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tiple maintenance-management systems within the same organization, with standards and practices that differ from one department or facility to the next. And when those dis- parate elements do not speak the same language, respond- ing to top-down mandates and regulatory developments, such as the CMS maintenance directive, is even more chal- lenging.

Shannon Klabnik is PeopleSoft practice director and Jim Henderson is director of the western region for MIPRO, a consultancy specializing in implementations, upgrades and optimizations of Oracle’s PeopleSoft applications. For more on MIPRO: www.

Risks associated with an insuffi cient maintenance- management program

There are substantial risks associated with the lack of a strategic and effective maintenance-management program. Non-compliance with state and federal guidelines, industry standards and other mandates is one of the most signifi cant of those risks. The Joint Commission is a nonprofi t organiza- tion that evaluates healthcare organizations’ compliance with federal regulations, and Joint Commission accreditation and certifi cation are prerequisites for Medicare reimbursement and other licensing. At a time when federal reimbursement accounts for a signifi cant majority of many hospitals’ income, and a great deal of private insurance is also similarly contingent on successful licensure, an unsuccessful Joint Commission audit is a nightmare for hospital administrators – an event that could literally shut down a facility.

Another more-tangible concern is the operational integ- rity and lifespan of the equipment itself. Healthcare devices can be delicate in nature and very expensive to acquire and maintain. As a result, optimizing maintenance is an essential part of any well-run medical facility. And with bigger and better technologies coming online all the time, this is an issue that is unlikely to go away. The growing emphasis on diagnostics highlights vulnerability. If a CAT scan or MRI machine experiences unplanned operational downtime, for example, hospitals actually face potential revenue losses from two directions: the inability to perform tests and the industry- specifi c liability exposure that can arise from a compromised diagnostic capacity and a resulting poor health outcome for the patient.

Implementing/optimizing an EAM system The value of a successful maintenance-management program supported by an integrated software solution is pro- found. This combination can be the foundation for healthcare organizations to achieve full visibility to the entire lifecycle of invaluable assets. But what do healthcare organizations need to do – and understand – in order to implement that kind of next-generation system? Visualize and design: First and foremost, identify op- erational priorities. The best EAM systems operate with a large amount of fl exibility and can be adapted to suit the

individual practices and professional goals of an organiza- tion. Once the healthcare organization establishes what it needs from the system – from big-picture goals down to the smallest details – the next step is to determine how you actually want it to work. A professional consultant can walk you through that process, helping to defi ne the maintenance program and strategy. Lay the groundwork: Identifying specifi c maintenance standards and metrics can be a challenge. But in order to fully utilize the power of an EAM system – with its ability to track those disparate variables – those standards should be clarifi ed ahead of time. It is also important to identify, evaluate and mitigate or resolve any post-implementation risks/liabilities. For example, centralizing all replacement parts can actually create a surprisingly diffi cult inventory problem. Finally, the requirements for an effective software solution that will support your program, processes and procedures should be identifi ed and carefully noted. Train and deploy: Educate the team responsible for trans- forming your maintenance practices and implementing your system. Even the best system is only as good as its users, and helping users achieve technical and operational fl uency is a must. Once thorough training is complete, implement your maintenance practices and deploy the system to support said applications.

Stay on track: Deployment is just the beginning. The up-front investment is where most energy is expended, but it is also important to conduct regular follow-ups and peri- odic formal evaluations to ensure that the new maintenance management program and supporting system are working as intended and delivering the anticipated results. Reinforce the program through ongoing training and support. Healthcare professionals who follow these recommended practices will benefi t from the integrative effi ciencies and logistical power of a system that generates an extraordinary level of added value. The best EAM programs balance pre- dictive, preventive and corrective maintenance to minimize or avoid catastrophic breakdowns. They facilitate tracking, monitoring and recording of critical information, as well as planning and scheduling of technicians and materials. New maintenance and management effi ciencies can dramatically lower overhead: this unifi ed approach to capital infrastructure management makes scheduling both smart and effi cient, facilitating the management and deployment of assets across various departments and facilities. As a result, the best systems are capable of not just corrective and preventive maintenance, but true predictive maintenance. Ultimately, healthcare organizations can leverage these powerful new tools to improve performance, reduce capital and operating costs, extend asset life and derive the great- est value from their capital investments. The result is im- proved compliance, effi ciency and profi tability – all while minimizing waste and avoidable expense and limiting costly downtime.


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