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Get more value from your medical equipment budget

February 14, 2020
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

3. Manage parts and supplies inventories
A third opportunity is the spending on parts and supplies. Make sure they’re included in the data standardization outlined above. Then your system can track usage and inventory across the organization, revealing consolidation opportunities.

Next, centralize parts procurement. Hire or deploy existing staff solely for HTM parts and supplies, or partner with an outside entity that specializes in it. When organizations have NOT centralized the parts function, each technician can end up spending an hour per day, or more, in parts procurement. It’s simply not a good use of their time, especially given the ever-declining pool of HTM technicians.

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A centralized parts group can institute quality ratings for the parts and vendors provided to them. Monitoring dead-on-arrival rates, late deliveries, and wrong part deliveries can help weed out bad apples that cause rework, downtime, and degraded patient care.

4. Track and rationalize third-party services
Waste in HTM also comes from inefficient use of contractors. Decentralized decisions can create a proliferation of companies providing warranty, extended warranty, and non-warranty service. If these aren’t tracked, technicians often won’t know if devices are under contract, and needlessly expend time and money on procedures already covered. If this occurs, your healthcare organization double-pays for the service. An automated contract management system can flag equipment under contract, provide alerts of contract expirations, and can track contractor performance against committed service levels.

5. Measure what matters
Measurement of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) helps save cost over time. Measure and report HTM customer service in terms of response times, turnaround times, and equipment uptime. Efficiency metrics should include clinical utilization, code compliance, life cycle maintenance costs, equipment’s age, and percentage of useful life. Your KPIs can align your team around what will move the needle. External KPIs help define success and show progress with your customers. Make them visible! Some organizations drive the point home with wall monitors showing real-time service metrics.

6. Plan capital replacement based on solid data
With data rationalized into centralized systems, you can get more mileage out of funds available for replacement equipment. Your systems can feed a capital planning tool using criteria agreed upon by all key stakeholders. Your portfolio can be evaluated on a common scoring system that includes age, service history, maintenance costs, regulatory exposure, and projected clinical and financial risks, should the equipment fail.

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