Most hospitals today use some form of computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS, to help manage their medical devices, inventory, maintenance and more. But many of these tools are legacy CMMS solutions that primarily handle work order management and do not integrate with other systems throughout the organization. This leads to a cycle of waste, redundancy, miscommunication and increased cybersecurity vulnerabilities.  

To keep up with the times, healthcare systems need to modernize their CMMS to improve mobile capabilities, streamline reporting and analytics and automate workflows within and between departments. It is also critical that the CMMS for the modern organization be able to manage cybersecurity initiatives, Alternative Equipment Maintenance (AEM) programs, equipment capital planning and the complete asset lifecycle—and go far beyond simple work order management.

A truly modern Healthcare CMMS can connect and transform your Healthcare Technology Management (HTM), Healthcare Facilities Management (HFM), Supply Chain and IT departments to transform the patient experience and ensure ongoing compliance with policies, laws and regulations.  

 

Common Challenges Hospital Operations Face

modern healthcare challenges cmms

Healthcare organizations face increasingly difficult challenges. While the COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on America’s healthcare infrastructure and operating margins, there are also growing concerns about cybersecurity risks and the effects of the aging technician workforce.

Shrinking hospital margins

Hospital margins were trending in the right direction in 2021 – compared to 2020 – but they were still well below 2019 numbers thanks, in part, to workflow shortages and increased supply costs. As Kaufman Hall notes, “Hospitals’ median change in operating margin for the full year of 2021 (without CARES Act relief) rose 44.8% compared to 2020, but still remain 3.8% below margins from the entirety of 2019.”  

In the same vein, while gross operating revenue was up 14.7% compared to 2020, labor expenses were up 19.1% since 2019, and non-labor expenses saw a 19.9% rise. Meeting these challenges and offsetting these higher costs will require increased efficiency across the board.  

Workforce shortages

The healthcare workforce has not been faring well in recent years, and it has been well-documented. Even before the pandemic, mental health concerns, risk of burnout, emotional exhaustion and depression were on the rise.  

Now, many in the workforce are leaving their jobs. “AHA survey data show that between 2019 and 2020, job vacancies for various types of nursing personnel increased by up to 30%, and for respiratory therapists by 31%. These shortages are expected to persist, with an analysis of EMSI data showing there will be a shortage of up to 3.2 million health care workers by 2026.”  

And this is a big issue for patient care. The ECRI has acknowledged staffing shortages as the number one risk to patient safety.  

What’s more, the community is aging, and not enough young people are entering the field to replace them. The mean age of radiology technicians recently rose from 50 to 52.4; the age of level-three Biomed technicians rose from 49 to 52; and overall, the age of healthcare technicians rose from 49 to 51.

Cybersecurity risks

Medical equipment and facility management systems are increasingly intelligent and interconnected, and this has changed the game for healthcare organizations, allowing for improved communication, cross-departmental insight, process automation, and other game-changing benefits.  

But with increased technology comes increased cyberattack risk. In 2021, cybersecurity breaches of all kinds in the healthcare industry hit an all-time high. “45 million individuals were affected by healthcare attacks [in 2021], up from 34 million in 2020. That number has tripled in just three years, growing from 14 million in 2018, according to the report, which analyzes breach data reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by healthcare organizations. The total number of individuals affected increased 32% over 2020, meaning that more records are exposed per breach each year."  

In addition to these startling cybersecurity challenges, healthcare systems often face:

  • Lack of real-time visibility into equipment inventory, asset tracking and work order history
  • Lack of understanding of the true cost of ownership of medical assets to make optimal asset management decisions
  • Not having data to support Alternative Equipment Maintenance programs
  • Perceived medical equipment shortages often prompting unneeded equipment rentals or purchases
  • Low utilization rates with equipment only being used at a fraction of its potential
  • Delayed equipment and service requests causing patient safety and compliance problems
  • Lack of accurate reliability data to drive the best medical equipment selection
  • Failure to consistently focus on high-priority work due to broken workflow systems
  • Frequent reactive rather than scheduled maintenance and service requests

This leads to inefficiency, decreased revenue and a lack of regulatory compliance. A modern healthcare CMMS can help.

Disconnected systems  

Many healthcare organizations still run on pen-and-paper systems or a patchwork of applications and tools. This inherently leads to duplicate efforts and manual processes which ultimately:  

  • Decrease efficiency  
  • Increase costs  
  • Increase overall risk  

These issues become even more starkly apparent when compared to modern, well-connected organizations. Those with legacy systems will continue to fall further and further behind.  

 

Advantages of a Modern CMMS Software Solution

One of the most important advantages of using a modern CMMS is to adhere to ever-changing government regulations and maintain high standards during performance audits required by regulatory agencies, such as The Joint Commission, CMS and DNV.

A healthcare CMMS helps to collate all the vital information and generate accurate reports for audits. It will also safely store all the required PM schedules and equipment records in an easy-to-access centralized location where you can find them easily during compliance audits.  

