Better medical equipment management can increase revenue and reduce burnout
Medical equipment maintenance and management is an often overlooked subject when discussing the importance of efficient healthcare operations processes, especially in outpatient care settings. However, broken, faulty, and unmanaged equipment can create inefficiencies and create operation failures that will reduce the productivity of doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff directly associated with patient care at all levels of care.
A missing device, a miscalibrated machine, a malfunctioning instrument, can be extremely disruptive to a tightly scheduled and planned day within a healthcare center. These events, often unanticipated and unplanned for, will inflict chaos into the day and force providers to move patients, reschedule appointments, or even refer out their patients in emergency situations.
What is the impact?
Negative Patient Experience. Burnout. Lost Revenue.
Many individuals responsible for the day-to-day operations within a practice are experts in medical care and care coordination, not medical equipment management. This means that employees that can perform revenue-generating activities are being asked to spend time on administrative tasks that are beyond their expertise. A recent study points out that merely increasing the number of healthcare providers is not the solution to solving operational problems related to broken equipment. The researchers suggest that financial investment is needed to improve the overall “system”, thereby improving the efficiency of healthcare professionals. Software solutions, like UptimeHealth, were built to tackle these problems and should be strongly considered to eliminate waste.
A Harvard Business Review study revealed that interruptions in the supply and equipment planning processes have created many challenges for healthcare professionals. The study shows that as much as 10% of the workday of nurses is wasted as a result of misplaced or broken equipment. As a result, some nurses arrive 30 minutes before the actual arrival time to proactively compensate for the interruptions made by these types of failures, further contributing to the burnout felt by the industry.
Delays in patient care and long wait times can severely hurt the reputation and patient satisfaction score of the facility. This effect can be moderated through a cross-departmental communication within the healthcare facility to identify the problems in the initial stage and implement remedial measures, instead of waiting for the last minute. It is important to note that nurses and doctors alone cannot execute these changes. Therefore, senior management and compliance departments need to get involved in the process and must make sure that high-quality material is delivered to patient-care centers within the appropriate timeframe.
It is hard to believe that providers are asked to spend more time in the hospital to adjust for systemic failures that can be corrected with affordable software solutions. Instead of asking nurses and providers to leave the bedside of a patient to deal with equipment issues, operations leaders should look for proactive ways to give them 10% of their day back and provide a better patient experience.
Lastly, the inefficiencies created by equipment failures can have a cascading effect on businesses. Without proper, working equipment, physicians and nurses may have to re-schedule their appointments or redirect their patients to other hospitals due to fault in their equipment or lack of suitable medical supplies. There are significant costs involved in each of these activities. For example, walk-in clinics and urgent cares will miss out on the revenue from a predicted patient’s current visit as well as potential future visits. For an inpatient clinic, there are also significant costs involved to transport a patient to another healthcare facility. If rooms are now unavailable because the equipment is unusable, providers are incurring unnecessary costs related to an over-staffed facility. Furthermore, with fewer rooms available, the delays in patient care and the long wait times can severely hurt the reputation and patient satisfaction score of the facility. As you can imagine, there are several other financial implications that can result from this.
It is important to note that nurses and doctors alone cannot execute these changes. Senior management and compliance departments need to get involved in the process and must make sure that high-quality material is delivered to patient-care centers within the appropriate timeframe.
There is a need to invest in solutions to manage medical equipment.
It should be obivious to see how broken or mismanaged equipment can significantly diverge the attention of healthcare providers from their core responsibilities. This fact calls for the need for a system in which equipment health is taken seriously and planned maintenance events are completed to limit unforeseeable and unfortunate situations.
Investing in solutions with data analytics can play a huge role in mitigating the inefficiencies caused by such failures. Big data analysis has become a huge part of many businesses and institutions around the world. It is an efficient way to analyze historical data and identify future trends in service histories to appropriately plan for potential future failures or replacement events.
At the end of the day, it all comes back to patient care. Healthcare facilities, no matter the size, should be doing what they can limit disruptions to the patient care enviornement. Investing in the correct technology to manage their medical devices will help them in their mission.