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Introduction

Thank you for choosing mSupply.

Before you launch in (if you haven't already!), we suggest you plan to take the following steps.

  • Read the rest of this introduction.
  • Read the setup, tutorial and license chapters in this manual.

Please note that installation requires basic computer skills:

  • You need to be able to locate a file using the “open” and “save” windows.
  • If you are not sure, why not try, and email us if you get stuck.

mSupply is designed to handle the following tasks:

  • Recording quotations received from various suppliers in a way that makes for easy comparison of true cost prices.
  • Create tenders for suppliers to respond to.
  • Ordering (Purchasing) of items from a particular supplier, using actual usage figures to calculate the required quantities.
  • Entering of incoming goods into inventory.
  • Manufacturing items. That is, building new items from raw materials in your stock.
  • Tracking Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
  • Issuing of invoices for customers, and recording the transaction against inventory.
  • Customers are able to order on-line via the internet, and can view stock status and the status of their orders.
  • Exporting purchase and invoice data for import into an accounting program.
  • Reporting on transactions and other data in almost any manner you want!
  • If you need help with installing mSupply please feel free to email us at info@msupply.org.nz

The latest and most authoritative version of this User Guide is located on-line at http://docs.msupply.org.nz/. You can export the chapter you're viewing in PDF format by clicking the export:pdf tab to the right. It may then be viewed off-line within Acrobat Reader or other PDF viewer. To obtain the whole user guide in PDF format, visit mSupply site

If you are reading a PDF version, it is likely that a more up-to-date version is available on-line.

The software is under constant development as new features and facilities are added. We strive to ensure that the user guide and the graphics that it contains reflect these developments, but occasionally you may find that there are differences between the program itself and the guide or its graphics, where the updating of the guide has not quite kept pace with the development of the software. These are usually of a minor nature, but should you have any difficulties, do please send us an e-mail with details of your problem.
It should also be noted that with the considerable range of preferences and user permissions, a particular user's window may have features included or omitted (according to their preferences and their permissions) when compared with the screenshots appearing in the guide.

As mSupply is compatible with both Windows OS and Apple Mac OS, there is a mix of screenshots in the manual taken from each operating system.

Sustainable Solutions was established in 2001 with the primary aim of supplying and supporting mSupply software in developing countries. We are committed to producing software that enables excellence in health care delivery. We take pride in looking after people who choose to use our services.

We are based in Kathmandu, Nepal

We can be contacted at:

Please feel free to request more information.

Juliet has always been encouraging and more, and has put up with me thinking about mSupply when I shouldn't have been.

This software grew out of necessity at the Medical Supply Department, Kathmandu, Nepal. We learnt a lot from Jaap Zijp's software “Bhandari”, and from the staff at MSD where mSupply was originally developed and tested.

Ujwal Khatry has stuck with Sustainable Solutions for ten years, including the startup period where our company name could well have been a misnomer.

Jim Staples of 4D inc. http://www.4D.com kindly arranged an initial donation of the superb development environment we use.

Thanks to those people in the 4D tech mailing list who have helped for no benefit to themselves.

John Ross, Pharmacist of Patan Hospital, Kathmandu, believed in the quality of mSupply enough to use it long before it was fully ready.

David Adams kindly donated his superb texts on 4D.

The moderators of the E-Drug mailing list have been gracious in letting us use that list for occasional announcements.

mSupply software is copyright Sustainable Solutions, 2006, UMN/INF/Interserve 1996 to 1999. You may only use the software in accordance with the accompanying licence agreement.

Commercial users or any user wanting multi-user functionality enabled must obtain a licence from Sustainable Solutions.

Please view our web site http://www.msupply.org.nz for up-to-date pricing.

A free version of mSupply is available for Non-commercial use

  • You may use mSupply software in single user mode for free as long as it is used:
    • in an approved not-for-profit organisation
    • in a developing country.
  • Sustainable Solutions shall be the sole arbiter of those qualifying for free use.
  • All users (free and paid) must register with Sustainable Solutions to obtain a registration code. Information supplied will not be used for any purpose other than generation of registration code.
  • Users who have obtained a free licence number are not eligible for free support.

Please contact us for quotes regarding customised versions and installation and training packages.

The mSupply version history is available here

If you aren't familiar with using a computer, you should read this chapter, and also work through the tutorial.

Menus: Choose New item… from the Item menu (sometime also written as Choose Items > New item… means … Click on the word Item in the menu bar, then choose New item… from the menu that drops down.

Keyboard keys: A handful of keys on the keyboard are used extensively and are indicated in italics font. The most common are: Tab, Shift, Ctrl, Alt, Enter and Backspace.

Field: An area where you can make an entry, either text or numbers - usually a white coloured box. In many places a user can hover over an input field for a description of what is required.

Typed data: Anything that must be typed into a field is shown in monospace font. For example: Type 100 and press Enter.

Check box: is a box that changes from having an “X” in it to being blank each time you click in it. To “check” a check box means to click it so that an “X” appears (if there is not one already present). Check boxes have text beside them explaining what the box is for.