A modern CMMS can also identify every device that is on an AEM and run an AEM inventory report if requested by the Joint Commission, perform automated risk scoring to determine which devices should be on an AEM program, and complete ongoing behind-the-scenes monitoring and prompt for review if those decisions caused failure rates to increase.

In addition to regulatory compliance, a modern healthcare CMMS software solution will also:

  • Consolidate HTM, HFM, supply chain and IT onto one platform
  • Automate and streamline service request workflows
  • Identify and manage equipment spend more efficiently using real-world data to improve operating margins
  • Manage equipment location, servicing and distribution using real-time tracking data
  • Modernize and simplify the way technicians work with mobile capabilities
  • Build automation with configurable workflows, out-of-the-box dashboard and report creation
  • Automate scheduled maintenance and alternative equipment maintenance (AEM)
  • Leverage native analytics for insights and better decision-making
  • Optimize and automate processes with integrations built on secure APIs
  • Mitigate cybersecurity risks

 

Why You Should Implement a Modern Healthcare CMMS

Growing competition and slashed budgets require that all hospitals and healthcare facilities work at maximum efficiency to stay competitive and compliant. Investing in a modern CMMS is the easiest way for healthcare organizations to streamline operational efficiency and increase profits while staying compliant with constantly changing policies, laws and regulations and mitigating cybersecurity risks.

For plant operators and facility managers who want to maintain uptime, clinical engineers who value precise data to track asset health and automate services and equipment distribution requests, and IT departments who need detailed information and predictive analytics to ward off medical device cyber-attacks, a suite of connected tools, sensors and databases in a modern healthcare CMMS can be as essential as traditional tools and test equipment.

 

How Does a Healthcare CMMS Increase Efficiency?

Many healthcare organizations are still operating on multiple legacy and siloed applications. A modern, consolidated healthcare CMMS will:

  • Replace disparate systems, Excel sheets and physical paperwork used for tracking, supplies, workflows and work orders
  • Consolidate HTM, HFM, supply chain and IT onto one platform
  • Improve team management with mobile access and browser and device-agnostic user interface
  • Centralize and automate services and equipment request processes onto a single pane of glass
  • Save time and eliminate delays caused by emergency breakdowns and unavailable inventory
  • Increase the ability to track critical assets and data with real-time information
  • Build automation with drag and drop workflow and report creation
  • Leverage native analytics for insights and better decision-making
  • Enable hospitals to properly plan future capital spending for equipment and maintenance
  • Optimize and automate processes with integrations built on secure APIs

 

How Does a Modern Healthcare CMMS Help with Medical Device and Facility Management Security?  

Healthcare organizations have hundreds, if not thousands, of medical devices and facilities systems that are connected to the internet and vulnerable to attack. Properly identifying medical device and security risks is critical to IT. A modern healthcare CMMS can quickly identify significant risks or gaps, then automate and track the remediation or mitigation. A modern CMMS will also:  

  • Analyze and report against all medical devices, network data and software
  • Reconcile MDS2 data and other security attributes against inventory
  • Automate workflows unique to your organization when potential security risks or gaps are found
  • Integrate with network monitoring tools

 

Using Modern Healthcare CMMS Software to Manage Scheduled Maintenance

Having customizable and automated planned preventive maintenance (PM) tasks built into the CMMS and available in the PM work order makes it much easier for your techs to quickly locate every task that must be completed and ensures they are following all the required activities. It also provides quick access to the required activities if needed for a compliance review.

One of the most important features of a modern CMMS, however, is having the necessary data to create and support a compliant alternative equipment maintenance (AEM) program for your health system. While it sounds simple enough, developing an AEM schedule requires a lot from your CMMS to document compliance that legacy systems do not provide.

 

What to Look for in the Best Modern Healthcare CMMS Solutions

The best healthcare CMMS software solutions are mobile-enabled and web-based CMMS solutions that manage all aspects of asset management (medical devices, facility equipment and biomedical equipment), work order management, financials and expenses, scheduled maintenance, risk and compliance reporting, equipment distribution and more. A modern healthcare CMMS provides:

  • Full asset lifecycle management from pre-assessment, acquisition, support to final disposition and data insights
  • Ability to build flexible workflows with a configurable rules engine – without code or SQL
  • Predictive analytics to allow for AEM implementation
  • Robust and updated capital planning data
  • Improved communication between Facilities, Operations and IT teams
  • Big data for better analytics
  • Automated parts procurement process with industry-leading vendors
  • Connect systems and automated processes with out-of-the-box integrations with RTLS providers, parts vendors, product recalls and alerts, network monitoring tools, ERPs and Time and Attendance
  • Proactively secure medical devices and protect against cyber threats

 

How Accruent Can Help

Healthcare organizations that leverage advanced CMMS and Asset Management technology can increase utilization rates and break down operational silos. In addition, systems that employ these solutions lower associated costs, increase equipment availability, and offer patients, visitors and staff a better experience and greater peace of mind.

Beyond technology, Accruent experts are available to evaluate your current processes, key performance indicators and highlight step-by-step improvement recommendations to make your healthcare technology and facilities departments a strategic asset.

Contact us today to start a conversation about how Accruent can help you with your asset management needs.

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