of information from the database. Paraquad used this feature to generate information for a required quarterly board report.

The Paraquad database utilized three tables and three forms: Intake (incoming equipment), Donation (information about donors), and Recipient (new user of the donated device). For example, this permitted queries to answer:

How many manual wheelchairs are available?

How many were distributed last month?

How many were disposed (recycled)?

Paraquad will share the Access database that it developed for inventory management.

Adding Repairs, Billing and Reimbursement Capability

This Access database was adequate for the program’s needs until a repair services program was added. The repair services program charges fees and bill customers and third-party payors including Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies. Under the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), billing transactions submitted to Medicare must be electronic. Tracking repairs, billing third-party payors, and tracking reimbursement required capabilities beyond the Access database. Paraquad chose to identify off-the-shelf software to serve those needs.

Mike Freehill, Paraservices Coordinator at Paraquad, examined several inventory maintenance databases. Paraquad chose Brightree, a web-based application, and will phase in the use of this software.

The Brightree suite includes core billing, remittance management, inventory, and retail sales modules, as well as functionality for bar coding, document imaging, and more. Brightree is web based and there is no hardware (if existing computers are used) or software to install. Brightree is accessible 24/7 from anywhere using a standard web browser and users have secure access to information. 

At Paraquad, both AT Reutilization and AT Repair programs use this database for holding and maintaining device/parts inventory, client information and billing.

Weekly demonstrations of this product are available online at The cost of this program may be justified only if billing services are essential. While Access is a one-time licensing fee (purchase), Brightree charges annual licensing support fees of about $8,000 for three users. The initial set-up costs for Paraquad were about $4,000.

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This work is supported under a five-year cooperative agreement # H235V060016 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and is administered by the Pass It On Center of the Georgia Department of Labor – Tools for Life.  However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the Department of Education, or the Georgia Department of Labor, and you should not assume endorsements of this document by the Federal government or the Georgia Department of Labor.







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Other Information

Title: Inventory Management - Tracking Software
Module: Program Operations
Author: Carla Walker, Kim Walker and Mike Freehill
Audience: Administrator
Sub Title: Case Study: Paraquad
Organization Source: Paraquad, St. Louis, MO, and the Pass It On Center
Last Reviewed: 10-25-2009 5:20 PM