Tab & Shift: You can generally move the “focus” (the active area) from field to field in a window by using the Tab key. Holding down the Shift key while pressing the Tab key will move the focus from field to field in the reverse order to normal. Note that on Windows, some buttons are “tabable”- that is, pressing the Tab key moves the “focus” to a button. Pressing the Return or Enter key then activates that button.

Highlight button: Pressing the Enter key will operate the highlighted button in a window, which is usually the OK button.

Double-click: In lists (e.g. of Names or of Items), double click the left mouse button on a line to edit or view more details.

Insertion point: is the blinking line in a field that indicates which field is currently accepting typed input.

OK button: The OK button can be operated by pressing the Enter key.

Cancel button: The cancel button can be operated by holding down Ctrl key (cmd on Macs), and pressing the period key (full stop).

Path to a file (or document): is a way of describing where a document is stored on your hard disk. It is written as “hard disk:folder 1: folder 2:document”, which is the same as “C:\folder 1\folder 2\document”.

Modifier keys: Windows and Macs have different modifier keys. We've tried to list both in the manual, but sometimes one might slip through, so

  • The Windows Ctrl key does the same as the cmd (command) key on Macs
  • The Windows Alt key does the same as the opt (option) key on Macs.

Column headings: Column headings can be clicked to sort the list by that column.

Stock: Also called “inventory”- an entry in mSupply that represents physical stock (inventory) in your store.

Item: An “ item ” in mSupply is a particular product. An item may or may not have stock lines at any given time. For example: In the example data file provided with mSupply, “Amoxycillin 250mg tab/cap” is an item. When you first start to use the example data file it has 2 stock lines. (You can view them under the “stock” tab of the Item details window (more on that later!).

Item lines (or “stock lines”) represent different batches of the same item in your store.

Negative values: In general, there is no need to enter negative values in mSupply. Even when you are entering returned goods from customers, or returned goods to suppliers, you must enter positive values. mSupply automatically converts the invoice total to a negative amount when it is a credit to a supplier or from a customer.

Supplier invoice: A supplier invoice is the same as a “bill” or a “purchase”

Build: A transaction that records the manufacturing of an item by turning raw materials into a finished product - refer Building (Manufacturing) Items.

Windows

Hardware requirements vary widely depending on what you want to use mSupply for

Here's a rough guide.

Absolute minimum Windows 7,XP, Vista or Windows 2000 computer with a 500 Mhz Pentium processor or equivalent.
Suggested single user or Client machine for use with server. Win 2000 or later, 800 Mhz or faster Pentium processor or equivalent, 256Mb RAM
Suggested server Win 2003 or XP or Win 7 or later, 1.8Ghz Core 2 duo or equivalent, minimum of 1Gb RAM. 4Hard disks. 3 configured as RAID5, Attached to Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) unit with software to shut down server if battery power is about to run out.
Macintosh
  • Mac OS X 10.5 or later.
  • 50Mb hard disk space.

Once you start using mSupply, it is of crucial importance that you have a method of backing up your data. mSupply stores all its data in a file that rapidly becomes large. You need, therefore, to have a high capacity removable storage device. We strongly recommend the use of an external hard disk using either firewire (IEEE 1394) or USB2 to facilitate off-site storage of backups.

  • See the section in Preferences that covers mSupply's built-in backup features that allow backup to another disk, and to an internet backup site… you'll find it here: Backup
  • If not using our internet backup service, you need to be able to store backed up data off-site to prevent the risk of loss by fire, theft, etc.

Sustainable Solutions will not be able to help you recover lost data in the event of hardware failure if no backup is available.

Windows based operating systems are particularly prone to malware if precautions are not taken. We recommend the following precautions:

  • Install a reputable anti-virus program, including web protection if the computer has access to the internet. We recommend F-Prot.
  • Disable USB ports - refer to this site for suggested methods.

Ensure that access to passwords to allow exceptions to the above two measures are kept secure.

  • A connected printer is not absolutely necessary in every situation, but for most situations it is a requirement. A dot-matrix printer may be used, but an ink-jet or laser is preferable.
  • Buy hardware for which you are able to obtain good support.
  • Buy brands with a reputation for quality (even if it means buying a slower/older machine).
  • We have clients running mSupply on a wide range of hardware. We are happy to discuss hardware options further via email or phone.

If you open a data file that was created with a previous version, it will automatically be updated to the new format. Please note that this process may take some time.

Note that if you are using a version earlier than v1.96 you must upgrade to v1.96 and then to version 2 or 3.

IMPORTANT! Always make a backup of your data file before upgrading, and preferably keep a copy off-site. We will not be able to help you in the event of some unexpected disaster if you haven't followed this advice!

We are assuming you have obtained mSupply via the Internet or on a CD.

If you have downloaded the file you need, and you have saved it to your desktop, it is important that you saved the file with an “.exe” extension or it will not run (You can rename a file by right-clicking on it). The default name for the file is “mSupply_installer.exe”

If you are using the CD, it should automatically run when inserted. Otherwise, locate the file “mSupply…..exe” on the CD using Windows Explorer.

