Hospitals Need to Address Clinical Asset Utilization

Published on August 21, 2012

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A recent study from GE Healthcare® reveals that healthcare organizations such as hospitals are not managing mobile medical devices such as ventilators, infusion pumps, and telemetry units efficiently. These devices make up more than 95 percent of a typical hospital’s clinical asset inventory, but the average utilization of these devices is less than 50 percent. According to the study, “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.”

There are three things that a hospital can do to manage mobile medical devices more efficiently:

  1. Conduct a physical inventory of their mobile clinical assets. According to the GE study, most hospitals lack an accurate accounting of these assets, and this makes it more difficult for hospitals to manage their operating expenditures.
  2. Optimize workflow processes and stocking levels. It is important that healthcare managers understand utilization patterns of clinical and biomedical staff in order to develop better methods for asset distribution.
  3. Develop a replacement strategy for lost or misplaced devices. Nurses spend an average of 21 minutes per shift searching for lost equipment; this lost time equals lower staff productivity and diminished patient care.

Location systems that leverage Wi-Fi® can help hospitals keep track of mobile medical devices.  As mentioned in our white paper, Wi-Fi: The Importance of Mobility in Hospitals, Wi-Fi technology is growing in popularity in medical settings because Wi-Fi products from different vendors interoperate or work together. Because most Wi-Fi location systems leverage existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, they are very cost-effective.

Wi-Fi is standards-based, but not all Wi-Fi radios are created equal.  Mobile medical devices require Wi-Fi radios that maintain secure, reliable network connections in any hospital, regardless of Wi-Fi infrastructure, environmental factors, and device mobility.