From the August 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Cara Gaboury
As the U.S. health care industry evolves, it is facing pressure from multiple directions, from regulatory reporting requirements, complexity around managing multiple service and parts suppliers, to the ability to access vendors that offer truly flexible support that can address a health care provider’s unique business needs.
Every health care system is trying to improve efficiencies, while reducing costs. These are just a few of the hurdles that can impede the one universal goal – delivering quality patient care and improving the patient experience.
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As a services leader, I have been in the health care service industry for 20 years and have been responsible for making sure my customers’ imaging and biomedical devices are operating effectively, safely and efficiently. Listening and consulting with customers about the pertinent questions they should be asking their service and parts suppliers has been core to my ability to support them in developing the right service and parts strategy.
While there are numerous questions and checklists during the acquisition, maintenance and retirement of clinical assets, there are three questions that health care business executives should ask to help drive decisions. The answers to these questions must be addressed, while balancing the need for the patient to come first.
1) Is our medical equipment management program clearly defined?
Medical devices are assets that directly impact millions of human lives and their proper function is critical to a health system’s ability to provide access to care, as well as improving the patient and clinician experience. Many factors, ranging from unacceptably long wait times, to increased demand, to rising costs, to severe shortages in key resources and staff are negatively impacting access to health care and impeding forward progress. Having a defined medical equipment management program will ensure that your organization has established a clear process and methodology to affordably, effectively and sustainably service and maintain all medical equipment used for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients, helping to mitigate some of these challenges.
Managing medical equipment activities and associated risks includes a comprehensive program that begins with the full engagement of all departments and resources impacted by capital equipment purchases, equipment operations, service maintenance and retirement. This includes activities for financial and operational considerations, such as:
• Processes for inventory management.
• Defined equipment inspection and testing.
• Low- to high-risk identification plans.