Q: What are the benefits of the newer CMMS technologies? What do you use your CMMS for? Is it just for PMs?
A: The CMMS is our primary tool in our tool kit. The CMMS is much more than a PM tracker. Of course, it does generate our regularly scheduled preventive maintenance but it is much more. It is used to inventory every single medical device that comes into the facilities whether or not we touch the device with our own hands. It is used to capture the purchase order that the device is ordered on and the acquisition cost. We capture the MAC address, the IP address, software revision levels, any other pertinent network connectivity information (VPN), does it contain and/or transmit protected information, encryption strategies for any stored data … all of this information is contained in the device history file for each inventory item in our CMMS.
The CMMS builds and displays the dashboard data. All facilities in our health system have a video dashboard in our healthcare technology management department office. The video display has all of the monthly and annual pertinent data for the performance of the HTM team at that facility – PM completion, CM completion, average repair time, and many other data points that are graphically displayed. This way all technical team members can look up and see a snapshot of how the team is performing. The CMMS manages recalls and field corrections for medical devices. The CMMS tracks our expenses through connectivity with our financial system where purchase orders are generated. It tracks our labor time so that we can understand how the team is performing, who and when team members are on duty so calls are distributed automatically. The CMMS is our source for the financial audit team. The audit team can track the installed devices of the facility and match it against the depreciation schedule.
The HTM team builds the cost-of-service ratio by using the data of the CMMS. The CMMS is used to track all purchased service, including service contracts. The CMMS has the full “inventory” of all purchased service contracts and each contract’s terms and conditions are matched with individual pieces of equipment so that technicians can just pull up relevant data on their tablet devices as to how a contracted device is covered, i.e. hours of coverage, parts coverage, etc., including the service entity’s contact phone number. This allows tremendous efficiency so that technicians can respond quickly while mobile and actually make the appropriate arrangements on covered devices for service without too much delay or complexity. The CMMS allows our caregiver customers to place service requests. The CMMS, due to its web-enabled enterprise structure, allows access for any credentialed user, not only HTM technicians but also the CEO, COO, CFO, nursing director, nurse, etc., this way the HTM program has full transparency. PM schedules and CM status are available to all users. No need for ugly, gooey PM stickers to cover our devices.
As you can see from the above narrative, the CMMS plays a major role to complete the “tool belt” of our healthcare technology management program and technicians. It is much more than a PM tracker.
A: All that sounds just wonderful, as long as the people end of it gets done. Do you actually believe that all equipment that comes in to your facilities that you don’t touch get entered? Do you actually think nurses go and check on a computer to see if the PM has been done on the equipment they use? We can’t even get them to notice the different colored stickers on the equipment. We’d have no idea what rental beds come into the hospital if it wasn’t for the company sending their records to us. Heck, we can’t even get the nurses to plug in battery-powered devices to keep them charged! I doubt our nurses are any worse or better than anywhere else. It does sound like you get a bunch of good info. Sadly, we seldom get notice of what equipment is purchased, since it’s all done by corporate, it just shows up. Trying to get the info from corporate as to price and such is very difficult since we can’t look at the purchase orders they produce. As for IP address, and such, again corporate IT sees no reason why we, the people who maintain it, should have any need for such. With any equipment that gets connected to the network the request for that connection goes through, you guessed it, corporate IT. Must be sweet to have the power to do what it sounds like you’re able to do.
A: Your experience sounds very disappointing. At our health corporation, the corporate HTM department, reports to the corporate chief information officer (CIO). The CIO is also the senior vice president and has oversight of the supply chain. Yes, our HTM program actually is an integral part of the entire enterprise. Nothing capital gets purchased without the HTM team knowing. Every single purchase must be signed off by the corporate director of HTM (that’s me). Every one of my director’s at the local level facility is engaged in the capital acquisition process. They counsel our patient care and diagnostic departments on the equipment that should be “on-the-radar” for replacement. That capital plan also gets communicated to senior leaders. The HTM directors request the quotations for the local facility leaders. Yup, we’re connected. Of course, since we report directly to the corporate CIO, we get full cooperation from our IT peers. Our team members are the medical device integration implementers, so working hand-in-hand with our IT brethren and getting the required IP addresses from IT for medical devices that connect to the network is part of our process. Medical device cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility hence the need to document the IT strategies for medical devices in the CMMS. The HTM team also controls/monitors everything that gets rented. It can’t get rented unless the HTM department rents it. HTM manages all of the costs associated with rentals. Those rental costs are communicated to senior leaders throughout the organization. There is “skin-in-the-game” for all levels. HTM cannot let ventilators sit “in the shop” without getting repaired in a timely manner that could cause a need to rent. If HTM is tardy with repairs, someone in leadership will see an escalation in rental costs and start asking questions. Of course, there are times when rentals are appropriate since we budget capital for our typical census load. There are times when the census will balloon, such as flu season, this can cause the need to rent. Those anomalies are planned and budgeted for in our program. It is HTM’s responsibility to ensure that rented devices are promptly returned when not needed so that rental fees can stop in a timely manner. HTM is really the technology manager … at least you should be.
Of course I want nurses and clinicians to do patient care, not equipment care. I never depend on those folks to be the “lookouts” for devices due for PM. I expect my HTM team to get after the devices due for PM and not have the clinical care team worry if their devices are compliant or not. I expect my HTM teams to ensure we are compliant with our responsibilities. I hope the HTM leadership is monitoring your PM compliance efforts and asking questions if there are difficulties with compliance.
THE SHOP TALK article is compiled from TechNation’s ListServ and MedWrench.com. Go to www.1TechNation.com/Listserv or www.MedWrench.com/?community.threads to find out how you can join and be part of the discussion.
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