By Al Gresch

Usually, every year at capital budget time, your healthcare technology management (HTM) department will receive requests for inventory reports.

If you don’t know all the different iterations of a device type, manufacturer, model, etc., you have no hope of generating an accurate report.

What happens when you can’t provide an accurate report?

You lose credibility.

Using data and process, you can create value and recognition for your HTM department by implementing best practices across 10 areas of focus.

1. Global data standardization & master data management.

Create and maintain an accurate dataset for equipment and locations to ensure regulatory compliance and accurate reporting.

Perform data cleanup and conversion:
  • Establish a standard System Nomenclature for all asset data, including equipment categories, manufacturers and models
  • Establish a standard nomenclature for all location data, including site, building, department, floor, room, etc
  • Implement a standard User Nomenclature for end-users to submit service requests (mapped to System Nomenclature). For example, when a nurse submits a request for a “Infusion Brain”, that request would map to “Pump, Infusion, CareFusion, Alaris” in the System Nomenclature
  • Implement a Master Data Management (MDM) plan to ensure ongoing data integrity through a combination of controls and automated QA tools
  • If necessary, conduct a physical asset inventory and where feasible, apply passive RFID tags to automate future inventories

Watch the Step 1 On-demand Webinar

2. System-wide administration, security, policies and procedures.

Deploy and document LEAN corrective policies and procedures and checklists to enable process standardization, benchmarking and automation, with the objective of improving efficiency, productivity and uptime.

Develop a centralized model for system administration:
  • Determine appropriate role-based security model
  • Develop and document policies and procedures for system modifications
  • Develop and document policies and procedures for technical support and ongoing training

Watch the Step 2 On-demand Webinar

3. Asset Inventory and Work Order Management

Develop standard enterprise-wide policies and procedures for ongoing training, support, system access, and security using a multi-tiered, role-based model.

Develop a centralized model for capturing and tracking asset inventory across the lifecycle: from commissioning to retirement

  • Implement a risk model for asset classification
  • Implement standardized LEAN workflow for work order management
  • Determine what data should be captured and what should be required to manage and complete a work order whether in a remote location or at the bench
  • Document policies and procedures for the risk management model
  • Identify corrective maintenance procedures that should be standardized and implement these procedures as interactive checklists
  • Develop and document policies and procedures for asset management workflows

Watch the Step 3 On-demand Webinar

4. Regulatory compliance and preventive maintenance (PM).

Deploy and document LEAN PM, recall and alert policies and procedures to support compliance and an Alternate Equipment Management program, with the objective of improving efficiency, productivity and uptime.

Implement PM scheduling:
  • Implement a recall management process, and if possible, interface to your CMMS
  • Implement a library of reports for regulatory compliance audits
  • Develop PM schedule schema to optimize workforce, meet regulatory requirements and lay the foundation for an Alternate Equipment Management (AEM) Program
  • Develop a compliance handbook of standard policies and procedures for PMs and recall management, including documentation of PM scheduling guidelines and AEM overview
  • Identify PM procedures that should be standardized and implement these procedures as interactive checklists
  • Assess recall alerting services and implement an automated, closed-loop process for consuming alerts and issuing work orders

Watch the Step 4 On-demand Webinar

5. Service performance management.

Ensure service level agreements with end-customers are met or exceeded by introducing a standardized business process system-wide, and tracking performance, with the objective of delivering exceptional service at a lower cost.

Develop and implement a standard, closed-loop solution for request assignment, distribution, escalation and fulfillment:
  • Provide real-time visibility and accountability across the request fulfillment process via multiple avenues to keep everyone informed
  • Leverage key performance indicators to identify opportunities for continuous improvement – appropriate staffing levels, timeliness of work completion, operational cost reductions, etc
  • Develop Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with your “customers”
  • Develop a communication and training plan for your customers
  • Document processes and procedures for request assignment, distribution, escalation and fulfillment
  • Deploy wall-mounted monitors to show real-time service status

6. Parts & supplies management and procurement.

Deploy and document an enterprise-wide parts inventory management system to track usage, automatically manage supply levels, and automate the procurement and receiving process, with the objective of lowering parts costs and reducing the amount of time spent ordering and managing parts and supplies.

