EQ2 has a unique perspective on managing the maintenance of hospital assets in that its HEMS® software “was born in a hospital.” In fact the acronym HEMS itself speaks to those roots as it stands for “Hospital Equipment Management System.”
It all started in 1983 when the University of Vermont, the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), and the Kellogg Foundation worked together to create a software product to help the university and other hospitals manage biomed and facility maintenance activities. Seeing numerous benefits from using the fledgling software application, hospitals soon put HEMS to work managing the maintenance of their biomed equipment and also for facility management as well.
In 1993 EQ2 was formed in Burlington, Vermont to commercialize HEMS and further develop it into a multi-faceted hospital product. Twenty-five years later, HEMS is the leading CMMS product dedicated to providing hospitals with software for use by HTM (including imaging), facilities, IT and environmental services. HEMS is now in its seventh release and available on a cloud platform or for installation on a local server. Today, EQ2 has offices in Charlotte, North Carolina and Camarillo, California.
Focused on the Needs of Hospitals
So why has EQ2 continued to focus just on hospitals? “Because HEMS was designed and continuously evolves to address the specific and unique needs of hospitals,” says EQ2 CEO Joe Eichberger. “The evolving technology advancements, changing compliance requirements and demands for improving efficiency in hospitals cannot be met with a general industry product. Nor does a product crafted to satisfy the hospital fit the needs of other industries. Further, the focus and expertise needed to make and support a really good hospital product cannot be put together when trying to service a number of industries. A hospital is a very unique type of organization. While it has some things in common with traditional businesses, it has the unique mission of treating ill or injured people. This is why HEMS has stayed true to its hospital roots and every new or improved module we release is to better serve the hospital’s needs. And, we’re not finished – we have a long list of projects in our pipeline to keep HEMS on the leading edge.”
Modular and Affordable
Speaking of modules, HEMS has evolved dramatically from its roots as a basic software application to one that now offers many modules that a hospital can choose from based on its needs due to size, number of locations, budget and the specific service areas that it wants to serve. It also can be deployed on a hospital’s own server or in the cloud as a SaaS solution.
“With the modular and SaaS concept, we truly are affordable and easy to deploy for anyone,” says EQ2 Director of Sales Kim Stovall. “We have small, stand-alone hospitals using HEMS and we have large hospital systems that use HEMS in dozens of locations, as well as everything in between. The hospital just picks the modules, service areas and number of locations that it wants HEMS to support and gets started. Later they can always add additional modules, service areas and locations as the budget or other conditions allow or require.”
The modules cover everything from the use of mobile devices in the field to ECRI recalls to dashboards with a unique view, depending on the user’s role. In fact, the dashboards module now addresses, in part, a challenge facing all HTM departments – Alternative Equipment Maintenance (AEM). It guides HTM staff throughout their AEM journey by identifying which devices can be on an AEM program and which ones must remain on device manufacturers’ recommendations per the requirements of The Joint Commission, CMS and standard EC.02.04.01. Since AEM practices are device specific, HEMS takes a lot of the work out of setting up and maintaining the AEM program, making it much easier for the HTM staff to make the program effective and compliant.
EQ2 and events
EQ2 participates in many events including the AAMI Annual Conference and MD Expo as a way of connecting with the HTM community. At AAMI, the company has exhibited in the expo for many years, has participated in the interoperability showcases and has presented numerous times in the educational conference. And at last year’s event, AAMI announced the release of a new book titled Computerized Maintenance Management Systems for Healthcare Technology Management, 3rd Edition which includes examples of HEMS.
“We always enjoy seeing old friends at AAMI, some of which have been our customers for over 20 years,” says EQ2 Chief Technology Officer Vishal Malhotra. “And when meeting new customers we enjoy hearing about their successes as well as their pain points. Their feedback plays a key role in our development. Often, we can show them a new release that provides a solution to a problem they’re having or we can advise them when a solution will be available.”
And with this year marking the twenty-fifth year of EQ2 serving hospitals, the staff is just as excited as always for AAMI. “We invite all attendees to come by booth #642 and be part of our 25-year celebration!” says EQ2 Product Manager Rich Sable.
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