It is strongly recommended that users who are not familiar with program installation adhere to these directions.

  • Double-click “mSupply_installer.exe”, and it will automatically run the mSupply installer.
  • The installer will do the following:
    • Create a folder on your chosen drive called “mSupply”
    • In Windows XP & 2000, create in the mSupply folder a sub folder called “Database” containing an example data file.
    • In Windows Vista and Windows 7, the example data file is installed in the My Documents/mSupply/Example sub folder.
      • NOTE: You can use this data file for practice. (Or use the tutorial at the start of the manual to learn the basics quickly)
    • Install the “mSupply.exe” application and associated files. Double-clicking this file will do the same as double-clicking the “start mSupply” icon on your desktop.
    • Install “readme.txt” - information on licensing and using mSupply.
    • Install “mSupply manual….pdf” - this document (CD version only).
    • Create two shortcuts on your desktop: “ start mSupply” and “ mSupply manual” (CD version only)
    • Create a “mSupply folder” entry in the “programs” section of your “start” menu.

Now you are ready to begin! Proceed to the section below on starting the example database.

The mSupply installer treats Example data files in a special way. Re-installing mSupply on a previous installation will replace all the files except the Example data file. This is to prevent valuable data from being deleted as users may have started entering actual stock into the Example data file.

To install a fresh copy of the Example data file on Windows you can carry out one of the options described below:

  • Un-install mSupply using the Windows menu Start > Program Files > mSupply > Uninstall mSupply . This will remove all installed files of mSupply which includes the Example data files. Re-installing mSupply now will install a fresh copy of the Example data file.
  • You can manually delete the Example data file and re-install mSupply. The mSupply installer will install a fresh copy of the example database as the previously installed file has been deleted.

On Macintosh machines, simply replace the Example folder from the mSupply installer image.

  • In the regional settings in Control Panel, we recommend that the short date format is set to display only 2 digits for the year (YY, not YYYY).mSupply lists are set up to allow only enough space for 4 digits with most font sizes, but occasionally 4 digit years may be truncated. Having the wrong setting here will only affect display, not the actual data. It does not matter if you use DD/MM/YY or MM/DD/YY or YY/MM/DD
  • If the display of lists in mSupply overlaps the separator lines, turn off large font in the display control panel.

To start mSupply, either

  • double-click the start mSupply icon on your desktop, or
  • choose the start mSupply item from the mSupply menu in the programs section of the Start menu (on Windows). If this is the first time mSupply has been started after installation, then an example data file will be opened allowing you to follow the mSupply tutorial. mSupply will present you with a log in window.

Note that mSupply will “remember” the last data file used, and automatically present the log-in window for that file unless you move or rename your data file. If you do this, mSupply will show you a standard open/save window for you to choose the new name/location of your data.

If you would like to create a new data file now, then log in to the example data file and from the mSupply menu do the following.

  • File > New Data File… Navigate to a convenient location. Assign a name to your data file and click the save button. mSupply will now start creating a new data file.
  • You will be presented with a login window. See below for instructions

  • Start entering your data.
Alternative method for creating a new date file

Here is an another way to create a new data file.

  • Quit mSupply if it is running.
  • Start mSupply and then immediately hold down the “alt” key (You will now be shown the following which has a number of radio buttons with the different options available.

new_file_option.jpg

  • Choose the 3rd radio button Create a new data file . Another window will open where you can choose the location and name of your new data.

Once mSupply has opened up a particular data file, that file becomes the default file which is opened automatically on restarting mSupply. To use a different file, it must be chosen, as described later. If the default data file is renamed or moved to a different location, it must be opened using its new name or location.

The first time you use mSupply, you will be presented with the log-in window like this:

mSupply® ships with three users. “user 1” and “user 2” are the designer and administrator - these two users cannot be deleted, but they can be edited, allowing the use of appropriate names and making changes to their passwords and permissions.

  1. You should select user 1(pass=user1) from the list
  2. Enter the password “user1” (without the quotes). When different users with their own level of access have been set up, you will then log-in by selecting your user name and typing your own password.
  3. From the drop down list, select the store with which you are working. Most mSupply users will be operating with a single store, but for users operating with more than one store, the login screen allows you to select any of the stores to which you have access. After selecting the desired store, all transactions will relate to that store until you return to the login screen and select a different store from the drop down menu.
    • Supervisors and other Level 1 users will have an additional menu item, Supervisor - All stores . In this mode, all stores are accessible, and you would use this mode, for instance, when placing an order for supplies which will be distributed to a number of stores. Further information is available here: Show stores
  4. Choose login mode …., you have the option to select Store mode or Dispensary mode ; the default can be set in your Preferences

Finally, click OK to login

The following 2 steps are necessary to start mSupply for the first time.

