From the August 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
More than 2,200 people attended the 2016 Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Annual Conference and Expo that was held June 3-6 in Tampa. AAMI provides both national and international consensus standards for the medical device industry, and six of the most talked-about topics at this year’s event follow below.
Medical Device Integration (MDI):
With hospital mergers on the rise, cybersecurity and network integration are quickly becoming issues. Facilities that are expected to integrate their virtual environment often use different network coding systems, proprietary networks and, in some cases, outdated equipment not designed to support wireless data transfer. Addressing this means more uniform coding, adapting older technology that cannot be readily replaced with the most current one and using middleware to allow different systems to communicate with one another. This is an expensive and labor-intensive process.
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MDI is crucial to creating a network of seamless patient data transfer among devices. Older equipment still in use is often analog or not designed for data transfer, and current-generation digital devices cannot communicate with one another due to network differences. Standardization of coding is underway, but it is a lengthy process involving hospitals, vendors and regulatory bodies. Hospitals will also need to consider that networks will be reaching capacity as new technology is added and integrated into the system. This will necessitate moving to the next generation of wireless communication technology, known as Li-Fi. This light-based transmission has speeds upward of 200 gigabytes per second, nearly 100 times faster than currently available Wi-Fi.
Optimizing the cost of medical equipment:
As health care systems operate under increasingly shrinking budgets, providers must be savvy about finding cost savings. When it comes to medical equipment, the cost-saving process starts well before anything is purchased. Careful assessment of repair costs, life expectancy of equipment and availability of replacement parts should be considered to determine whether it is time to repair or replace.
MD Buyline strongly recommends that health care facilities adopt request for information (RFI) and request for purchase (RFP) forms. Part of the RFI process is being specific about who is responsible for the interface, including software and hardware. Customers should demand detailed information from the vendor about the overall product cost throughout the product use. Repairs and scheduled maintenance, in addition to the final purchase price, need to be negotiated before the finalization of the purchase. If these terms are not satisfactory, options such as third-party servicing, certified pre-owned (CPO) or demonstration units, or buying directly from the manufacturer could offer savings.