As the Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) profession strives to become uniform and cohesive, there are several major issues holding us back. They revolve around the common terminology which we use (or should use) to define and measure the things we do. Here are a few which are in need of work:
When HTM departments compare themselves to one another, there are many things to compare. Cost. FTEs. Bed size. Number of devices. In-House/Outsource Ratio. Contracts. PM Completion. Uptime. Productivity. PM-preventable failures. Number of certified individuals. Customer Satisfaction. And many, many others. But which ones matter? Which measurements are worth the time and trouble to collect and compare? Which measurements are even attainable? The current benchmarking options are either a) skewed toward unimportant, but collectable factors, b) based on plant engineering metrics, which do not relate to HTM, or 3) based on very simple, but unimportant factors that business managers can understand, but that have no relation to a good HTM program. We must define benchmarking for the industry and create a standard that is not only accepted, but which is mandated for all HTM programs.
When we Benchmark, what is important? We have never defined “Best in Class.” If we haven’t a definition of “best,” how will we know when we reach it? Or even how close we are to the “best.” Until we define what is important and critical for an HTM program, we will never have an alignment of all of the HTM departments in the nation.
What is the cost of an HTM program? Does it include contracts? Does it include Parts? Does it include the cost to maintain equipment that the HTM department does not directly repair? How do we define the hourly cost of an in-house program labor? How do we account for non-productive time, people and activities? Should cost include a factor for square footage and utilities for the HTM department? Since many of our benchmarking metrics are based upon cost, it seems as if we should have a uniformly accepted definition of “cost.”
4. Service Materials
In the old days, service materials merely meant a printed service manual. Nowadays, it has expanded to mean digital manuals, online manuals, passwords, diagnostics, updates, software, training videos and a myriad of other service/support offerings. How much detail is needed? What is required if an HTM department wishes to perform in-house maintenance? And how can this definition be updated as technology continues to evolve?
5. COSR and COO
When evaluating an HTM operation or a pending equipment purchase, two terms are often used. Cost of Service Ration is a little-used metric that measures the cost of maintenance as a percentage of the original price. It needs further definition and universality of use. COO is Cost of Ownership. This can include the total cost of owning, maintaining and operating the device over its entire lifetime. Different organizations have different definitions of COO and COSR. These need to be uniformly defined and used throughout the industry.
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