TechNation contacted several companies to find out the latest regarding computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) that healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals use as an important tool. Industry experts replied with insights and knowledge on a variety of CMMS topics including cybersecurity concerns, the latest features and what to look for when purchasing a system.
Participating in this roundtable article on CMMS are Accruent Vice President Healthcare Strategy Alan Gresch, Nuvolo’s Kyle Holetz, Phoenix Data Systems Inc. President and CEO Ben Mannisto and EQ2 LLC Product Manager and CBET Rich Sable.
Gresch: Any modern CMMS should have the ability to interface to, consume data from and provide alerts/notifications from a myriad of network monitoring tools such as Zingbox, Ordr, Medigate, CyberMDX, Asimily, etc. One side benefit of these interfaces is the ability to collect utilization data on these connected devices. Also important is the ability to automatically ingest MDS2 data from a reliable source. The CMMS should also incorporate a security assessment tool that will indicate key vulnerabilities and determine what actions may need to be taken against those vulnerabilities.
Holetz: A CMMS system with the ability to drive a dynamic data model can assist an organization, regardless of its maturity level, with all aspects of recording cybersecurity data and remediating threats and vulnerabilities. Not all devices are created equally, and the system should not treat them as such, this starts at the ingest of equipment from any of the many departments it may have been purchased from; data must be controlled through all stages of a device’s life cycle. Strong integration capabilities are also a must have for any organization looking to contextualize security/vulnerability events, discovery events and utilization events coming from any of the newer “next generation” IoT monitoring tools (Asimily, Medigate, Zingbox, etc).
Mannisto: It is important that the customer first have complete IT information in the CMMS for all connected medical devices. The CMMS should include all required fields with an opportunity for additional, customizable fields to meet hospital needs. Through integration with a cybersecurity application, this inclusion of data is key for identification, notification and mitigation of any found threats.
Sable: First, the CMMS functions as the hub for your asset management system which contains your complete inventory and all the network and software attributes for those inventoried assets. With this data populated in your system, either manually or automatically, the CMMS can interface with your cybersecurity appliance for real-time scanning of your organization’s network or manually search for IT field information. When the cybersecurity appliance detects an alert, a work order can immediately be created and assigned to a technician to respond to the alert. Other benefits include the ability to identify all devices with a particular operating system or software application which may have a cybersecurity alert initiated by the vendor or FDA.
Gresch: Best-in-class CMMS will have a feature set focused on the core functionality of an HTM service department including work orders, service request and equipment distribution portal, enterprise asset management (EAM) and the ability to accommodate all phases of the capital equipment lifecycle – from pre-planning and acquisition through final disposition – schedules\inspections management, procedures and sub procedures, parts\materials for issues and usage, basic contract management, customizable workflow engine, allowance for custom fields, robust reporting or allowing third-party report platforms, integration engine for third-party applications, and available-anywhere connectivity. The CMMS must also allow for standardized code usage, document management, flexible labor and parts\materials recording, and have a robust reporting and real-time data visualization platform. It should accommodate recording procedure results and readings for historical and reporting purposes as well as asset CMDB, networking and other related critical data values. AEM assessment capabilities is a must for decisions regarding frequency and procedure changes.
Holetz: This tends to vary quite broadly depending on the organization, and the maturity level of the HTM department. In my eyes, a system that can both accomplish today’s needs and the needs that may arise five years down the road is very important. A CMMS shouldn’t be a point in time purchase, it should be a strategic tool to the organization that helps foster HTM evolution internally and be useful to other departments in the enterprise. Generally, this takes a system that can be conformed and configured to the needs of the HTM department and the workflow that works best for them. As opposed to being a “what you see is what you get” type of system that makes the department function a certain way because that’s how the CMMS works.
Mannisto: Ease of use is key. Phoenix’ goal is to make AIMS 3 as efficient as possible, keeping technicians out of the software and on the floor repairing equipment. Integration with third-party applications – such as cybersecurity, parts procurement and purchasing – can help streamline activities. Data integrity capabilities within the CMMS is crucial to ensure accurate reporting for inspections. Meanwhile, mobile device use and dashboards are necessary for all CMMS users.
Sable: First, HTM professionals should consider their present solution and identify their vision for what an ideal CMMS solution would help them accomplish. Using this vision, the HTM professionals will be able to identify the features needed when purchasing a new CMMS. For example, tools to assist with regulatory compliance reporting along with the allowed exception handling, tools to assist with alternative equipment management (AEM) programs, dashboards for program management and key performance indicator (KPI) reporting in real-time, tools to create advanced reports with automated distribution lists, and specialized analytics for reporting and benchmarking and capital asset planning. Recently, many customers are requesting mobility products that function either online or offline to simplify work order completion for their team. Finally, choose a CMMS with modern application program interfaces (APIs) to ensure your new CMMS can interface with other software information systems (ERP) and hardware appliances such as cybersecurity devices.
Gresch: Our Connectiv product provides all the current must-haves in a CMMS (workflows, core modules, standardizations, reporting, flexibility, availability, etc.) while also providing solutions for cybersecurity, CMDB, interoperability, configurability and expandability. It’s available across multiple platforms, allowing users to access it regardless of OS or browser. Due to its world-class backbone, Connectiv allows customers to consolidate all their service departments onto a single platform while also providing the uniqueness each will need. We provide:
Holetz: Nuvolo is truly a CMMS system that is meant to be an “enterprise asset management” system supporting the entire workplace. It is best used by organizations who want to track all clinical, facilities, and all connected equipment that is in between. It is a very configurable system that excels in data visibility from the clinician creating a work order, the tech responding, the CFO making major purchasing decisions and the CIO deciding on equipment that imposes the least amount of risk on the organization.
