The process of going lean in healthcare involves looking at core operational processes, eliminating waste, and shortening the timeline of ancillary events so all activities can be focused on patient care.
Take for example, managing medical equipment in your hospital. If you want to apply lean principles to asset management processes you first need to identify and eliminate internal inefficiencies.
Here are 3 simple ideas for going lean with asset management in a hospital:
- Do you know what you have on hand?
- Do you know whether equipment is being used efficiently?
- Do you know if equipment gets back to a pool of available assets in a timely manner?
When your medical staff is providing care to patients they need access to the necessary equipment right away! I know, sometimes it’s faster to place a call for a rental than to search for equipment in supply rooms, basements, or other “designated” spaces for storing equipment. However, keep in mind that by taking this shortcut you pay for the equipment you need twice – once when you purchase the equipment, and a second time when you pay a rental company for the medical equipment you’ll actually be using.
With the use of an RTLS-based asset management system, you can see the location and an availability of all medical equipment in real-time.
Equipment sitting idle is simply a waste of money. If you have reliable information on how your assets are being used, you can make evidence-based decisions on equipment reallocation, approval of purchase requests, and making buy versus rent decisions. For example, if a specific type of equipment is not utilized at a high rate – you might get a better ROI by renting than purchasing it; conversely – if the utilization rates of rental devices are at their peak – you might want to buy it instead of continuing to send money to a rental vendor.
With the use of an RTLS-based asset management system, you can see the actual utilization rates of the equipment.
In a busy hospital environment, it’s not unusual that long after a patient leaves the hospital a piece of equipment still stays in a patient room or is tucked somewhere on the hospital floor. By including a link between the patient’s discharge and a disassociation of the equipment used to provide care in your workflow processes, you can streamline your supply chain operations.
With the use of an RTLS-based asset management system, you can send an automated notification that a piece of equipment is ready to be cleaned or to be picked up by a rental vendor via email.
These are just a few examples of getting leaner with asset management. I look forward to hearing your best practices for optimizing equipment utilization to reduce waste and positively impacting your bottom line.