From the July 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By: Jim Salmons
For many hospitals, clinical asset management for thousands of devices remains a frustrating stumbling block on the road to efficiency.
Misplaced, lost, recalled or broken equipment can cause major patient flow backlogs, resulting in prolonged stays and otherwise avoidable costs. C-suites are declaring that too much technology is lying idle within their operation.
At the very least, this recognition indicates a widespread disconnect between hospital managers and their clinical assets. However, as insights from asset data solutions become more advanced, administrators are beginning to cultivate an intimate knowledge of their equipment costs, the value of their HTM teams and a view to a healthier bottom line. As HTM departments feel the continuing pressure to become more cost efficient while supporting quality patient care, the data-driven approach to clinical asset management provides four core benefits to help HTM professionals achieve this seemingly elusive goal.
1. Being strategic
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What level of service does the equipment require and when? Are there available trained engineers to service the equipment? Is compliance reporting accurate? What machines are coming off contract and when? What equipment will need replacing and when? HTM departments with effective clinical asset management insights drive strategic answers to these types of questions to support their bottom line and quality patient care.
They provide an on-going integrated solution for asset management through service and work order automation, AEM and OEM preventive and corrective maintenance and real-time reporting to manage clinical assets from “inception to retirement.” By capturing their organization’s asset data in a standardized formatting protocol, they maintain a cost-effective centralized repository for tracking and managing all relevant asset information including location, service history, costs, contract and warranty status, as well as full life cycle replacement forecasting.
Importantly, turning this captured data into strategic business insights helps position the value of the HTM department directly to the C-Suite by defining optimized operational processes that result in lower costs and keeping patient flow on track.
2. Optimizing asset deployment
Benchmarking against past equipment performance trends is crucial to planning optimal maintenance plans and strategic capital planning for the future. Accurate benchmarking requires a robust dataset from the proper business intelligence tool to support it. In addition to individual facility data being collected, an ideal asset management data collection process will also be integrated with data from like facilities with a similar asset mix and operational dynamics. Smart benchmarking also allows hospitals to identify important patterns of seasonal device usage and defining population health strategies. During flu season, for example, a hospital may consider increasing the availability of infusion pumps. By aligning preventive maintenance plans to historical patient census flows, an HTM leader becomes a critical participant in strategic planning.