Did you know that around 45% of hospitals believe they do not manage their medical assets properly. In addition, the average hospital worker spends an average of 72 minutes searching for assets during each shift! Within the medical industry, unseen teams work hard behind the scenes to manage a variety of medical assets that help improve the prospects of visitors, patients and even healthcare professionals. Maximizing the reliability and efficiency of these resources happens to be a major challenge for hospitals today, but all hope is not lost!
The healthcare industry and hospital asset management
It is certainly not a stretch to think about how troublesome it is for the healthcare industry to put up with scores of expensive assets, huge amounts of consumable inventory, and a long list of expiration dates and warranties to juggle effectively. Healthcare is experiencing an influx of new asset classes every day, and of a growing variety! For example, hospitals have a huge number of small, mobile medical tools. All these tools need to be in great shape at all times because they are critical for a patient’s safety and health. According to the WHO, even hospitals with straightforward operational needs and only a handful of complicated assets need effective healthcare asset management – there simply is no alternative!
Taking care of patients is of prime importance for both healthcare providers and the patients themselves. Whether it is reporting on compliance related issues, or protecting patient data and improving health outcomes, the healthcare industry has a huge responsibility to report and record everything it does. Hospital managers are worried about two key matters in an environment that is packed with increasingly tight budgets and an ever-greater demand. One is lifecycle management, which involves replacing assets at the right time for optimized performance and the least cost. The other one is maintenance, where you need to ensure that assets are ready to be used at all times. Heating, water systems, medical equipment, power generation, air filtration – everything needs to work well together. Asset management allows everything to flow smoothly, allowing different sets of items to run together in unison.
Major challenges faced by hospitals
Hospitals are strained with a lot of difficulties. Let’s dive into some of the challenges that healthcare facilities go through, and explore how hospital inventory management can help overcome these challenges and improve healthcare tasks and operations.
Missing or stolen equipment
Time is of the essence in hospitals, and not being able to track down a missing asset can be hugely detrimental for the patient. Knowing this, it isn’t great news that between 10% and 20% of a typical hospital’s mobile assets are stolen or lost during their useful life. This accounts for an average cost of nearly $3,000 per item. Imagine trying to make a case for allocating such a huge amount of money solely to replace assets! This translates into $1.6 million dollars for just a 400 bed hospital – money that could easily have been saved if only you were using a robust hospital asset management solution. In this way, all this money could instead be spent on other things, such as research, or hiring more staff, or even improved healthcare initiatives.
Efficient processes can take care of tasks as varied as locating medical equipment, providing up to date data on each item, and offering complete access to maintenance records. Hospital officials know where the equipment is at all times with this ‘anytime-anywhere access’ to critical information. The less time your staff spends in searching for equipment, the more time they can spend taking care of patients!
A hospital asset management system can alert staff regarding maintenance processes
Maintaining hospital sanitation standards
Health facilities also go through the additional high-stakes issue of ensuring that equipment and tools are cleaned and sanitized properly to keep a check on potential healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and other contaminants. The most common way to minimize contamination or the spread of infections is by keeping equipment clean, and disposing off waste appropriately. In addition to this, sanitation procedures can be tracked by monitoring equipment sterilization, status and services using hospital equipment maintenance. This, a system that can keep tabs on such tasks can be a huge boon to hospitals. This is particularly so as CDC states that about 1.7 million healthcare associated infection cases occur every year, causing 99000 deaths each year. Preventing such hazards should be at the forefront for hospitals.
Inaccurate maintenance records
If you want to find out how efficiently a hospital operates and how well its patients are monitored, you can simply take a look at their ER room. Emergency patients can be turned away if the hospital just doesn’t have the capacity to deal with them. This can be possible if equipment isn’t regularly maintained, shrinking the hospital’s capacity dramatically. This is especially the case when viral epidemics or natural disasters make a lot of people rush to hospitals in a short span of time. However, emergencies aside, inefficient maintenance tracking can leave many important questions unanswered even in normal times, and act as an obstacle to the continuous dissemination of quality healthcare.
A solid hospital inventory management software should also contain barcode scanning software that the staff can easily access through using their smartphones or tablet. All it takes is one click to instantly capture data regarding an asset, including options like scheduling alerts for maintenance or upgrades, making notes, and taking photos.
Thus, in addition to keeping track of assets, the management will be able to incorporate predictive maintenance by taking in all the details on the entire lifecycle of assets. This ensures equipment is always ready to be used, reduces equipment downtime and allows critical equipment to be assessed. Whenever testing, inspection or maintenance is due, proactive real-time alerts can be sent to hospital officials to ensure there are no roadblocks to quality healthcare.
The pharmaceutical environment must be monitored to ensure compliance to standards
Lack of environmental monitoring of inventory
Hospital assets can be sensitive to a lot of different elements. For instance, many pharmaceuticals need environmental monitoring to make sure they don’t expire. Similarly, a lot of medications are temperature-dependent. Stool samples and certain blood tests need environmental stability to bring about accurate results. Rooms, labs and storage shelves need constant monitoring to make sure there is no harm done to any asset. Inefficiency in the maintenance of assets can adversely affect patients, which is why hospital equipment maintenance can be a huge help to the healthcare industry.
This type of system enables you to log all these environmental specifications, draw up work orders against them, and run audits to ensure everything is where it’s meant. It can even send alerts to appropriate personnel when the time to service items comes up, or when an equipment is flagged for maintenance. This allows the staff to focus on patients, decrease spending on medical assets, facilitate personnel and patient safety and reduce downtimes.
Conclusion: The case for hospital asset management
It won’t be wrong to say that quality patient care depends on the uninterrupted availability and sustained interaction of a multitude of technological and medical devices. When the staff is able to perform their duties without any trouble caused by lost or misplaced equipment, patient and employees both get to experience streamlined hospital workflows, guaranteeing quality healthcare.
Apart from the immediate benefits of tracking assets, asset utilization reports can provide a bird’s eye view into how assets are deployed on a daily basis within the hospital. The hospital administration can utilize this detailed information to formulate action plans to minimize inefficiencies and costs. Therefore, the case for hospital asset management makes itself. By improving maintenance practices, helping hospitals be more compliant to industry standards, and ensuring robust sanitation and tracking methods, your hospital can increase its productivity and improve patient prospects dramatically!
Want to learn more about our hospital asset management software?
EZOfficeInventory is the leading hospital management software that hospitals and clinics use worldwide to improve healthcare tasks and give an unparalleled quality of patient care! You can try out our asset tracking software by signing up today for a free 15-day trial. For more assistance, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.