OC Reilly Blog: Measuring to Manage Medical Equipment Costs
By George Vunovic, Executive Vice President, Technologies, OC Reilly Inc., and Chief Executive Officer, MEM Strategies LLC
(May 23, 2016)—The medical equipment segment of the healthcare industry has posed a challenging area in which to effectively achieve sustainable cost efficiencies – partly because the lure of new technologies can skew achieving adequate returns on investment, and partly because accurately calculating the true cost of using equipment can become difficult.
But those hurdles don’t preclude the value and importance of measuring medical equipment costs.
In an online article titled “Getting the Right Mix of Medical Equipment Assets,” found at http://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=30432, it reads, “Reducing costs is not just about blindly buying less – it’s about buying smart, planning effectively, and making the best use of equipment and staff. The simple reality is that many hospitals have yet to achieve these optimal levels of efficiency…The good news is that increasing numbers of hospitals appear to be proactively seeking to obtain the right mix of assets and to manage them effectively, because they understand that efficiency in these areas will be critical for success and growth in today’s tough economic times.”
The article goes on to cite Baptist Health System in Jacksonville, Florida, as an example of addressing medical equipment as a key to overall cost efficiency, stating, “To provide visibility into the actual costs of maintaining its equipment, Baptist Health undertook an annual data analytics process using a technology assessment and real-time reporting system framework that enabled the organization to track how long every service event lasted and how much it cost.
“Baptist Health’s service engineers, clinical users, and managers now use this system regularly to predict service events before they occur and gauge the necessity of replacing devices.”
A fundamental concept of business tells us that “If you can measure it, you can manage it.” The same goes for medical equipment across a healthcare system, no matter how large or small.
Figuring out the best way to assign metrics to usage and cost represents the first – and perhaps most difficult – step. But once in place, the cost efficiencies that remain hidden today can be revealed, to the benefit of the system.