By Doug Brown
It is common for healthcare technology management (HTM) departments to fret over the condition of their CMMS database and the poor quality of the data it contains.
Inaccurate databases, caused by years of uncontrolled input and poor data management, have left hospitals with a reduced ability to effectively measure their performance compared to external standards. Without this ability to compare internally and externally, there is no practical way to know how HTM departments are performing, leaving them vulnerable to the C-Suite as well as ISOs.
Accurate information is helpful to HTM departments at the 5,800 acute care hospitals throughout the U.S. The question is how does one get it? After years of inaccurate input, the output is typically corrupted to a point that it is not only diminished in value, but can be detrimental in properly measuring performance. We have all heard the expression “GIGO” (garbage in – garbage out) and never has it been more accurate than in the typical HTM department. In fact, over 78 percent of hospitals recently surveyed said they would not use their data to make sound decisions.
Just as executive management uses data to analyze surgical outcomes, occupancy levels, staffing, length of patient stays, financial performance and hundreds of other measurements, accurate CMMS data can reveal low-performing equipment as well as low-performing personnel. The ability to clearly measure how PMs impact mean time between failures (MTBF), they don’t, or provide actual “cost of ownership” on expensive-to-repair or maintain equipment can help management make better decisions in running their departments, as well as provide the necessary input to other departments tasked with equipment acquisition. Positive outcomes such as higher performing technicians as well as reduced PM costs and implementation of compliant AEM programs are potential outcomes of proper performance measurement.
Never has the need been greater and the stakes higher for information than in the coming year. Reduced hospital reimbursements and smaller budgets mean HTM departments aren’t filling open positions and – in some cases – are reducing staff. Unfortunately, many of these departments need to increase, not decrease their staff, but they lack the tools to make defensible arguments to C-suite managers who don’t see the justification in increasing the costs of these departments, even when it may be the best financial option. A properly run department is a cost saver, not a bottomless pit of expense as many C-suiters see it.
Through the use of analytics and benchmarks, you can use valuable CMMS information to justify your department like never before.
Superior Analytics, a division of Phoenix Data Systems, has created a process to get the information needed and restore a CMMS system to the required accuracy.
The first step to accurate performance measurement is ensuring that the data is correct. If you can’t correct the decades of inaccurate data input, you will get out exactly what you put into it. We have software that is capable of “reading” a CMMS, regardless of vendor. It compares the data to the proprietary MDX2 database, which contains over 3 million pieces of equipment, corrected to the level of manufacturer, model name and number. By comparing data, it can correct – or “normalize” – the equipment to ensure it has the appropriate information.
It then creates data spreadsheets which quickly identify areas where HTM departments can improve departmental performance such as PM completion, CM hours, labor efficiency, MTBF … over 100 metrics in all. By quickly identifying the “low-hanging fruit” HTM can begin to manage the department using analytics to find the highest need and quickest ROI. It will help identify unused equipment, instantly highlight anomalies in staff costs and better prepare HTM for Joint Commission reviews by quickly pointing out problem areas.
Once data is cleansed, major problem areas are identified and the wheels are set in motion to correct overall performance. Now HTM can compare its performance to other hospitals. The system readily allows HTM to see its overall performance compared to the mean as well as the “best in class.” This can be done at the highest level (overall departmental performance) or by modality, equipment type, manufacturer or even specific hospital locations and/or personnel. By applying the average labor rate (including overhead) a department can quickly identify where its performance is lacking or where it exceeds the mean level or “best in class”, projecting potential savings. Imagine being able to show C-suite managers how an HTM department is exceeding the “norms” and saving the organization money.
What is the real cost of delaying the implementation of a normalization and/or benchmarking solution? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
In most hospitals, the answers to these questions will lead you to the appropriate decision, even when talking to the C-suite. Having accurate data on which to make decisions is no longer a luxury, it is imperative in today’s hospital. Imagine the chaos if doctors didn’t analyze the results of the medical procedures they perform? Should the analysis of the equipment they use be any less stringent?
By clearly outlining the information you need to know, you can make an informed decision on the project.
The average hospital reviewed in 2017 saw a potential opportunity to save more than $250,000 annually, simply by achieving the overall mean performance level of Superior Analytics users.
Reaching “best in class” distinction would allow for another potential $250,000 to $400,000 in savings. This is an average. HTM savings may be more or less depending on size, condition of the database and level of performance. Generally, bigger organizations save even more, especially when trying to combine CMMS databases after an acquisition.
Doug Brown is vice president of sales for Superior Analytics, Phoenix Data Systems Inc. He may be reached via email at DBrown@GOAIMS.com
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