Implement a centralized parts management system that provides visibility into the inventory across the enterprise:
  • Automate par level management
  • Automate procurement and receiving with closed-loop to your ERP
  • Implement standard nomenclature for parts and supplies (part type, manufacture, p/n, suppliers)
  • Implement basic policies and procedures for inventory management
  • Validate existing inventory and implement policies and procedures for inventory management
  • Implement parts kits for standard procedures (e.g., preventive maintenance)
  • Automate procurement and receiving with closed-loop to key vendors

7.Third party service management.

Deploy and document an automated contract management system to centralize and rationalize service contracts, proactively flag equipment under service contracts, alert managers to pending contract expiration, and automate the documentation and performance of vendors against their SLAs.

Upload contracts to asset records along with key contract information:
  • Automate management of expiration dates
  • Map service contracts to assets
  • Create dashboards and reports to track vendor SLA compliance
  • Develop and implement standard processes and procedures for contract management
  • Rationalize contracts to identify opportunities to consolidate/eliminate contracts and vendors
  • Integrate with a major vendor CMMS to provide real-time work order updates and to eliminate manual data entry

8. Environment of care (EOC) rounding.

Deploy and document an automated, closed-loop system for assigning, distributing and completing EOC surveys, including any corrective, follow-up tasks that must be performed, with the objective of improving compliance, simplifying reporting, and reducing the time required to manage and fulfill EOC rounding requirements.

Implement interactive surveys:
  • Automate assignment and distribution of surveys
  • Automate corrective action assignment, distribution and tracking
  • Create dashboards and reports for monitoring EOC KPIs and reporting for audits
  • Design and document a closed-loop process for managing rounds and addressing any documented issues

9. Interoperability & automation.

Deploy and document interfaces between systems and equipment to extend automation and deliver higher levels of service and improve productivity.

Implement an interface with the Building Automation System(s) (BAS) to automate the creation, assignment and distribution of work orders from triggered alarm points:
  • Implement an interface with Recall alerting system to automate the creation, assignment and distribution of work orders from recall notifications
  • Implement an interface with PeopleSoft, Lawson, etc. to automatically send purchase requests to PeopleSoft, send purchase order (PO) updates and information to the CMMS, and automatically notify the worker upon receipt
  • Design workflow and document policies and procedures for the BAS alarm points interface
  • Design workflow and document policies and procedures for the recall/alert interface
  • Design workflow and document policies and procedures for the PeopleSoft procurement interface
  • Equipment integration
  • Helpdesk integration
  • EMR/ADT integration
  • Materials Management integration

10. Enterprise performance management.

Define key performance indicators (KPIs) and build real-time dashboards and reports for all stakeholders to create a culture of accountability by improving visibility and communication across the organization; meet with stakeholders quarterly to review progress and identify areas for improvement.

Design and implement customized dashboards and reports to track KPIs across staff levels, locations and sites:
  • Incorporate internal and external performance benchmarks
  • Meet regularly and consistently with staff and executive leadership to review KPIs
  • Review best practices progress and prioritize initiatives to drive continual improvement
  • Provide ongoing training sessions

In healthcare technology management, you are asked to support important decisions about resources, budget, and equipment.

You must be able to:
  • justify additional resources and increases to your operating budget
  • determine if existing equipment should be replaced with new equipment, or if you need to increase the amount of equipment
  • decide what type of equipment to purchase so that you are not stuck with subpar equipment that is difficult and expensive to maintain, unreliable, or has user issues (e.g., NPFs)

Fundamentally, your HTM program must provide a basic level of technology services and comply with applicable standards and regulations. More established HTM programs must move beyond the basics to provide additional services with a focus on cost-effectiveness. Advanced HTM programs must demonstrate the full range of potential for HTM contributions to patient care. While few programs can achieve this level of performance across the board, you still can find opportunities for continuous improvement, even at this level, according to AAMI's 2nd Edition of the HTM Levels Guide.