  • Create a new data file
  • Prepare the new data file for use
Create a new data file

In order to create a new data file, see above creating_a_new_data_file

Save the data file in a location that you can easily find for doing backups. We suggest you create a folder called “mSupply data” inside the My Documents on Windows PC or the documents folder on a MAC to store your data file.

  1. Choose your home currency. Currencies are used when you are calculating cost prices for orders, and when you are comparing quotations from suppliers. Choose Special > Currencies. If your currency is not already shown, click the New button at the top of the window and choose from the pick-list the three letter code abbreviation of the currency you will use to operate your database (e.g. “INR” for Indian Rupees, or “SAR” for South African Rands, or “USD” for US dollars). Set the “Rate” to “1”.
  2. Enter your Preferences. Choose File>Preferences to do this. Read the chapter of the manual on Preferences to learn what the different Preference settings do. You will find the Preferences section here
  3. Enter your Suppliers and Customers.
  4. If you have a computer file holding your customer and/or supplier details, it can be imported directly into mSupply. See Importing Customers, Suppliers, Patients.
  5. You can also do this as you go along simply by entering a customer or supplier the first time you create an invoice or order from them.
  6. Enter the items you keep in stock. There are a number of ways you can do this:
    • If you have a computer file holding details of the items you stock, it can be imported directly into mSupply. For more information see Import items
    • A file containing the WHO essential drug list is available from the download page of the mSupply web site. You are encouraged to use this file should you have no computer file of your own.
    • You can enter each item using the New item Command from the item menu.
    • Enter your stock figures.
    • If you have a computer file holding both details of the items you stock and your current stock figures, it can be imported directly into mSupply. See: Import items and stock
    • Your opening stock may be entered manually; choose Item>Inventory adjust - add stock , and enter the required details.
    • If you intend to record the location of each item, you should define the locations that your store contains. See Locations - Defining locations.

At the log in window you have the option to log into a specific store or to log in as 'Supervisor' by choosing option 3 shown in the below window.

Unless you intend to use multiple virtual stores in mSupply you can ignore this option. More information will be found here: Virtual stores

mSupply allows you to log in in two different modes, Store mode or Dispensary mode . Each user can have his/her permissions set to allow or disallow each mode.

Each mode presents the user with a different menu bar and different windows, depending on whether you are issuing stock to an organisation or an individual

See Dispensary Mode.

Previous: Mobile (Android) User Guide Next: Logging in

2011/05/18 10:38

Which one?

Since its creation in 1998, mSupply has grown and multiplied as it has been applied to different challenges. The original Free-user (Windows or Mac based) application continues to be downloaded and used regularly. In fact, it comes packed with (almost) all the bells and whistles of some of our most sophisticated installations, but is only suitable for a small, single concurrent user facility.

We need two servers!!!???

The ICT industry is plagued by the practice of using the same term to refer to software, hardware or both combined! As it relates to mSupply in multi-user environments, there is often confusion over two of these:

  • The term 'Server' can refer to:
    • The mSupply computer software which runs the mSupply database,
    • The hardware which the server software is installed on, and;
    • Both the hardware and the software acting together. This is possibly the most common usage. When we say something like “send to the server” we mean send data to the server software operating on the server hardware.

The server hardware can actually be a cloud hosted 'service' rather than physical hardware that you own and try to manage. Sometimes the server hardware is referred to as a 'file server', and this can help to avoid confusion. In any case, for any multi-user mSupply installation, including mSupply mobile, both server software and server hardware are needed, and both of them cost money.

  • Similarly, the term 'Client' can refer to:
    • The mSupply computer software which accesses the mSupply server (software) database on the server (hardware),
    • The hardware which this client software operates on, and;
    • Both the hardware and the software acting together.

Sometimes the client hardware is referred to as a 'client PC' (Mac or Windows) and this can help to avoid confusion. Again, for any multi-user mSupply installation, including mSupply mobile, both client software and client hardware are needed. For mSupply mobile, the client hardware is an Android Tablet - refer Mobile (Android) user guide v2.0 - featuring offline operation.

We are a software company, so when we use these terms, we will almost certainly be referring to our software, but sometimes not. The context normally helps, but please forgive us if we fail to distinguish between these meanings!

So which is the right mSupply product / configuration for you? The key differences between the configurations basically comes down to how the user(s) interact with the database. We hope this table helps in making that decision.

