Best Practices

How to improve hospital asset management

Extending your asset lifecycles can boost operations and revenue. Learn how to optimize your hospital asset management with these seven best practices.

Hospital asset management has always been a critical part of healthcare service delivery. 

Dependent on the proper flow of information and a variety of equipment, asset lifecycle management cannot be optimized without the right systems in place. 

Hospital services start deteriorating when both the systems and equipment start failing, increasing risks to staff and patients due to the grueling processes of accomplishing simple tasks.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) indicates that over 931,203 staffed hospital beds are in the United States. This implies that there are over fourteen million bedside medical devices connected at any given time. 

If you consider other non-bedside medical assets, this number is overwhelming.

To provide high-quality environments and assets, healthcare asset lifecycle management is necessary to extend asset life cycles, save money, and prevent equipment failures. 

What is healthcare asset lifecycle management?

Healthcare asset lifecycle management describes functionality optimization of critical medical and operational assets throughout their lifecycles.  

This involves the care and maintenance of medical equipment, machinery, and other physical assets. The lifespan of medical equipment and clinical devices depends on various factors, including:

  • Maintenance and servicing
  • Frequency of use
  • Operating conditions

Under normal working conditions, most connected medical devices have an average lifespan of seven to ten years.

In the United States, approximately two thousand two hundred and seventy medical devices in a statistically average hospital require end-of-product-life tracking and planning annually. 

Effective healthcare asset lifecycle management is a must for hospitals to deliver effective service to patients.

Why invest in healthcare asset lifecycle management?

Healthcare facilities have numerous systems and medical equipment required for the effective functioning of the facilities. Tracking each piece of equipment through its lifecycle helps maintenance teams to test and maintain all crucial equipment and systems properly. Therefore, all assets are kept in good working conditions every time.

Hospital asset lifecycle management is targeting to maintain a clean, safe, and optimal functioning medical environment. 

It also helps identify assets that are replaceable with newer and more effective ones. Additionally, asset lifecycle management allows hospitals to identify problems and quickly solve them efficiently. 

Seven ways to improve the lifecycle for hospital asset management 

Below are some of the best practices you can deploy to enhance your healthcare asset lifecycle management:

1. Implement complete inventory monitoring

A good asset lifecycle management plan starts with an inventory of all items you have. Do an audit of all your assets and group them. You can categorize them by manufacturer, model, type, asset value, years in use, life expectancy or vendor supplier. You can also use any other unique features that distinguish them from others.

Keep records of all the available previous maintenance data and current operation status. The better the documentation of your assets, the less trouble you will encounter when maintaining or performing other procedures on your equipment. Different assets have different maintenance schedules and life spans, and therefore classifying them will ensure you effectively track their lifecycle.

2. Choose appropriate asset tags and barcodes

Medical equipment undergoes routine sanitization and is regularly exposed to environmental hazards. Thus, ensure you choose asset tags and labels that can endure frequent exposure to such conditions. At FSI, we recommend Polyester Thermal Tags made from high-strength acrylic adhesives. These asset tags are available in yellow or white polyester label stock, and can withstand harsh interior and exterior environments.  

If necessary, your organization can also invest in barcode labels suitable for high-value assets prone to theft. You can use tamper-evidence barcode labels and destructive vinyl asset labels to leave behind evidence of tampering and minimize theft.

Before deciding the tag to use for any equipment, determine its suitability for that particular asset.

3. Adopt a quality hospital asset management solution

Most hospitals opt to buy duplicate assets when they cannot locate critical assets promptly.

Adopting a quality inventory management system helps healthcare organizations reduce or eliminate these duplicate purchases. Therefore, hospitals can make huge savings and cut-off expenditures by optimizing equipment utilization.

Ensure the inventory management system is in a database that is accessible to all your technical staff, making it easy for your teams to locate tools, equipment, and supplies needed for effective service delivery. In addition, maintenance teams can quickly test, inspect and maintain equipment according to regulatory requirements.

4. Create an asset lifecycle management system

Healthcare organizations should track and keep a record of the conditions and current value of their assets. These records will help in scheduling maintenance and calculating lifetime costs. This allows healthcare organizations enough time to plan and replace before they cause problems or breakdown permanently.

Asset lifecycle management systems also aid healthcare IT experts plan for future equipment purchases. For example, organizations that keep accurate asset records can quickly identify similar items that outperform others. 

Therefore, when replacing those assets, they can choose manufacturers, giving them a better lifespan. For effective results, you should use a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

5. Execute preventive maintenance

Healthcare organizations utilize numerous high-risk assets. Asset management within your maintenance management solution can help implement preventive maintenance plans by identifying and solving problems before they occur.

With improved visibility into high risk, your departments can minimize unexpected breakdowns and provide better healthcare environments to patients.

Preventive maintenance also increases the lifespan of assets by maintaining them in optimal conditions, which reduces the costs around procuring new assets. Healthcare preventative maintenance also helps monitor sanitization schedules, hence reducing risks of Nosocomial infections.

6. Create a check-out/check-in system

Tagging assets with unique identifications help healthcare organizations implement check-out/check-in systems. These systems provide real-time data on the availability and

location of the equipment. With time, collected data aids in optimizing equipment investments so assets that are usually in demand but unavailable, you should purchase additional stock.

Sometimes there are duplicate assets in existence, but they are never in use at the same time. Healthcare organizations can downsize and take these assets out of service. As a result, there is a reduction in equipment costs without sacrificing the availability of other crucial assets.

7. Come up with a decommissioning procedure checklist

Inconsiderate of the reason you are decommissioning an asset, you should follow a specific decommissioning procedure.

The decommissioning process should include:

  • Erasing stored data, especially ePHI
  • Sanitizing the equipment
  • Removing all tags and barcodes
  • Disassembling the asset
  • Disposing of hazardous waste in a safe and environmentally friendly way

Reliable healthcare asset management tools prepare and save your decommissioning procedures. They also make the systems available to all relevant parties and ensure strict adherence to these procedures.

Learn more about asset lifecycle management

Getting better control of your asset lifecycles, from inventory management to record accuracy, begins with a foundation of solid data.

Closely monitored throughout all stages of the asset lifecycle and with the proper procedures in place, your healthcare system can extend lifecycles and improve your quality of care. 

If you’d like to talk to an asset lifecycle management professional, request a demo to learn about how we can support your needs.

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