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Don’t Let These Challenges Impede Your Asset Tracking Program

Written by: Michael Fragala, PhD, MBA, RN, WCC, CSPHP, AMS

For procurement leaders and healthcare administrators, keeping up with the millions of moving parts in a healthcare facility or hospital can be challenging. Employees often spend hours out of their workweek untangling the knots so the facility can attend to the needs of the patients expeditiously. When a hiccup occurs in asset tracking or equipment management, it has a ripple effect on the rest of the facility and wreaks havoc on its cost-to-serve.

Without an asset management program (AMP) to help automate the asset tracking process, something as minor as a machine needing maintenance can disrupt your team’s workflow. Such a disruption hinders efficiency in patient care and limits the number of patients the facility can attend to at one time. In times like the COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers can mean life or death.

You must overcome the following hurdles when establishing your asset tracking system.

Viruses, Data Leaks & Ransomware

In 2017, a ransomware attack affected the entire National Health Service in the United Kingdom. With the rise of digital materials and assets, remote working, and telemedicine, cybersecurity is more important than ever in the healthcare industry. “Healthcare organizations continually face evolving cyberthreats that can put patient safety at risk,” said the American Hospital Association (AHA).

When your facility’s IT department implements risk assessment and firewall programs to protect patient information and the facility itself, it can be difficult to manually track down all the assets that need to be updated. However, an outdated asset that does not have multifactor authentication (or any other zero trust control) can have disastrous consequences. The Joerns Connexio™ proprietary connected care solution automatically flags assets that haven’t received necessary updates. AMPs like CenTrack® can also enforce policies within the hospital’s limits and maintain an inventory of all assets used in remote work by employees from home.

Waste in Maintenance, Repairs & Over-Procurement

Healthcare waste leads to fewer patients served, higher budgets spent on duplicate items, and inefficient use of top talent. Many healthcare facilities are under-utilizing some of their most valuable assets, including pumps, ventilators, and monitors. The cost of supporting these assets runs at around $3,000 a year.

[FREE DOWNLOAD] Asset Management Program Implementation: A Checklist for Healthcare Facilities

Nurses often spend around 30% of their time searching for products that don’t exist, are outdated, or aren’t the right tools. This waste can slow down patient care, make operations and procedures take longer, and result in providers relying on the wrong items.

If your asset management team relies primarily on manual processes, employees will waste valuable time in hunting and gathering along with the energy tracking down assets instead of attending to patient care. Healthcare facilities can automate asset utilization and asset management to continuously track equipment and its condition of use.

Employee Adoption, Regulations & Compliance

Technology changes regularly, and the equipment that your staff received training in might be very different from the newer, more efficient equipment your procurement team just installed. On average, only 29% of IT projects are successful, meaning almost 70% of these projects waste time, money, and energy. How can you improve employee adoption?

Better communication is the first step. When employees fumble with a machine, they can alert the experts in the facility and receive the assistance they need quickly so the patient can continue to receive care. Clear instructions on electronic health records can be distributed to those who need them the most.

Furthermore, your healthcare facility cannot waste time manually ensuring compliance with local, national, and international regulations. An automated system like CenTrack® can flag what assets are no longer in compliance with changing rules and standards, so that procurement leaders can strategically deploy updates and maintenance as needed.

Joerns Healthcare and CenTrack®  offer Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) to improve facilities management and asset utilization.  Reduce over-procurement, improve maintenance, and lower cost to serve with a simple asset tracking program.

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