Staying in control of clinical device inventory and maintenance is a daunting challenge for Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) departments these days. Most health care organizations are still running legacy CMMS solutions that limit their ability to address modern challenges such as cybersecurity, regulatory compliance and AEM programs.
Even the issues that are seemingly simple require a huge manual effort, including:
Because of these main reasons there is a groundswell occurring within many health care organizations to implement a new, more modern CMMS solution. And this of course brings up the big question, “how do you choose the best future solution for your hospital?”
The customers we’ve spoken with over the past two years included an interesting mix of key considerations and criteria for their evaluation projects. We believe other HTM groups will find these useful as they begin their investigations. This article will provide a high-level overview of the three most common criteria that we identified during discussions with other health care organizations in 2018 and 2019.
Criteria 1: Aligning your business needs (current and future)
The first consideration really points to the specific business requirements for your hospital and biomed engineering teams. Working together, you will need to create a mapping list of the current processes and programs that you support and will continue to manage, and then add-in the future programs you would like to implement as part of the deployment for a new CMMS solution. The total criteria will make up a detailed list of business requirements you can utilize as a checklist during your assessment of different modern CMMS platforms.
This listing should also include business opportunities for process improvements over your current models to help drive efficiencies. Examples of common process challenges we heard from other health care organizations include the following:
Criteria 2: Requirements for reporting and analytics
The next key considerations revolve around improving data-driven decision making and ensuring regulatory compliance. Most health care organizations we spoke with saw these as critical areas to improve on with the help of a more modern CMMS platform, and both topics have reporting and analytics at their core.
Choosing a modern CMMS solution that has well-defined data policies which help enforce accurate information gathering, especially at the point of service for clinical devices, was flagged as a top priority in picking a new CMMS platform. Accurate reporting is only possible when solid data is collected within the system. Free-form text data fields are difficult to use for categorized reports. Enabling technicians and nurses to use drop-down lists to choose the appropriate entries will ensure that reporting metrics can be leveraged accurately, as well as making the data entry for certain fields mandatory.
Ultimately, the accurate reporting and analytics will help with audits from The Joint Commission (TJC) or DNV. And customizable reports should be easy to configure for any specific needs by the HTM team. Additional benefits for accurate reporting and improved data analytics that were listed by hospitals we talked with include:
Criteria 3: Flexibility for customization and integration
The final, and probably the most highly rated consideration was the ability of the new CMMS solution to integrate easily with other systems to share information. Oftentimes the requirement was for bi-directional data sharing of certain fields and allowing other systems to trigger remediation requests, or actual work orders, within the CMMS platform. These type of shared services between other groups such as IT, purchasing and supply chain are necessary to drive actions into other systems to tie business processes together.
Examples of how this type of flexibility for integration would help with important business processes include the following:
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