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August 31, 2017
HEALTHCARE NEEDS TO GET PROACTIVE ABOUT ASSET MANAGEMENT
By: John Walko

How enterprise asset management saves money and maximizes service

Most everyone in healthcare gets the concept of smart asset acquisition. How many focus enough on knowing what they already have?

The concept of enterprise asset management (EAM) has been around a while. It is standard in the airline industry and downstream petroleum operations. Nowadays the practice has come into play at many large-scale healthcare systems.

Healthcare spends billions on capital equipment such as medical devices, facilities, and IT hardware. Yet much of that value trickles away when administrators lack total understanding of what they own.

EAM is management of an enterprise’s assets across all departments, facilities, business units and geographical locations. EAM integrates techniques for holistic control and optimization throughout those assets’ varying lifecycles. It brings together planning, acquisition, commissioning, operations and eventual replacement.

Once implemented, EAM’s benefits are substantial. A successful EAM program will typically save an enterprise between 5 and 20 percent in annual capital equipment purchases.

Think of something simple: hospital beds. A hospital may have 10 different types of beds on site, each designed for a different type of patient. If a patient issue comes up, say bedsores, administrators may think of purchasing a new bed for that patient without knowing such a bed is already on site. Enterprise asset management makes such tracking automatic, avoiding unnecessary purchases or rentals.

For example, a large medical center that included a real-time locator system as part of its EAM program identified a 30 percent under-utilization of their IV pumps. Having a firmer grasp of existing assets enabled them to save money by reducing the number of new IV pumps purchased.

Money saved from purchasing equipment already in stock means more budget for investments that could attract more patients, like robotics surgery.

EAM can also ensure more thorough regulatory compliance. An EAM program can routinely schedule the maintenance and repair of critical equipment before breakdowns create costly problems down the road.

In addition, it can substantially enhance operational efficiency. A large non-profit healthcare system implemented EAM across all its regions and facilities, and reported a 20 percent reduction in service-response times.

Presently, close to half of larger healthcare operations practice some kind of EAM. Substantially fewer do it well. It is not a top-of-mind priority. But as healthcare operations continue growing via mergers and expansion, EAM will increasingly help delineate healthcare’s leaders.

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