Hidden Hospital Assets and Asset Tracking: How to Lower Healthcare Costs

Today’s hospitals and healthcare organizations are increasingly relying on sophisticated clinical mobile devices and assets—infusion pumps, heart monitors, wheelchairs, beds and more—to diagnose, monitor and care for patients. These mobile assets typically account for up to 95 percent of a hospital’s assets, according to one report—or about 25 percent of a healthcare organization’s annual capital expense.

With the average cost of each asset around $5,000 and the average hospital bed having 8-13 devices, the estimated total cost of assets is around $40,000 to $65,000 per bed. For a 500-bed hospital, that totals between $20,000,000 and $32,500,000 in clinical mobile assets!

But what if those devices and assets go unused, underutilized or, worse, missing?

The rising cost of hidden and underutilized hospital assets

Most healthcare organizations have tens of millions of dollars invested in clinical mobile assets—numbers that can be wildly inaccurate because most hospitals lack a full and accurate accounting. If there is a mobile asset inventory, it’s often only about 40 percent accurate due to the manual processes used.

Without an accurate inventory, hospitals and healthcare organizations don’t know how many devices they have, where they are, who’s using them, how they’re being used and whether or not they’re operable.

In addition, experts suggest that only 42 percent of clinical assets are used efficiently. That means that up to $12,000,000 to nearly $20,000,000—using the estimates above—are going unused because they’re lost, stolen, hidden away or inoperable.

To add to the already complex and costly problem of hidden assets, many hospitals and healthcare organizations respond by buying, renting or leasing even more devices—which only exacerbates the problem.

As one report pointed out: “Most healthcare institutions do not have a clear picture of the scope of the problem and how much money is being spent on assets that are adding little or no value to patient care. As a result, there may be insufficient attention paid to examining and improving how these devices are managed and utilized.”

The impact on patient care

Here’s where it impacts patient care: it takes nurses an average of 21 minutes per shift to search for lost equipment. Once found, the devices may not work properly, taking even more time away from patient care to locate working devices.

Inefficient workflows, lost/stolen/hidden or non-working devices, unnecessary expenditures and waste all impact patient outcomes. They can also lead to low staff satisfaction. With over 30 percent of hospitals operating on negative operating margins, the need for operational efficiency has never been greater.

Clinical mobile asset tracking for better patient care

  • Inventory and document all devices—including hidden, operable and inoperable devices and assets—to determine a baseline. Most healthcare institutions already have staff assigned to manage inventory, but if you can’t find the devices, you can’t adequately serve the patient.
  • Determine which devices are serviceable and can be put back into circulation. Preventative maintenance ensures asset health and keeps devices working and available.
  • Enable or add real-time location services (RTLS) to clinical assets and backend systems so devices can be easily tracked and accounted for. RTLS can help visualize asset location and determine whether they’re operable or require service/maintenance.
  • Integrate platforms, such as clinical workflows and EMR/EHR systems, to maximize value and patient impact.

A word about clinical mobile device security

Security can’t be an afterthought when implementing clinical mobile asset tracking solutions.

The FDA recommends that medical device manufacturers (MDMs) are responsible for remaining vigilant about identifying risks and hazards associated with their medical devices, including risks related to cybersecurity, while healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) should evaluate their network security and protect their hospital systems.

While MDMs are responsible for device security and HDOs are responsible for network security, it is ultimately the responsibility of the hospital system to ensure the security and compliance of the products and solutions they implement.

Hospitals and healthcare organizations must ensure that their networks and systems are secured and monitored for unauthorized behavior. Employing security strategies—such as DNS protection, authentication mechanisms, network segmentation, network level access control and network flow analytics—can help deter and detect cyberattacks.

If you’ve already implemented an asset tracking solution, consider having a cybersecurity expert assess your implementation to ensure that assets, systems, integrations and data are secure and in compliance.

Logicalis: Award-winning clinical mobile asset tracking

Logicalis offers a proven, comprehensive way to monitor and track clinical mobile assets and optimize their use, ensuring that you receive maximum value from them.

Our Healthcare Clinical Asset Tracking solution increases operational efficiency, improves asset utilization and streamlines clinical workflows using insights from a connected, location-based system that accurately tracks clinical assets, such as infusion (IV) pumps, heart monitors, beds and wheelchairs. Immediately knowing the location and availability of clinical assets directly impacts the quality of patient care.

Things

Connectivity

Platforms

Infusion pumps, heart monitors, beds, wheelchairs, etc.

Access and networking (wired, wireless, RFID, Bluetooth, beacons)

RTLS and clinical applications (Cisco, Aruba, Arista Flow, Epic, Cerner, Stealthwatch) and integration with other apps

Security: DNS protection/multifactor authentication/network segmentation/network level access control/network flow analytics

Cloud: On-premise/hybrid cloud/public cloud strategy

Logicalis consulting and professional services

Plus, our solution provides a solid security foundation that helps ensure compliance by effectively preventing cyberattacks on connected devices and assets.

In fact, our Healthcare Clinical Asset Tracking solution recently received the 2019 CompassIntel IoT Innovator Award for Medical Devices, as well as Cisco’s global IoT Industry Partner of the Year award and the CRN 2019 IoT Innovators Award.

Download the datasheet  to learn more about our Healthcare Clinical Asset Tracking solution. Or visit us.logicalis.com/workshops to schedule a workshop.  

Bill Evans is Director of Architecture/IoT & Analytics at Logicalis, responsible for go-to-market strategies and solution development for IoT and analytics.

 [JS1]Link to datasheet