Best Practices and Benefits of Medical Equipment Management Software
Medical healthcare facilities and hospitals face several challenges in daily operations. Here are six of the most common inventory management issues and seven best practices on how to deal with them.
Medical facilities such as hospitals rely heavily on their equipment. However, the medical industry seems to struggle with managing its equipment inventory. This causes millions of dollars in losses and according to a study, 10 to 20% of inventory at the hospitals goes missing every year.
This is more than just about the monetary losses because lack of equipment can cause delays in offering adequate medical care to the patients. This may not only damage the hospital's reputation but also have legal implications for negligence.
If you are a medical healthcare facility wondering how to ensure adequate medical equipment management, this post is for you. You are going to learn about the best practices for medical equipment management. Furthermore, this post will offer you information on how medical equipment management software can help you ace the inventory management domain.
Common Challenges in Medical Equipment Management
Medical healthcare facilities and hospitals face several challenges in daily operations. However, here are six of the most common issues faced in inventory management.
The Healthcare industry is highly-regulated and must stay compliant with strict policies by the federal agency. Without an adequate and up-to-date equipment management system, a medical healthcare service provider can be vulnerable to loss and theft of controlled substances and critical medical equipment.
Such incidents may cause legal penalties, and a lack of documentation and proper procedure to secure your equipment can be a serious offense.
2. Disorganized Inventory Controls
Manual inventory management on a spreadsheet means scattered data. This will result in a lack of transparency and organization of medical equipment. This is one of the main reasons your hospital needs medical equipment database software.
3. Information Management
Many healthcare facilities still use manual methods to manage their equipment inventory. These include tasks such as entering information on newly purchased equipment, stock checks, and maintenance schedule. However, this leaves the medical facilities prone to human errors.
4. Leakage Cost
Most of the time, medical equipment is quite expensive. Losing high-value equipment can cost hospitals thousands of dollars, if not more.
5. Resources and Time Management
Manual inventory management is a time-consuming activity. Plus, it requires human resources, i.e., personnel or a team who can run a manual stock check, update records, and track equipment's whereabouts by contacting relevant departments.
Trying to track the right equipment can take a long time, causing delays, and we know time is of the essence in hospitals. A delay in providing medical aid to the patients can have serious repercussions for the patients as well as the hospital management.
Best Practices for Medical Equipment Management
Inventory management requires a thorough strategy that will enable robust equipment tracking. If you are a hospital or a healthcare facility struggling with medical equipment management, here are seven best practices to help you get started.
1. Knowing Your Inventory
First, you must have your equipment supply count at your fingertips. You must also know the optimal number of equipment levels you require for continued medical operations. You must also look at your past records and establish how frequently you need to order certain equipment and other inventory supplies.
This will help your hospital replenish your inventory before you run out of equipment and other medical supplies.
2. Defining a Uniform Strategy
You must create a standard strategy when it comes to your supplies and medical equipment. For example, you can assign equipment to each department and track them by location. Similarly, you can label equipment by its manufacturer's code and serial numbers when issuing them to different departments.
Make sure that all the departments adhere to this standard equipment labeling policy and update records as and when they buy new equipment.
3. Managing Inventory Cycles
Most medical equipment has a fixed lifecycle and must be disposed of at some point. It is up to your healthcare technician to determine when to discard old equipment and maintain its record manually or via medical equipment service management software.
This database will not only help you figure out which equipment need replacing but also identify the most cost-effective equipment.
4. Disaster Management
Hospitals and medical care centers must have adequate equipment at all times, especially when it comes to emergencies. Plus, it is mandatory for the hospitals to ensure cleanliness and never reuse a disposable instrument after a single-use.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be probably the biggest medical emergency the world has faced in a century. Therefore, as a hospital manager, you must ensure that your medical facility has an adequate supply of instruments and equipment to deal with any emergency.
5. Secure Storage Spaces
Expensive medical equipment and instruments are lucrative for theft. There have been reports of thieves dressed up as service company employees and hospital staff stealing medical equipment from hospitals in Florida.
Therefore, you must ensure to keep all your medical equipment, instruments, drugs, and supplies in secure storage space. Furthermore, you must grant limited access to storage areas to certain responsible employees of the hospitals.
6. Inspection and Maintenance Checklist
You must inspect each new piece of equipment when it arrives for delivery. Enter it into your database whether you are using manual spreadsheets or medical equipment inventory software. You must also carry out a thorough inspection of all existing equipment to ensure longevity.
Another best practice is to establish a maintenance schedule. You can use medical equipment service maintenance management software for this purpose. This will allow you to schedule maintenance as well as update the current health status of all the equipment in your inventory.
You can start off by creating a clear set of instructions to inspect and maintain each piece of equipment. You can use the medical equipment scheduling software to designate responsibilities to specific technicians or personnel and set up protocols to report any defects or incidents of lost or missing equipment.
