Hospital asset management – crucial capabilities for asset control
Enormous numbers of tools and equipment are needed to run a hospital effectively and it is the clinical engineering department’s role to ensure that the hospital and all clinical equipment are maintained, tested, and in a reliable working condition at all times.
Hospital engineers maintain extensive heating, air-conditioning, refrigeration, and ventilation systems and the equipment they operate includes boilers, air-conditioning equipment, diesel engines, turbines, pumps, condensers, generators, and compressors.
Medical equipment maintenance extends from electric power points to which the equipment is plugged in, through to the machinery and consumable parts such as batteries. And as a lot of this critical equipment is portable, finding equipment (in working order) is crucial. The responsibility often lies within the department to ensure all equipment is thoroughly checked, repaired and recommended for disposal once past its working life.
The nature of equipment movement, the limited number of expensive equipment units, and a broad range of critical through to non-critical equipment has meant that the engineering department is often under a lot of pressure to prioritise work in a time sensitive manner.
Unexpected asset downtimes and equipment breakdowns and not locating assets in a timely manner are the major headaches found in most engineering departments.
Hospital management is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world and good governance, compliance and risk mitigation is critical.
Ensure safety requirements are met through timely audits
Your assets, equipment, tools, stock, parts, inventory and maintenance should be contained within a single source of truth asset register so you can log the following:
- Repair and equipment testing – often performed fortnightly needs to be quick and paperless! This is especially important in wards such as intensive care where getting people in and out quickly is essential.
- Medical device recalls – by manufacturers or regulatory bodies are a common occurrence within hospitals. And not being able to identify affected equipment and its current location poses a huge problem.
- Incident management reports – identifying the ticket number, job status, email trigger when jobs are completed, and the ability for feedback.
- Canned reports for management use – with domain control, restricting the equipment shown.
- Clinical Engineering “in store” equipment reports – identifying which equipment is currently being held by the engineering department but owned by another department (i.e. Emergency/ Theatre / ICU). The reports are specific and relevant to the department and produced at different times according to the reporting requirements of the owning department.
- Proactive maintenance – that accurately tracks and raises alerts when maintenance is due, rather than reactive which can pose an unnecessary risk to patient care.
- Repair procedures – that can be checked off in real time and synchronised out in the hospital wards or in a matter of seconds upon attaching the PDA to a sync dock. With the ability to prioritise work orders based on critical versus non-critical equipment status.
- Set repair procedures within the work order – so you know which step has been completed, or yet to complete should a repair job have to be suspended due to equipment access (i.e. ICU or emergency departments).
- Assets, inventory, stock and spare parts audit – a must for optimal workflows and for an automated and streamlined approach to the supply chain. Plus provide improved processes for storing and managing spare parts.
Improve visibility and reduce waste with real-time inventory control
“Implementing the stock management module has been the driver of a substantial transformation within our department. It has significantly improved our processes for storing and managing spare parts which have significantly increased productivity. We can now view an image of a part to help locate it quickly as well as set alerts so we are notified when minimum stock thresholds are breached. We now use this function to generate a weekly stock re-order report” Biomedical engineer at RMH.
A centralised asset register provided visibility of the full range of assets and introduced a range of immediate benefits including lifecycle management and better resource planning. Read how The Royal Melbourne Hospital – Clinical Engineering Department uses Hardcat.