By David Francoeur
Federal regulators require all hospitals to track their medical equipment. The goal is modest: to ensure hospitals know what equipment they have, primarily to report and address any problems that might come up.
Some hospitals think that requirement – largely met by their Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) means they know everything necessary about their equipment and their Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) program. The reality, however, is it barely scratches the surface.
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In general, a CMMS is designed only to tell you what equipment you have in use around your hospital, along with a record of how often it’s been fixed or had routine maintenance. By default, your CMMS is also a double-edged sword because of how hospitals choose to define what is and isn’t “medical equipment,” which limits how useful this information is. While others might define that solely as treatment devices, our TKA teams define “medical equipment” as anything that can touch a patient – widening our focus to things such as wheelchairs, stretchers and nurse call systems.
A comprehensive medical equipment inventory captures a broader spectrum of information to confirm that your HTM program not only delivers on expectations – but helps you find smart paths to improve its performance and value to the organization.
At TKA, we believe that the best medical inventory exercises input all equipment and costs related to your HTM program, including many commonly overlooked expenses – including salaries and training – and which vendor does what for you. Of course, we’re making sure that critical life-or-death respirators, MRIs and other devices are clean, functioning and for best-in-class care, but our biomeds also may be overseeing the disinfecting and making sure that transport and other touchpoints for the patient experience are working too.
Assessing your program solely on its tangible assets fails to reflect the greater value it delivers in both patient safety and provider satisfaction. What we’ve learned during our collective 200 years of industry experience is that too many hospitals simply don’t know what they don’t know about the day-to-day execution of their HTM programs. Without the right information, you can’t take the right steps to improve your performance at the best cost – leaving too many opportunities on the table.
Understand the totality of your HTM program
The starting point for analyzing your program’s effectiveness and total value is the medical equipment that your biomed techs clean, repair and keep at the ready. But you must dig much deeper to get an accurate, actionable overview of a deeply integrated hospital function – including both what you are doing and how much it costs.