How Data is Breathing New Life into Medical Equipment Life Cycles

A data-driven asset management system will save healthcare systems billions of dollars annually.

Picture this: Infusion pumps often sit idle in back rooms waiting to be used, and MRI machines are sidelined for days awaiting replacement parts. These are just two common examples of the inefficient usage of medical equipment. In 2016, Hospitals spent a staggering $93 billion on medical equipment lifecycle costs (Becker’s Hospital CFO Report 2016), yet they have surprisingly little insight into how their “fleet” of medical equipment is being utilized and how much value it’s driving. Seems like a problem, right?

With limited visibility into existing assets, hospitals are losing money, wasting resources and putting security at risk.

What are the symptoms of today’s broken processes?

Here’s one of the major problems: Existing computerized maintenance management systems used by clinical engineers today to manage assets only report issues after they’ve occurred. This retrospective approach severely reduces equipment utilization. If an infusion pump has no reported issues in the system, does that mean it's working perfectly? Or is it stuffed in a closet somewhere, long forgotten?

With limited visibility into existing assets, hospitals are losing money, wasting resources and putting security at risk.

By understanding utilization at the individual asset level, clinical engineers can gain visibility into asset equipment availability and performance, and dive much deeper into providing the following value opportunities:

  • Support capital budgeting and planning
  • Improve risk management and risk reduction through advanced auditing and reporting
  • Strengthen community stakeholder confidence in the quality and safety of care delivery
  • Provide practical tools to strengthen or maintain performance excellence
  • Create a more robust cost-to-service ratio that takes into account holistic asset value
  • Optimize operations through more intelligent preventive maintenance procedures
  • Manage vendors against their stated Service Level Agreements
See how Uptake Created $160,000 in Potential Value Per Locomotive Per Year for a Leading Class-1 Railroad

Prescribing data-driven measures for a healthier life cycle

To gain clear visibility into equipment, hospitals must have a system that can collect data directly from existing equipment and incorporate it into one centralized asset management system. This type of system opens new doors by providing ongoing and automated visibility into equipment.

For example, gathering data for the clinical engineering team provides a comprehensive view into all medical equipment, empowering them to proactively find at-risk equipment and fix components before they break, increasing equipment uptime. A centralized data system can provide a 360-degree view into all medical equipment for every hospital employee – from the executive leadership team to the engineers maintaining the equipment.

Progressive, data-driven organizations with robust equipment visibility are being rewarded handsomely with massive cost savings from reduced downtime and optimized operations. Onboarding assets isn’t easy, but forward-thinking health systems that take this leap will see the benefits quickly accrue.

Nelson Bowers is the Director of Healthcare at Uptake. He has more than 10 years of experience in data- and technology-focused roles at early stage companies. Nelson holds a BSE in computer engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.