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Managing your Clinical Equipment Assets

Clinical asset management for thousands of devices is a common obstacle healthcare organizations are striving to overcome. Equipment downtime due to service requirements, misplaced, lost and recalled clinical assets can cause bottlenecks in patient flow, potentially affecting quality of care, employee productivity and financial performance.

Tue May 29 2018By Philips Healthcare

Chris Duffy, Senior Program Manager, at Philips Infoview discusses CMMS in this week's Ask the Expert article. Do you have CMMS question? Use the tool at the bottom of this article to ask Chris a question.

What is a clinical equipment CMMS and how does it work?

At a simple level, a clinical equipment computerized maintenance management system (or CMMS) is a software application that helps healthcare technology managers (HTMs) keep a total record of all clinical assets in a heath care organization. The CMMS solutions give HTMs the freedom to focus less on paperwork and more on hands-on service. With the proper CMMS, HTMs can easily schedule and track defined asset maintenance tasks, manage purchase orders, and report on service and parts costs, regulatory compliance, capital planning opportunities and other defined key performance indicators. 

The acronym, CMMS, was defined back in the 80’s to highlight ‘Computerized’, since the data was stored on a computer. Today, many CMMS applications are accessed via cloud-based applications. ‘Maintenance’ refers to the tasks performed by the HTM teams, whether it is supporting a clinician’s service repair request or ensuring equipment preventative maintenance follows defined priorities and compliant procedures. ‘Management’ refers to the standardized procedures and protocols to manage the lifecycle of the clinical assets, from acquisition through service to retirement. With a clearly defined management process, HTM’s have immediate insight into the state of clinical equipment maintenance needs with comprehensive work order schedules, accurate inventory of their clinical assets, and instant access to hundreds of invaluable reports that they can share across departments and with leadership to support informed decisions. Lastly, ‘System’ is the combination of features and capabilities within a CMMS. The best CMMS solutions allows HTMs to realize timesaving features that lead to a reduction of costs and improvements in overall patient care at that facility.

What are some of the key benefits that a healthcare facility would see from implementing CMMS software?

With continuous advancement of technology, hospital administrators recognize the impact technology has on the bottom line for a hospital and identifying a widespread disconnect between hospital managers and the hospital’s clinical assets. An integrated strategy for asset management offers benefits to improve both operational and financial performance. Healthcare organizations are in need of a holistic solution that spans the health continuum, incorporating service, scaling to specific needs, fostering valuable data insight and providing automation.

Assets in the healthcare environment present a significant expense to any organization – second only to labor costs, according to the Association for Medical Imaging Management. Clinical asset management for thousands of devices is a common obstacle healthcare organizations are striving to overcome. Equipment downtime due to service requirements, misplaced, lost and recalled clinical assets can cause bottlenecks in patient flow, potentially affecting quality of care, employee productivity and financial performance. At the core of effective asset management is an accurate inventory, including location, service history and related costs for each asset.

What are some ways that a hospital would see ROI from using a CMMS System?

Asset management involves the optimization of both cost and performance. Balancing these two requirements is often a challenge. However, through a clinically focused CMMS, a data-driven approach to clinical asset management provides three core benefits to help healthcare management professionals achieve this seemingly elusive goal, including:

  • Optimizing asset readiness
  • Improving work order/resource management
  • Providing business intelligence for capital planning

Imagine a patient arrives at a large community hospital, and an emergency room doctor determines the patient requires an immediate CT scan. Just prior to the scan, however, the physician discovers that one of the hospital’s CT scanners is undergoing its annual maintenance. As a result, the patient must be routed to another scanner with a backlog of patients, some of whom could have waited or been reprioritized, had their doctors been informed of the scheduled maintenance.

In addition to ensuring the readiness of imaging equipment, managing patient flow is a critical skill for healthcare organizations, as prolonged stays can increase costs for the organization. 

A coordinated asset readiness process can improve patient throughput and allow patients to flow more seamlessly through the system, improving both patient care and the bottom line.

Benchmarking against past equipment performance is also a necessary step to improving asset readiness; although, accurate benchmarking requires a robust dataset to support it. Ideally management data collection will integrate data from similar facilities with comparable assets and operational dynamics. Smart benchmarking also helps healthcare facilities to identify important patterns of seasonal device usage and define strategies. For example, during flu season, a hospital may consider increasing the availability of infusion pumps. By aligning preventative maintenance plans to historical patient census flows, a healthcare technology management leader becomes a critical participant in strategic planning. 

