The best hospitals focus on keeping patients healthy instead of just treating illnesses. This calls for streamlined asset tracking for hospitals, so the hospital staff can keep tools up to date and well-functioning. High quality patient care demands equipment that performs according to both compliance regulations and manufacturer specifications.
To do this, the majority of medical centers end up spending a substantial portion of their budgets on both their assets, as well as the maintenance of these items. A hospital usually ends up buying $6000 worth of services like biomedical and life support per bed to cater to patients. With financial strains being one of the greatest challenges faced by hospitals, the main goal is to outline cost effective policies. Research suggests that this can be done in the following ways:
- Initiate a program to carry out service cost accounting to quantify and record the hospital’s annual spending. This helps to generate a baseline to analyze and design budget adjustments.
- A data driven management program to improve equipment maintenance and upgrade uptime. This optimizes budget utilization.
Since healthcare institutions have clearly outlined objectives and are required to follow a set of defined compliance regulations, their asset management programs need to be laid down well in advance. To meet quality standards and provide the best possible patient care, hospitals need to be extra vigilant about equipment utilization. To help medical organizations attain this goal, here are five things asset tracking for hospitals should include:
Enable medicine lifecycle management
Hospitals have a continuous supply of medicines and injections available to ensure smooth operations. The medical inventory also comprises of disposable tools like gauze and gloves, which need to be replaced quite frequently. For this purpose, asset tracking for hospitals focuses on lifecycle management. This basically helps track equipment from the time of procurement to its disposal. Vigilant supervision is absolutely necessary when it comes to the expiry dates of drugs. Handing out expired tablets can lead to grave consequences for both the healthcare organization and patients. To avoid such mishaps, RFID tags or other labels can be used to monitor and track usage rigorously.
Keep a check on surgical equipment warranties
A single surgery requires around 200 instruments for a lengthy procedure. These may contain expensive machines and imported tools which come with manufacturers’ warranty. Since it is difficult to get replacement parts for such equipment, it is important to keep track of any defects or breakdowns until your warranty expires. One way to do this is to clearly tag your assets, either by using Barcodes or QR codes. Doing this makes it easier to enter data such as warranty dates into your system. Once this has been done, you can just scan the equipment to check if its warranty is still valid. Cautionary measures allow hospitals to cut down on unnecessary large-scale repairs. Refurbishment of damaged equipment by the manufacturer makes sure it is serviced in the correct manner, and at no cost you! Therefore, you should make the most of your investment by tracking surgical equipment warranties.
Routinize maintenance for equipment reliability
The rise of infections in hospitals may be partly attributed to the bacterial contamination of surgical instruments. Tools like scissors and clamps are used for operations on a daily basis, which is why they need to be disinfected thoroughly. Both healthcare workers and patients are at risk if the proper prevention guidelines are not followed. According to CDC data, one in 25 patients acquires an infection during their stay at the hospital. That’s a huge proportion! In order to ensure quality and hygiene, medical centers are required to carry out proper sterilization routines. This can be divided into two categories:
A) Dry Heat:
- Hot Air Ovens
B) Moist Heat:
- Water Baths
An automated hospital asset tracking program allows medical personnel to schedule timely service sessions. This way none of your tools get missed out. Run streamlined medical equipment maintenance to fight infection and bacteria, and improve the safety of your assets.
Use labels to monitor equipment usage
On average, hospitals lose up to $1 million worth of equipment each year. This happens because of a lack of a robust hospital asset tracking system. Stolen or misplaced equipment includes expensive surgical tools and machinery. Such losses cannot be instantly replaced, because certain machines are not readily available and have to be made to order. To eliminate this problem, hospitals must move towards real time location systems (RTLS) and radio frequency identification (RFID). Such technology can be used to label all equipment, especially high-ticket assets to monitor them throughout their usage. By using RFID tags, staff workers have to check out tools before use so that the user ID is recorded in the system. This keeps a robust history trail in case of theft.
RTLS systems in healthcare institutions let you constantly supervise equipment locations. This way, you know where and when assets are being checked out. GPS management comes in extremely handy for medical centers running operations country-wide, too.
Run audits to strengthen security
To cope with rising financial constraints, hospitals may often think to compromise quality. Fortunately, medical centers are under strict scrutiny by government organizations. Legal institutions make sure healthcare clinics are up to the mark by following the standard of care defined by them. This takes the form of a formal checklist which needs to be fulfilled in order to function successfully. Due to a weak management system, hospitals may suffer from data management, privacy issues and the over-utilization of equipment. To prevent medical malpractice, it is necessary to comply with regulations which govern abuse, fraud and wastage of inventory.
Given the complexity of government regulations, healthcare organizations resort to audits as an essential data collection rule. This is commonly a part of asset tracking for hospitals, and lets you verify checkpoints in ownership. Such practices let you eliminate unauthorized usage or cut down on any fraudulent activities. Running audits allows you to easily conform to formal regulations, which otherwise are very challenging to follow through.
Hospital asset tracking: What’s next?
The global hospital asset market is expected to exceed $6 Billion in 2018. It is also projected to expand at a CAGR of 12% from 2018 to 2026. Such a significant increase is likely to impose workflow burdens on the administrative as well as the finance departments. To cope with the incoming flow of patients, medical institutions would do well to adopt cloud-based asset tracking programs made especially with hospital assets and inventory in mind.
By utilizing an automated database, hospitals can generate accurate yearly performance reports. Equipment utilization can also be monitored to cut down on any ineffective practices. In addition to this, reports can be further analyzed to show bottlenecks in management so they can be tackled as soon as possible. This ultimately leads to better coordination among primary care units, hospitalization, and the post-hospitalization care provided to patients.
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EZOfficeInventory is an hospital asset tracking software that has helped hundreds of hospitals and clinics manage budgets, maintain equipment, and provide higher quality patient care to all. Try out our free 15 day trial – no credit card required!