The digital revolution is transforming the healthcare industry with new tools and systems being introduced rapidly to improve the quality of care. Telehealth, electronic health records, and artificial intelligence-enabled medical devices are just some examples.
The use of technology in healthcare is increasing and it is anticipated to reach $280 billion by the end of 2021. With such extensive use of technology in healthcare, hospitals and clinics are dealing with a mounting inventory of IT equipment.
Not only is this equipment expensive, but heavily impacts the running of smooth operations in healthcare organizations. This is why it is crucial to efficiently track and maintain it.
What are the consequences of poor IT asset management in healthcare?
Improper use of IT assets can have serious consequences such as patient data loss and misplaced or lost hardware which eventually impacts the quality of care. Manual tracking can lead to operational errors and costly mistakes such as:
1. Crucial data loss and mismanagement
Excel sheets or other legacy systems are prone to inconsistencies and errors. With an IT asset management solution, all medical equipment data will be monitored through the software which eventually means that all the important information will be backed up regularly on the cloud.
An efficient IT asset management software syncs IT assets and the software data every 24 hours or so to ensure that valuable information is always protected.
2. Vulnerability to cyber attacks
Due to the loopholes in the healthcare IT environment, cyber-attacks are on the rise in hospitals. In 2019, the healthcare sector saw 41.4 million patient records breached, fueled by a 49% increase in hacking.
Unaddressed connected medical devices can expose a healthcare center to a host of cyber threats. Without a dedicated IT asset tracking software, healthcare institutions are at an increased risk of misused access rights and non-compliant devices.
3. Higher operational costs
IT hardware is expensive and needs proper lifecycle management including prompt maintenance and servicing. Likewise, overdue software licenses can result in hefty penalties and legal fees.
Not only that, but without having a full picture of your hardware and software spend and asset utilization, you cannot make knowledgeable procurement and retirement decisions.
4. Device theft and loss
Tablets, pagers, and patient database systems play a key role in running a hospital smoothly. An IT asset management solution keeps a record of all of these devices and also tracks to whom these devices are assigned.
Without real-time information maintained on a single centralized source, there is a higher chance of these devices getting lost, stolen, or misplaced. This means loss of crucial data and increased overhead costs.
How can an IT asset management solution help?
Implementing an IT asset management solution to track both hardware and software IT assets enables seamless healthcare operations which eventually lead to better patient care.
ITAM software for the healthcare industry utilizes configuration management databases, attuned procurement, maintenance and retirement management, and software license management to ensure that the IT environment is running smoothly.
A robust IT asset management solution can help your healthcare facility in the following ways:
1. Stay compliant
Medical facilities are required to comply with the rapidly changing healthcare rules and regulations. Compliance with regulations such as GDPR, HITECH, and HIPAA ensures the availability, confidentiality, and integrity of all your medical data.
Implementation of an IT asset management solution enables you to stay compliant with IT regulations in healthcare without compromising on the standard of care you’re providing. For example, to stay compliant with HIPAA, IT asset management solutions can help you carry out internal audits so you can analyze the results and document any deficiencies.
Along with staying compliant with data policies, such a solution also makes sure that you are compliant with all the software portals that you are using to store and share information.
If you have subscribed to various software licenses, then an ITAM tool notifies you before its expiry and keeps you updated on your software’s compliance status at all times.
2. Maximize cybersecurity
An IT asset management solution allows you to report against all medical devices, network data, and software. By integrating with IT service management software, it helps you strengthen security processes providing the transparency needed to quickly identify risks and prevent a security breach.
Not only that but with an ITAM solution, you can also customize user access rights by granting data access to only the relevant staff and restricting information from other users. You can create teams or user groups to make it easier while implementing controls on information access.
On the other hand, you can limit access to data and certain IT assets based on groups or locations. This will maximize the security of your hardware IT assets and confidential data, all the while giving you deeper visibility into the information.
3. Preventative maintenance
A disruptive IT system in a hospital can be life-threatening for patients. Without properly functioning electronic charts, activated pagers, and online patient tracking systems, hospital operations can get severely impacted.
An IT asset management solution enables you to adopt a preventative approach towards the maintenance of hardware IT assets. Preventative maintenance results in reduced downtime, lower overhead costs, and maximized efficiency.
By monitoring the health of critical IT assets and servicing them before they break down, you can eventually face fewer emergency work orders, maximize equipment uptime and minimize delays caused by siloed information.
4. Provision users and machines
In order to better assign users to machines, you can provide them access and user rights. By provisioning users and hardware IT devices, you can easily assign devices to individual users while granting and restricting their rights for usage.
Track the activity and frequency of machines and software assigned to users. Furthermore, an IT asset management solution shows you trends regarding which hardware and SAM assets are most used in hospitals so you can make informed purchase decisions in the future.
If you have implemented a high-end ITAM tool in your medical facility, then it will also readily integrate with other applications on your hospital network such as ITSM tools and patient information databases saving you the trouble of custom development.
5. Mobile application
With an IT asset management mobile application, medical professionals can have real-time access to their asset database while they are on the move. They can easily access work orders at their fingertips, check-in, and checkout IT assets, and can view the latest notifications. Instead of logging in through their workstation at the hospital, they can view and analyze critical data from anywhere and at any time.
AssetSonar is the leading IT asset management software used by IT-intensive organizations and businesses all over the globe.
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