An effective clinical asset management CMMS solution can take the guesswork out of questions that often plague hospital managers and biomedical engineers alike. For instance, when is the MRI scanner in the oncology department due for preventative maintenance, or do the ultrasound units in the maternity department meet Det Norske Veritas (DNV) standards? A solid CMMS tool can also offer visibility into individual device data points to assist in foreseeing potential issues and expenses such as upcoming subcontract expirations or trending equipment malfunctions. With looming audits and periodic changes in regulations, effective asset management is required for compliance. By incorporating compliance and manufacturing guidelines, successful asset management systems can help healthcare organizations more easily meet guidelines outlined by the Joint Commission and DNV.

Just a few years ago, the Economic Cycle Research Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to improving patient care, identified recalled equipment as one of the top ten healthcare technology hazards for hospitals. Too often the appropriate action is not always taken immediately following the recall of a medical device due to the weight of administrative work attached to the recall. An efficient CMMS tool is needed to effectively inform clinical teams of the recall, define what impact the recall has on the organization’s operations, and route service work orders to the clinical engineering team to correct or remove the device from service.

Capital planning can be a pain point for C-suite executives, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Smart data, such as historical service cost trends, age of equipment and equipment utilization benchmarks offer insights to executives amid capital planning. The right CMMS tool can provide customizable reports and dashboards delivered directly to the C-suite, helping to bridge the communications gap between those serving in the hospital rooms and those in the boardroom. Budgeting resources for the future of an organization, such as new and replacement equipment is made simple with fact-based, actionable information delivered directly from your CMMS.

Do you have any customer success stories to share?  

Philips is a pioneer in the development of clinical asset CMMS solutions, introducing their first application driven through a mobile device over twenty years ago. Today, Philips continues to provide hundreds of HTM teams with an integrated and customizable CMMS tool via InfoView, a holistic CMMS solution for asset management incorporating service, scaling to specific needs, fostering valuable data insights and providing workflow automation. 

Philips InfoView is available as a stand-alone application for self-sufficient in-house HTM teams, or is paired with Philips Multi-Vendor Customer Service solutions to provide information involving assets, including inventory, maintenance, compliance and costs across the equipment’s lifecycle, helping decision-makers at every level – nurses, biomedical engineers and C-suite executivesdeliver outstanding service.

One InfoView customer, ranked by Becker’s as a top 100 community hospital with more than 450 beds, learned the value of such customization firsthand when Philips deployed the tool a few years ago. With nearly 10,000 clinical assets in rotation, the hospital was lacking a collaborative clinical asset program before working with Philips.

In merely six months, the InfoView deployment helped the hospital achieve the following: Prior to deploying InfoView, the hospital had a 90 percent preventative maintenance completion rate for general biomed assets. Following the deployment, completion improved to 95 percent through workflow automation, improved location information as well as better resource management. Improved visibility to biomeds operations and hospital defined KPIs have been realized through automated weekly dissemination of asset management reports to department leads and C-suite executives. Overall improved accuracy in tracking medical equipment through InfoView’s intuitive customizable reports.

Another InfoView customer is ranked by US News and World Report in 2018 as one of the top 75 Best Medical Schools in primary research and patient care. With over 25,000 assets, this large public health system made a decision two years ago to switch to InfoView from their legacy CMMS tool developed by an independent service organization. Leveraging the flexibility of the InfoView tool, this customer has utilized InfoView not only for asset management, but also for parts ordering and sourcing. Estimated performance improvements since deploying InfoView include: Using InfoView’s parts sourcing feature and service, parts costs have decreased on average by 23%. Additionally, this customer uses InfoView’s real-time dashboard to display key operational metrics for the biomed team on a large screen monitor. This public display drives accountability and performance transparency. 

Additionally, with InfoView’s online service requests text message dispatch escalation and routing have improved repair response with automated technician workflow by over 15%. InfoView is also used for Equipment Distribution. By integrating data captured during distribution of movable assets into InfoView the customer has experienced a 30% improved location accuracy as well as improved ability to find recalled devices for remediation. Lastly, through InfoView’s intuitive interface and automated data entry technicians are now spending more time on core job duties, with an estimated 20% boost in job productivity.

Philips Multi-Vendor Services Biomedical program has become the first medical device and service provider in the world to obtain ANAB ISO-55001 certification with the InfoView Asset Management platform being a core/critical component to the program. The scope of the certification is defined as the management of assets of biomedical equipment including management of inventory, preventative maintenance and repairs utilizing the InfoView computerized maintenance management system.

Philips is leveraging the ISO-55001 certification process to help our customers improve control of day-to-day activities, drive business efficiencies, reduce risk-related costs, maintain compliance in regulatory activities and reduce failure rates. Tangible results focus on increasing customer’s profitability accompanied by reduction in unit cost.

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