Product / configuration Description Software price implications - refer Pricing
Free-user PC or Mac application - Download here. The database resides on the computer that the application has been installed on. It can be used by only one user at any one time. Free! You still need to register mSupply with Sustainable Solutions, but we don't charge you for it - and we don't sell your contact details either!
Single-user Same as PC or Mac application, but for users who wish to make use of Support1) and Up-to-Date (UTD)2) A software license needs to be procured, generally for about 1/3 of the price of a multi-user client, and then Support and UTD on top of that.
Multi-user For situations where more than one user needs to access the database at one time. The database is hosted on a file server and mSupply server software is installed on that hardware. Users have access to this data through mSupply client software installed on client PCs that communicate to the server through a Local Access Network (LAN). Remote users can access the server through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or similar. A software license needs to be procured for each concurrent client. Support and UTD is optional, but highly recommended. Most of our customers are very happy to pay for these services.
Synchronised Multi-user If the internet connection to remote users in a Multi-user configuration is inadequate, then Remote Synchronisation allows a Primary - Satellite configuration to be deployed. 'Satellite' multi-user servers are installed at remote sites where users operate mSupply on their local store without worrying about the internet connection. In the background, these 'satellite' servers will synchronise their local store data with a 'Primary' server when the internet connection becomes adequate. A software license needs to be procured for each concurrent client for each server. Synchronisation and Web server modules are required on the Primary server.
Synchronised Single-user There are situations where the remote sites (with poor internet access) are just single-operator stores needing to manage and report their stock using the fully featured mSupply client. Procuring the minimum multi-user satellite server configuration for each of these sites would be expensive. A solution has been developed that entails installing single-user clients machines (normally laptops) at these remote locations and then synchronising them to the primary server much like the Synchronised Multi-user configuration. Lower cost than conventional synchronised multi-user as the single-user client license is less costly than multi-user client licenses. Synchronisation and Web server modules are required on the Primary server.
Mobile This is a Synchronised Single-user configuration, but the users operate with mSupply Mobile (client) software on Android tablets. This apps has a reduced feature set, but is more than adequate for most Last-Mile needs. Local stock details are synchronised back to the Primary server, and can be monitored and reported on there. Pricing is even lower than for Synchronised Single-User. We see this as the way forward for the medical supply chain in small and remote facilities. Synchronisation and Web server modules are required on the Primary server.
mSupply Customer Interface Allows staff of Customers in your mSupply system to report their stock levels and order stock from a Virtual store in mSupply system. It runs on a browser on any device: tablet, smartphone, net-book, desktop computer etc. Depends on your situation - contact us. Web server module is required on the Primary server.
FrontlineSMS integration with 2G mobile phone mSupply has the ability to integrate with a FrontlineSMS installation. This allows a customer to send their current stock levels to mSupply using an SMS (text) message from any mobile phone. This is particularly useful if, for example, you are a mobile or remote health post or dispensary which doesn't have internet access and only needs to send in information about a few items at a time. SMS module is required on the Primary server.

Other modules are available for addition to the basic mSupply application:

Module Comments Software price implications - refer Pricing
FrontlineSMS Allows users to send their current stock levels to mSupply using an SMS (text) message from any mobile phone. This can then be used by mSuppy to determine how much stock to send to the facility. Equal to the price of 1 client license.
Product (drug) Registration Allows integration of product registration (control of what products can be supplied by authorising particular suppliers and products) by recording and tracking the status of supplier's registrations and storing the documentation for easy retrieval. Equal to the price of 2 client licenses.
Web Server Module Allows you to access mSupply data on the server from any networked computer that has internet access.
This module is a prerequisite for several other modules.
Equal to the price of 2 client licenses.
Synchronisation Module Maintains data integrity between a 'primary' mSupply server and 'satellite' mSupply servers. It therefore only applies to situations where there is a multi-mSupply server setup.
Requires the Web Server.
Equal to the price of 2 client licenses.
Tender Management Allows execution of a full tender process including publishing of the tender through a web site, and so allowing tenderers to submit tenders on-line.
Requires the Web Server.
Equal to the price of 1 client license.

Previous: Who Uses mSupply? Next: Mobile (Android) user guide - new, featuring offline operation

2016/12/08 21:47 · Mark Glover

Who uses mSupply?

This list isn't exhaustive.

All sites are multi-user with the number of sites x number of concurrent users at each site in brackets unless denoted by SU (=“Single User”) after the name.