7. Deploying Medical Equipment Management Software
Manual inventory management is not only outdated but also complex as well. To be a smart healthcare facility, your hospital must adapt and implement smart solutions such as deploying medical equipment service management software.
This will not only help simplify your inventory system but also make the whole task less tedious. Now, you do not need to worry about wasting time and allocate specific resources to manage inventory. Each stakeholder, i.e., the department, can now take responsibility for its own equipment.
Plus, using centralized hospital equipment management software will allow all the employees to see the status of each piece of equipment in real-time. Decision-makers and managers will also be able to see the upcoming expense of equipment that is approaching its expiration. This information will help plan and budget proactively.
What is Medical Equipment Software?
Medical equipment management software allows hospitals and healthcare service providers to eliminate inadequate and outdated equipment maintenance and management methods. By automating your inventory management, you gain better control and visibility over our equipment and instruments.
For instance, cloud-based medical equipment service management software such as Itefy allows all stakeholders and management teams to access the current status of equipment remotely. Now you will be able to check your supplies' stock levels, schedule and track updates on equipment maintenance, and even forecast upcoming expenses to buy a new piece of equipment.
Medical equipment service booking software will also give you valuable insight into where your equipment is and the person or department accountable for it.
Benefits of Medical Equipment Service Management Software
Automation of your equipment management operations not only improves your services but also proves to be cost-effective. You will eliminate the cost of manual labor while reducing the risks of human errors. From inventory reports to equipment issuance and maintenance to performance analysis, a cloud-based system will allow your medical facility to ace various aspects of medical equipment management.
That said, here are some of the major benefits of implementing medical equipment management software in your medical healthcare facility.
1. Accuracy Guaranteed
Getting rid of manual solutions such as using spreadsheets or paperwork comes with the added benefit of accuracy. There are fewer to no instances of human errors, and you barely need to update the software very often.
Instead of creating separate spreadsheets or manual paper files to manage and track each task pertaining to your equipment, you can centralize this entire domain. Automated medical equipment service software will enable you to manage stock levels, equipment maintenance schedule, and current status, all from a single screen of your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
You will never run out of medical supplies as you will have a real-time view of current stock levels, and the system will notify you when any stock reaches critical levels. In case you ran out of any supplies or equipment was broken, every stakeholder and awaiting party in the hospital will be able to see when the new stock and equipment are available for use again.
2. Allowing You to Focus on Productivity
As a management team member, you do not want to worry about missing equipment all the time. Implementing medical equipment service management software will make things much easier. Let the software take care of all the creating maintenance reports, notify relevant personnel on approaching deadlines and equipment expiration dates, etc.
You can now focus on more productive operations of your business. Furthermore, this automation will also reduce the physical and mental stress your staff goes through. Having an automated healthcare maintenance system will empower your staff to pay more attention to their job duties, such as taking care of patients' needs.
3. Bird’s Eye View of Your Equipment
Using a medical equipment services booking software will allow you to enter each piece of equipment into your automated system. This way, you will have real-time updates and information about the equipment you have within your hospital.
From the date of entry into the system to the expected lifespan and anything in between, such as inspections and maintenance details, you will have all the details on a single platform. This automation will allow you to make well-informed decisions and budget your expenses accordingly.
You will know exactly when to procure new equipment and identify any errors that caused a piece of equipment to break down. As the system will hold certain employees responsible for the safety and maintenance of each piece of equipment, this accountability will alleviate instances of equipment loss or theft.
4. Going Green
Implementing medical equipment management software allows you to reduce your carbon footprint and become an eco-friendly medical healthcare facility. Customers prefer companies that are conscious of the effects of their operations on the environment. Therefore, this automation will not only help you become more accurate and efficient but also establish a respectable reputation in the market.
5. Improving Your Efficiency
Efficiency in the medical industry is a mix of robust equipment and adequate time management. An automated medical equipment management system will help you track your equipment, instruments, and supplies faster. This way, your staff members will not be wasting any time and be able to return to performing their expected duties in no time.
6. Reducing Losses
With automated biomedical equipment maintenance software, you will be able to monitor the health of your most expensive and sensitive equipment. This will ensure to protect your investment and avoid any disruptions in your medical healthcare services.
Are you a hospital facing any of the above-mentioned challenges? If yes, then automation is due. You can integrate medical equipment management software and reap its benefits from day one. These include accuracy of the information, automated maintenance, and mobile inventory management from wherever you want, whenever you want.
However, this solution is not only for hospitals but also for other medical facilities such as equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and solo practitioners. Automating the equipment management process will allow you to avoid layman work and focus on providing top-notch medical care and services to every incoming patient. Furthermore, you will also be able to use the freed-up staff and assign them more productive duties to increase the overall performance of your healthcare facility.