Clinical asset orchestration and risk management continues to evolve in a continuum of care that is ever more reliant on connectivity, with a coverage and protection area that has essentially become borderless. Comprehensive medical device inventories are essential to the life cycle management, risk profiling and the documentation requirements of health care organizations and there is no more important tool to an HTM/CE department than the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).
CMMS applications have evolved from being an application that generates scheduled preventative maintenance work orders and a place to document repairs, to being an advanced application tool allowing enterprise integration. As a common platform for all shared services and with robust integration, the CMMS can provide cybersecurity, critical vulnerability alerts and mitigation tracking attributes to those accountable in HTM/CE.
However, integration with the latest applications and the migration to more robust and capable CMMS solutions require clean and accurate inventory and classification of data. This is a component not often considered until the end of an engagement or implementation, but one that arguably has the most impact to HTM/CE.
We know data normalization and inventory cleanup is required. But where within the process do you find that concerted effort? After many months of planning and deployment, you receive the keys to your brand-new CMMS and all its advanced features, integrations and capabilities. It is an exciting time, but will you find yourself suddenly looking at the same data and any discrepancies through a different window?
What will the data cleanup effort look like in this new application, just as stakeholders are eager to see a return of increased visibility, resolution and reporting abilities?
Will you find yourself having to do so after the project budget is exhausted, with the same, limited operational resources?
Often, existing CMMS application tools are not maintained to a high degree over time and when paired with new integrations or the deployment of a visibility tool, discrepancies become evident, challenging the designated source of truth.
Initial, sometimes generic, device classifications are not always updated and input processes drift, resulting in inventories consisting of non-standardized classifications and naming conventions. High percentages of active asset errors accumulate because of everchanging inventory, lack of inclusion in supply chain processes, unreported inventory changes initiated by device owners and manual on/offboarding processes.
Consistency and inclusion in life cycle workflows along with ongoing asset record normalization and inventory reconciliation by the HTM/CE application owners are key to consistent inventory and visibility enhancements. Asset validation and attribute updates should be incorporated into HTM/CE maintenance activities. Leveraging the hundreds and thousands of monthly device encounters to validate asset attributes pays dividends when time to consider a refresh or the migration to a new CMMS.
Data to be migrated should be validated and normalized prior to migration using standardized classifications and nomenclature, with existing asset attributes updated or added prior to migration, in preparation for transformation and import to new systems.
A fine-tuned, well maintained CMMS that reflects accurate asset inventory and risk attributes not only increases operational efficiency, reporting ability and, ultimately patient safety and privacy through accounting and service delivery of all clinical assets, it also provides a foundation of consistency, accuracy and normalization that is critical to leveraging the latest integrations, future segmentation efforts and the ability to transform data for migration to new, more robust CMMS solutions.
CMMS clean up can be a difficult and resource intensive process, especially in a reactive, post-production posture with limited resources. But it is necessary to get the most out of the solution you have today or from a solution you are considering moving to down the road. Investing now in consistency, data clean-up, increasing attribute resolution and enhancing the overall accuracy and integrity of your CMMS will add value to your current state, the integrations you plan to deploy or CMMS migrations you consider in the future.
Olin Dillard, CHTM, HCISPP, CBET, is a Principal Cybersecurity Advisor at First Health Advisory.
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