  • Six Government state stores (6 x 3)
  • Ten Government stores managed by Axios (10 x 2)
    • Axios HQ, Abuja (4)
    • Axios uses mSupply synchronisation to connect sites that don't have full time internet access. This system has been in use since 2010, and continues to function well.
  • FCMS Store, Lagos (5)
  • Jigawa CMS
  • From March 2016: 20 new users spread over 6 states (Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe)
  • Private non-pharmaceutical supplier, Lagos (STIL)(SU)
  • Cordaid (3)
  • Central Medical Stores (5)
  • Status 2015: CMS was destroyed in a fire in 2014, and the project has been on hold since then.
  • Axios: 1 site synchronising to a central server
  • Liberia MoH: 11 sites being consolidated to a single mSupply installation Dec 2016
  • MRC (SU)
  • Crown Agents Ebola Response and Free Health care distribution (20) - several stores around Freetown running from a single cloud server.
  • National Pharmaceutical procurement unit (2017). Central server with 18 users, 13 regional sites, et al.
  • LSHTM Ebovac (2017). Server with 5 users.
  • Gambia Central Medical Stores (14)
  • Orant Charities (SU). From 2017.
  • Haydom Hospital
  • Medair (SU)
  • Medair (SU)
  • Central Medical Stores (SU)
  • UNDP Juba (5)
  • Churches Health Association (4)
  • ZILS (5)- this system employs an EDI interface to pick up orders sent to a dropbox folder from the Zanzibar LMIS system and incorporates it into mSupply
  • 51 sites in Yamousoukro district, starting April 2019 (mix of desktop and mobile)
  • Central Pharmacy Medical Stores (3)
  • Vaiola Hospital (4)
  • Haapai Hospital (SU)
  • Vava'u Hosptial (SU)
  • 'Eua Hospital (SU)
  • Mobile (11)
  • Central Hospital and Stores (4)
  • National Medical Stores (7 + Web server + Tender module)
  • National Referral Hospital (4)
  • mSupply mobile- 8 Second Level Medical Stores (phased installation from October 2016)
  • Tungaru Hospital (9)
  • 3 26 sites using mSupply mobile
  • Ministry of Health/Majuro Hospital (2)
  • Princess Margaret Hospital (2)
  • Central Medical Stores (2)
  • Vila Central Hospital Pharmacy and Store (3)
  • Lenekel Hospital (2)
  • Norsup Hospital (2)
  • Luganville Hospital (2)
  • 44 user system across the country:
    • Cloud system (12) serving
      • National Department of Health, Medical Supplies Procurement Department - Installed June 2013
      • Daru TB Unit - Installed Sept 2015
    • Badili (Port Moresby) AMS (8) - Installed June 2013
    • Port Moresby General Hospital (10) - Installed November 2014
    • Hagen AMS (4) - Installed October 2015
    • Hagen General Hospital (4) - Installed October 2015
    • Lae AMS (4) - Installed May 2015
    • Lae General Hospital (4) - Installed May 2015
    • Alotau General Hospital (4) - Installed Sept 2015
    • Wewak Area Medical Store (4) and Hospital
    • Vanimo Hospital (4) - 2016
    • Goroka Hospital (5) - 2016
    • Kundiawa Hospital (5) - 2016
    • Kokopo AMS - 2017
    • Nonga Hospital - 2017
  • National Hospital and medical store (7) - October 2015
  • Desktop Sites (5) - January 2018
  • Mobile Sites (10) - January 2018
  • Desktop sites (1) - October 2017
  • Mobile sites (2) - October 2017
  • Desktop sites (3) - May 2017 (Medicines Registration module only)
  • Nationwide deployment (approx 18 sites) starting 2019
  • Meyer Free Clinic
  • INF (3 sites- SU)
  • MSMT (SU)
  • Patan Hospital (SU)
  • Lal Gadh Hospital
  • Gurkha Welfare scheme (26 sites, SU) Funders: DFID, GWT
  • Six NGOs responsible for medicine distribution in provinces synchronise data back to a management server in Kabul (July 2016). Includes automated generation of a multi-workbook Excel spreadsheet that includes macros that submit data to a Ministry of Health database.
  • UNDP warehouse (2019- 5 users)
  • CMS warehouse (2019- 5 users)
  • SAMES (10)
  • Hospital Nacionale Guido Valedares (5)
  • Dili Central Medical Services (Mobile)
  • 100 mSupply mobile sites
  • National Laboratory, Dili
  • Baro Pite Clinic, Dili
  • 28 sites spread over the country connecting to a cloud server running mSupply.
  • 10 sites using mSupply synchronisation
  • 31, no 42 50 62 145 sites using synchronisation to connect to a cloud server
  • 6 sites using remote access to connect to the same server
  • Central Medical Store (5) from January 2016
  • RSCS program - 70 no 164 synchronising sites (also connecting to the same server) from November 2016 (by end of Jan 2019 mSupply was storing almost 10 million data points for the project)
  • Medical Action Myanmar (Dec 2017) - 25 mobile sites connecting to a cloud server running mSupply.
  • World Mate Emergency Hospital
  • WMEH Warehouse
  • Global Fund pilot in 150 sites starting April 2019
  • SafeNetRx (was Iowa Prescription drug corporation)
    • users: 2
    • Web server: clients from all over Iowa place orders using the mSupply web interface
  • UK Microbiological Products supplier (Private company). Since 2012
  • CAIPA
    • Specialist system with 20 users. Was running emergency Ebola Response Programme for DFID, including management of a UK based warehouse with air freight deliveries to Africa. Now managing a distribution programme in South Sudan.

Previous: Why mSupply? Next: Which One?

2011/04/19 07:35 · Craig Drown

Why mSupply?

This brief paper outlines the main areas of functionality that mSupply covers, along with something of the approach and ethos of Sustainable Solutions.

