With advances in science and medical technology leading to more medical devices integrated into patient care, there is a sharp increase in the number of medical equipment and bedside devices across hospitals. With additional requirements in reporting and maintaining quality care, caregivers no longer have the time to requisition and wait for equipment but rather require technology to be readily available. This post focuses on the time to deploy an asset and in future posts, I hope to address asset use, maintenance, tracking, compliance and disposal related challenges.
Equipment has to be available and ready to meet service needs in order to avoid disruption of service and inadequate quality of patient care as well as millions of dollars lost from sub-optimal use and maintenance of these assets.
In the post-Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) environment, healthcare organizations are expected to provide enhanced transparency with fixed asset management records, maintaining which is a challenging, labor-intensive task for any hospital, public or private. In addition, 21 CFR Part 820 establishes regulations on receipt of goods, inspection and acceptance as required for regulatory reporting purposes.
Guidelines for Optimizing Deployment Time
The following high level guidelines can be used to reduce the time to deploy assets in any enterprise asset life-cycle management solution.
Granularity in Procurement Transactions
It all starts at the source and procurement plays a key role in ensuring that assets are received, recorded and transitioned to operations smoothly and efficiently. Procurement processes can be streamlined to meet the specific demands of different business units and departments and their individual needs. Knowing what’s on hand and where will reduce redundancy in ordering and also make the right equipment available at the right time. Creating purchase requisitions with the right amount of detail in procurement categories, ship-to detail, asset profiles, types and more will lead to a smoother financial asset recording.
Integrated Information Processing
From the asset financial register to maintenance records, modern-day asset management systems deliver integrated processes, workflow, notifications, exception handling and reporting. Let the system do all the heavy lifting and information processing for you by taking full advantage of these features and adapting your business processes to those Out-Of-The-Box (OOTB) best-practice based flows. In cases where OOTB doesn’t quite suffice, modify the system to get the maximum benefit out of it to minimize manual interventions and touch points.
Streamlined Service Schedules
If your asset management financial system and maintenance or work order management systems are not the same and don’t talk to each other to share asset, schedule, crew, location and installation information, it will lead to delayed deployment and increased manual interventions to bridge data gaps. Using a common task schedule and an integrated process to track these activities within the deployment process or getting disparate systems to contribute information at the right time is crucial in reducing manual intervention and speeding up deployment. Over the long run, this will also lead to improved equipment maintenance, support and allocation.
Compliance processes and compliance reporting are better served when they are part of the asset acquisition, deployment and maintenance process. System-enabled communication based on key tasks, events or milestones notifies various systems or parties involved, reducing cycle time and increasing collaboration. Integrating electronic signatures for example in the inspection process can not only lower time but also the cost of compliance reporting.
360 degree views of data
Not having financial, service/maintenance and compliance information accessible from a single application or in a 360-degree view or in contextual formats is the single biggest productivity hurdle facing healthcare organizations when it comes to asset management today. By providing your financial and operational teams this view of data, through an integrated enterprise system or a business intelligence-type aggregated data view, organizations will see improvements in processing times, reporting, equipment quality, service delivery and equipment utilization.
Efficient use of assets and asset-related information reduces acquisition time and deployment time of assets. Additional beneficial side effects can include greater operating efficiency, predictable schedules and bottom-line cost savings for healthcare organizations.