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Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Why EAM is the Missing Piece

The sector that is perhaps the most critical candidate for digital transformation is the healthcare sector – the US healthcare system wastes approximately $1 trillion a year and most of it is due to administrative complexity leading to a wastage in medical supplies and equipment. The sector is slowly jumping on the bandwagon of digital transformation in an attempt to improve healthcare provision and increase the efficacy of processes.

In the midst of the ongoing digital transformation within the healthcare sector, advancements in technology are reshaping patient care delivery and operational efficiency. From the integration of telehealth solutions to the utilization of AI in medical devices, the landscape of healthcare is evolving rapidly.

In 2021, the industry saw a remarkable $280 billion invested in technology, highlighting the significant strides being made to enhance healthcare services. Amidst this digital revolution, it is imperative for healthcare organizations to recognize the critical role of healthy and efficient Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) in ensuring seamless operations and exceptional patient care.

An unhealthy EAM solution within the healthcare sector can have repercussions, including longer response times in patient care and exorbitant operational costs.

Patient response times may increase due to inefficient tracking and maintenance of medical equipment and supplies, leading to a delay in providing or inability to provide high-quality healthcare, Operational costs may escalate due to the inefficient allocation of resources, a disorganized and unplanned procurement process, and insufficient attention to timely equipment maintenance in order to extend the equipment lifespan.

Without a streamlined procurement process, a healthcare institution may be unable to manage inventory – often running out of essential supplies when needed or overstocking and tying up resources unnecessarily – which is part of the current problem of wastage.

Legacy systems and manual tracking methods pose threats to the integrity of working medical devices and crucial data, leaving institutions vulnerable to data loss and mismanagement. Inefficient asset management can lead to substantial financial burdens, not only in terms of equipment maintenance and servicing costs but also through non-compliance penalties stemming from overdue certifications and regulatory requirements. It can also pose a threat to patient safety.

For example, if an anesthesia machine is not cleaned and maintained regularly, it may not properly function, thereby putting a patient in danger.

Moreover, the misplacement or theft of essential medical devices amplifies operational overheads and jeopardizes critical data and security measures.These challenges underscore the urgent need for a comprehensive EAM solution tailored to the unique demands of the healthcare sector.

EAM systems play a pivotal role in mitigating these challenges and streamlining healthcare operations. Such solutions enable healthcare facilities to adhere to stringent regulatory requirements, ensuring that all equipment is used optimally and safely. Leveraging sophisticated tools, institutions can conduct internal audits and proactively address deficiencies, maintaining a secure and compliant environment.

Creating a culture of preventative maintenance allows healthcare organizations to address potential equipment disruptions, minimizing downtime and optimizing operational efficiency. This also significantly keeps costs under control as often the cost of repairing medical equipment is high.

A survey by a paper published in the National Library of Medicine states that the average repair cost of medical equipment is approximately 7.4% of its acquisition cost. On average, critical medical machinery can range from approximately $2,000 to over $100,000.

Strategic provisioning of users and equipment through advanced tools facilitates seamless allocation of assets to individual users and provides insights into utilization trends. Accordingly, healthcare organizations have clear insight into the availability of their assets and inventory, enabling them to organize processes and procedures better and ultimately provide timely patient care or services.

This also enables informed procurement decisions, ensuring that future investments align with the evolving needs of the healthcare ecosystem.

It is essential for healthcare institutions to leverage data in order to make informed decisions and manage the asset lifecycle better. Using an EAM system enables healthcare providers to analyze utilization trends, costs, the average lifecycle of an asset, its repair history, etc in order to make optimal decisions throughout the asset lifecycle.

For example, if an expensive piece of machinery which is near the end of its lifecycle and fully depreciated breaks down, it’s a wise decision to scrap that piece of equipment and purchase a new one rather than repairing it. Making these decisions on time and with accurate information significantly contributes to successful operations and cost-cutting.

An EAM system also helps in streamlining and expediting equipment purchases by convincing those with authority that a purchase needs to be made with data. The approval process also isn’t manual with features like multi-tier approval where a purchase order can go through the stages of authority automatically and then be forwarded to the required vendor.

Additionally, integrating mobile devices and applications within the EAM framework empowers medical professionals to access critical data in real-time, promoting flexibility and efficiency in daily operations.

As the healthcare sector continues its trajectory towards an increasingly digital landscape, the significance of an effective EAM system cannot be overstated. By embracing technology tailored to the specific demands of the healthcare industry, organizations can ensure reduced response times for patient care, optimize operational efficiencies, and enhance the overall quality of care.

The seamless integration of a “healthy technology system” is the cornerstone of a resilient and patient-centric ecosystem in the digital age. And investing in health is everything.

source: https://hitconsultant.net/2024/06/27/digital-transformation-in-healthcare-why-eam-is-the-missing-piece/