  • Our aims are to serve developing countries with solutions that provide real benefit.
  • That means that we are driven by a desire to serve, rather than by profit.
  • That said, we are a profitable company with no debt and a commitment to stay in business for as long as we are needed.
  • We have a balanced mix of expatriate and Nepali staff who work on mSupply.
  • We've been doing mSupply since 1998, and full-time as Sustainable Solutions since 2001. In that time we've done hundreds of days of trainings, converted hundreds of thousands of records from other systems to mSupply, and installed mSupply in hundreds of locations.
  • Our experience in Nepal as a developing country, and in the many other developing countries that we've worked in, gives us a unique perspective and understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved in working in similar environments.
  • We're committed for the long term. We know that a decision to install mSupply is a big one. We're planning to be here decades from now.
  • There is always a balance between features and usability, and while we know we don’t always get it right, we try to make sure we don’t add features that aren’t really needed, and we make sure that features only needed by one client don’t clutter up the interface for everyone.
  • mSupply is very easy to install- 10 minutes and a whole department is up and running.
  • mSupply uses an easy-to-use graphical interface that makes adding Purchase Orders, Patient Prescriptions, Tenders, etc a breeze!
  • The system is also made with high usage warehouses and busy pharmacy departments in mind. When fine-tuned, the system automates item purchases, receipts and sales for the warehouse administrator and also provides features such as abbreviated directions entry for quick prescribing of medicines.
  • The initial mSupply server installations in 2002 have run since then without ever crashing.
  • We have more than ten years of experience in keeping mSupply installations running in developing countries, so we know what it takes to make a reliable system. All multi-user mSupply systems we have installed are still running.
  • mSupply includes an automated internet backup system, so backups are automatically transferred to a remote secure site.
  • Server backups are automatic with configurable frequency.
  • mSupply keeps a log of every action you make, and if there is a power failure then the log can be used to restore all unsaved data on the server.
  • We do not know of any instances of a security breach of an mSupply server
  • There is a full password protected login and permissions system, allowing each user’s access to functions to be controlled and recorded.
  • A user log records all significant user interactions, allowing an audit of which user performed which actions.
  • mSupply can run in many different ways, depending on whether you want to run a local or cloud-based service:
    • Local server with client connecting over your local network
    • Cloud based server with clients connecting via a special application or a web browser (e.g. Citrix)
    • If you have several sites and want to manage them centrally, but the internet does not support a cloud-based service, then mSupply also supports running individual servers at mulitple locations that then synchronise their data back to a central server when communications are available.
  • On Sept 2nd 2013 we officially released mSupply mobile. It allows you to run a small medical store using a tablet computer (iPad or Android or Windows). An internet connection is required, but users in developing countries are successfully using mSupply mobile over an EDGE (2g) mobile network.

As of mid 2016, the internet connection does not need to be there all the time! See Mobile (Android) user guide - new, featuring offline operation

