In 2016, McLaren Flint set out to replace an aging fleet of IV pumps. As an essential piece of equipment that always seemed to be in short supply, clinical staff asked for more pumps. At the same time, operations measured existing pump utilization to determine if the capital expenditure could be reasonably reduced.
“Although initial desire was to purchase 1,000+ new pumps,” explains Brent Wheeler, Vice President of Operations, “the studies confirmed that our existing 900 pumps had a 30% pump-in-use rate. Compared to industry standards of utilization rates at 30-40 percent, we weren’t completely surprised.”
Clearly there was room for improvement, enabling an evidence-based decision to invest in a real-time locating system (RTLS), technology that has been shown to improve the utilization rates of mobile equipment.
McLaren ultimately selected Versus Advantages™ Asset Management, which utilizes RTLS to effectively track and manage IV pump inventory hospital-wide. Using Versus to increase pump utilization allowed a 33 percent decrease in pump inventory, which enabled McLaren to save $1 million in capital expense. At the same time, the hospital saved biomedical and nursing teams valuable time while gaining an RTLS infrastructure that can be leveraged further to improve patient flow and staff safety.
Purchasing Less When They Want More: Gaining Stakeholder Consensus
It’s a familiar refrain: clinical staff say they don’t have enough IV pumps. Nurses hide them, units fight over them, and hospitals typically over-purchase. When McLaren Flint’s operations group proposed a 33% decrease in inventory, there was push-back. But this radical shift came with a well-defined plan to increase the availability of IV pumps using RTLS.
To foster buy-in from all involved, McLaren created a multi-disciplinary team that included Biomedical Engineering, front-line Nursing, IT, Transportation, and Management from both the local and corporate levels. Together, the team landed on a target purchase quantity of 600 IV pumps, 400 less than the requested purchase of 1,000. Evidence from the utilization studies and a clear promise that when clinicians needed pumps, pumps would be available convinced the clinical staff.
Tracking and Managing IV Pump Availability Hospital-Wide
Each of McLaren Flint’s 600 new pumps is affixed with a Versus Asset Tag that relays real-time location information to the Advantages Asset Management software. The number of IV pumps on each unit is continuously monitored, which helps to manage inventory through a process called PAR (periodic automatic replenishment).
Each unit, floor or department determines its PAR level, or how many pumps they need to meet average patient demand. If the number of pumps on the unit nears that PAR level, the software triggers an alert. The Transportation team then replenishes the unit from others with excess inventory.
“I want a nurse or clinician to have a pump available to them whenever they need it,” says Wheeler. “A pump should always be ready for the next patient that comes in.”
Metrics Validate Asset Utilization and ROI
The effective management of pumps made possible by Versus has made a significant impact. “We’ve taken our utilization rate from 30 or 40 percent to about 80 percent,” says Wheeler.
In addition to improving utilization by 133 percent, decreasing pump acquisition from 1,000 to 600 allowed McLaren to save more than $1 million, even after purchasing the RTLS infrastructure and software.
The system also saves valuable time, which enhances patient safety and care. In one example, Biomed performed a software upgrade on pumps within three days – a process that previously took several weeks.
Integration Innovation Elevates Visibility to Pump Status
McLaren is also the first hospital to launch an RTLS-smart pump interface between Versus and B. Braun based on IHE® Patient Care Device (PCD) open standards.
“While Versus shows us the location of a pump and helps us manage inventory, we also wanted to see the status of a pump,” explains Wheeler.
Now the IV pump dosing software feeds pump status to Versus, which is displayed alongside the pump location.
“The transportation team can see at-a-glance which pumps are ready for retrieval and re-distribution. There’s no need to disturb the patient to manually check the status of the device,” Wheeler adds.
Versus Scalability Supports Future Performance Improvement
Although Versus saved McLaren $1 million through effective asset management, the health system has a larger vision for RTLS at McLaren Flint and beyond. As Wheeler explains, “Although we started with pumps, we now have the Versus infrastructure to explore patient flow, staff assistance and process improvement. We’re also looking at future standardization of the technology across our other hospitals.”
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