Mannisto: AIMS 3 is Phoenix’ all new, browser-agnostic CMMS for use on any device. AIMS 3 offers a customizable user interface, data integrity for accurate reporting, detailed security at the field level, a full system audit trail, calculated downtime that includes the departments’ hours of operation for accurate reporting, custom critical messages and a new chat feature that allows technicians to communicate with each other inside the application to quickly solve problems. AIMS 3 also includes all of the functionality in the earlier AIMS.NET platform, such as data exports, reporting, dashboards, mobile use and more. Additionally, AIMS 3 can interface with any third-party software, including ServiceNow.
Sable: EQ2’s HEMS Enterprise offers the hospital a flexible implementation, hosted or cloud (SaaS-software as a service) solution. The solution is modular, meaning the HTM team can determine their needs and purchase only those features required for their solution, knowing that they can easily add to their system in the future to address their evolving needs. Additionally, HEMS provides tools to assist with AEM implementation, dashboards, performance and benchmarking analytics for KPI reporting, department dashboards for enhanced customer communication, easy-to-use technician applications for work order management, a mobile application that operates offline and easy visibility into recalls and network security risks. We also have an advanced call center/dispatch board with automatic multi-level escalation based on time elapsed, location, problem, shift, etc. Finally, EQ2’s HEMS Enterprise offers several modern APIs for interfacing to additional systems making HEMS the central asset management hub.
Gresch: We regularly seek input from industry thought leaders (both customers and potential customers) on current feature-set improvements as well as anything our CMMS may be missing. Through our “Voice of the Customer” (VOC) process we have made enhancements to our Connectiv and TMS products that solve specific industry needs (like cybersecurity, workflows, standardized codes) while providing future expandability through integrations and data management tools. When we identify a new requirement or trend, we seek guidance from a myriad of sources to identify the impact and potential solutions to those trends. We also have industry thought leaders on our team who have worked several decades in the industries we serve that monitor and predict industry trends and work with our product development team to stay ahead of those trends.
Holetz: Generally, Nuvolo starts that process with a deep assessment of the current needs/pain points and business outcomes the HTM department is looking for in switching CMMS systems. Current customers have access to a dedicated customer success team who act as the tip of the spear for engagement with support, innovation or even Nuvolo subject matter experts – like Heidi Horn and Dustin Smith – to help with business process and tactical areas of focus. In terms of solving for ever-evolving needs, that is tricky. I would never say any system is perfect. Some systems have features that are incredibly important to some organizations and not so important to others, beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. To help address this, Nuvolo pushes out four major releases a year with enhancements to our Suite of Connected Workplace application. Many of which are to address changing compliance needs or innovation requests coming from customers.
Mannisto: Our implementation team works with customers to complete the conversion of their current CMMS by moving all data into AIMS 3. This ensures that every customer has an accurate conversion for full access and usability in one system. Unlike other CMMS products on the market, users don’t have to use their old system to access historical data, while using the new system for current data entry. We set real delivery dates for every step of the implementation including training, workflows and data normalization. Full implementation can be achieved in as little as 90 days, with some completed in even less time.
Sable: EQ2 is one of the few CMMS vendors solely focused on health care. So we are fully in tune with the unique needs of health care as we conduct product demonstrations, interviews and meetings for both clients and potential clients. With this combination, EQ2 can be certain that we fully understand the CMMS requirements needed by health systems and that we can provide a strategic demo and pricing for the product(s) that will help achieve their goals. Naturally the discussion of mobility, workflows and interfacing with other systems is discussed as this has been trending for existing and potential clients. Regular communication with our clients enables our product to be ever evolving to meet regulatory, workflow, reporting and interface needs.
Gresch: Health care organizations that leverage advanced CMMS and asset management technology can increase utilization rates and breakdown operational silos. In addition, systems that employ these solutions can lower associated costs, increase equipment availability, and offer patients, visitors and staff a better experience and greater peace of mind. Beyond technology, the provider you partner with should be able to offer expertise to evaluate your current processes, key performance indicators and highlight step-by-step improvement recommendations to make your healthcare technology and biomedical departments a strategic asset.
Holetz: As mentioned above, the CMMS system should act as a strategic tool to the entire organization – not just a work order system and asset tracking system. If set up and managed properly, the CMMS system is an absolute gold mine of data that can be used strategically by many other departments across a health system.
Mannisto: It is important to do your research when replacing your CMMS. While many vendors offer similar CMMS systems, longevity with respect to the vendor and the software are important. Quick and easy access to technical support services for efficient issue resolution should be considered. Choose a CMMS vendor that builds their software based on user and industry requirements, while incorporating technological advances.
Sable: A CMMS is more than just a software application – it is a complete system to bring your department’s strategic goals, policies, procedures, processes, workflows and reporting needs to fruition. It’s important to choose a vendor with proven experience in the health care environment and a vendor dedicated to customer service to help you achieve your goals as you configure your CMMS. If you are upgrading or changing your CMMS, you should prepare to clean your data, determine your reporting needs, and determine any additional system interfacing and mobility needs. Also be sure to involve your IT department, since they know if the system should be hosted or cloud-based, the sign-on security configuration, and the hardware and software standards for your organization. No doubt, the CMMS is your greatest means for a centralized asset management system which allows you to configure your department’s KPIs, asset classifications, and interface with other information systems such as cybersecurity or ERP. Finally, the CMMS is used to measure and report on this information, automate workflows, assist end users and help desk personnel with requests, and for capital asset planning using your actual data.
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