  • mSupply mobile can give stock visibility and automated replenishment for hundreds or thousands of stores connected to a single server, which may be hosted on your premises or be cloud-based.
  • The same data file can grow from being used in a single-user system to having hundreds of concurrent users with millions of transactions.
  • Many mSupply users have unique needs requiring some customisation of the standard mSupply software. mSupply allows customised versions that can still be easily upgraded as new releases are made. Often customisation is done at no extra cost if the client has a current up-to-date contract.
  • mSupply is built from the ground up to handle batches and expiry dates.
  • There are multiple ways of classifying medicines, and mSupply supports ATC coding, WHO’s EDL3) categories and the user’s own custom categories.
  • Many of the reports are specific to the needs of pharmaceutical distribution
  • The in-built reports have been developed since the beginning in response to user requests.
  • Users can easily create their own custom reports and save them for use again. Saved reports are available from a menu in the custom report window.
  • Items, Names, and transactions all have lots of spare fields that users can use to store custom data, and then use those fields in reports.
  • mSupply dashboard allows managers in remote locations to log on with a web browser and view reports.
  • mSupply provides easy merging of duplicate items.
  • Easy adjustment of inventory errors (but with a full audit trail!)
  • Most fields allow entry by name or code, and allow partial entry of as much of the name or code as the user knows.
  • Easily find transactions you've entered, by number, by customer/supplier name, by a list of recent transactions or by a custom search.
  • If the user’s hardware is powerful enough, fuzzy find searches allow finding data even if the search terms are incorrectly entered.
  • Items that you are unable to supply to customers are put onto backorder. A report of all backordered items is easily generated. When the stock for the backorder becomes available a customer invoice is automatically created awaiting your confirmation.
  • mSupply allows customers to remotely log in via a web browser and place orders, view order status, stock status and transaction history. This system is in daily use.
  • mSupply supports a unique system of centralised supply where the distribution point submits current stock on hand figures, and mSupply calculate a rational quantity to supply, knowing the historic stock on hand, the ordering cycle, and the amount supplied during the previous cycle.
  • mSupply also supports the simpler imprest system where the amount given to customers is based on a fixed level of stock, as is commonly done when supplying wards in hospitals.
  • mSupply uses a powerful ordering system that allows accurate real-time analysis of how much stock should be ordered, based on historic consumption, order lead time, the ordering frequency, desired “buffer” stock levels and current stock levels. Unmet demand from customers, backorders, and stock on order are also taken into account.
  • This system has proven reliable, and requires little user intervention, unlike systems that require you to set minimum and maximum stock levels. mSupply still allows minimum stock to be set if really needed.
  • mSupply handles purchase orders in multiple currencies, and allows split deliveries.
  • The goods receipt module allows full or partial receipt of each purchase order plus addition of stock not ordered.
  • Ad hoc quotes from suppliers can also be handled.
  • The quantification, tender management and purchase order systems all tie together so data flows from one to the other without requiring re-entry.
  • The Tender Management module provides detailed production and management of tenders including using mSupply data to determine quantification, printing invitation letters, comparing tender submissions and automatically producing Purchase Orders for the winning tender supplier.
  • The Remote Tender Management Module provides posting of tenders by suppliers to https://tenders.msupply.org.nz secure web site. You download and automatically import completed tenders to mSupply for easy comparison of supplier responses, choosing the winning supplier and creation of purchase orders.
  • Supplier Registration functionality is planned to be developed as part of the Tender management module.
  • mSupply integrates well into hospital pharmacies, providing easy breakdown of bulk packs for dispensing.
  • Prescribers are recorded, and prescriber reports allow analysis of prescribing trends and costs.
  • Drug interactions are handled, as is repeat dispensing.
  • Patient history is recorded and easily accessible.
  • Customisable abbreviations allow rapid entry of patient instructions on to printed labels.
  • Medicine labels are produced using specialist label printers. Busy sites using mSupply produce hundreds of thousands of labels per year.
  • mSupply is able to handle multiple virtual stores within a single data file. A common use for this is a hospital, where several stores may be present, but each needs to run independently.
  • Stores can run in either dispensary or store mode, so one server can handle both a hospital pharmacy and a warehouse store simultaneously.
  • Using Citrix and a DSL internet connection you can run a whole country's medical distribution system from a single server, greatly reducing infrastructure requirements while dramatically improving availability and reliability.
  • Because mSupply tracks each batch separately, full FEFO 4) can be maintained for every item.
  • There is a full audit trail for each stock line.
  • Each stock line has a record of warehouse location, enabling easy warehouse management
  • If stock lines have the same batch number, expiry and pack size, they can be split and combined.
  • Stock lines can be re-packed to different pack sizes for convenience. Warehouses will find it easier to handle cartons with a pack size of, say, 12,000 tablets while dispensaries will be dispensing individual tablets, and so will want a pack size of 1.
  • Full Location management
    • mSupply allows volume based calculations of available storage, that is especially critical for cold chain items.
    • Volume information is used to provide either reports or a graphical depiction of how full each section of the warehouse is.
    • Alerts are given when placing purchase orders if there will not be enough space to hold the incoming goods.
  • Basic bar-coding functionality is planned to be developed soon.
  • mSupply allows recording of VVM5) status for batches, and allows sorting available stock by VVM status rather than by expiry.
  • mSupply integrates with Frontline SMS to provide an interface for using SMS messaging to submit information such as stock levels and goods receipt confirmations to mSupply.
  • A simple hospital information system has been developed as part of mSupply. It is designed to provide a basic service to record critical data:
    • Recording a hospital's wards and beds.
    • Recording inpatient admissions (admitting a patient, assigning them to a ward and bed).
    • Recordng ICD6) 10 disease codes for each patient admission. You can assign multiple disease codes, and prioritise them (primary, secondary, etc..).
    • Moving patients to different wards/beds.
    • Recording discharge data (patient status at time of discharge)
    • Reporting on bed occupancy rates as a whole and by ward, and other useful statistics e.g. average length of stay, ICD10 statistics.
  • The mSupply HIS is a cost effective alternative to large commercial installations.
  • mSupply's Registration module allows mSupply to manage registration of suppliers and their products on a per brand, dose, and form basis.
  • mSupply will record and track the status of supplier's registrations and stores the documentation for easy retrieval.
  • All data in mSupply can be exported as industry-standard XML or as an SQL dump, allowing use by other systems as needed.
  • A public API has been developed, allowing any system to retrieve and submit information from/to mSupply.
  • mSupply is available for Windows and Macintosh.
  • We recommend Windows servers, but client computers can be either Windows or Macintosh.
  • mSupply can either query other systems or provide data in real time via XML web services and other industry standard connectors.
  • mSupply provides automated seamless integration with Moneyworks accounting software and general export files which can be easily customisable for import to other systems.

All of these features combine to make a very powerful medical inventory supply chain management system which has been tried and tested in dozens of locations around the world. We believe it has a unique set of features that no other product offers for managing medical supplies in developing countries

For full information, visit http://www.msupply.org.nz A demo version is available here

The user guide is available here

The home page for the documentation wiki is here

Previous: Introduction Next: Who Uses mSupply?

2011/04/19 07:56 · Craig Drown

1)
Remote support - almost 24/7. We aim to provide a first response within 2 hrs
2)
Gives you access to the latest software updates, including assistance with upgrading if needed.
3)
Essential Drug List
4)
First Expiry, First Out
6)
International Classification of Diseases
  • Last modified: 2019/07/05 07:00
  • by Lou Lomas