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Asset Management

Best systems are capable of


he effi cient management and maintenance of physical assets – from computers and CT scan- ners to hospital facilities and generators – has long been a principal challenge for healthcare decision

makers. From administrators, doctors and executive leaders to facilities management and operations staff, healthcare professionals of all stripes have wrestled with the complexi- ties of an industry that is becoming increasingly reliant on highly specialized machines to provide the diagnostics and treatment required to optimize patient care. A “life-cycle management” approach to maintaining, servicing and (when necessary) replacing physical assets can have an enormous impact on a healthcare facility/organiza- tion. That impact ripples both upstream and downstream, infl uencing everything from design and construction to operations, maintenance and repair – and even personnel productivity.

What follows is an overview of some of the biggest chal- lenges associated with implementation and optimization of an effective maintenance management program, the risks associated with lack of an effective and effi cient maintenance- management program, solutions to address those challenges and risks, and a detailed look at the best practices and business results from the implementation of a successful enterprise asset-management (EAM) software strategy to support an overall maintenance-management program.

Challenges of maintenance management Perhaps no single example better illustrates the unique challenges faced by the healthcare industry than the direc- tive issued in December 2011 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency responsible for ad- ministering Medicare and other state and federal insurance programs. CMS set forth regulations that the manufacturers’ recommended technique for maintaining equipment must be followed at all times. While some exceptions may be made regarding frequency of maintenance, inspection and testing

16 July 2012

‘predictive maintenance’ Shannon Klabnik

Next-generation enterprise asset management presents challenges and opportunities. By Shannon Klabnik and Jim Henderson

activities, those adjustments can only be realized following an assessment by qualifi ed personnel and will only be approved after new equipment has accrued suffi cient maintenance history.

Compliance with such a sweeping and infl exible mandate presents an enormous challenge for every hospital and health- care facility – even some that may already have maintenance- management programs and systems in place. Healthcare operations that lack systems with the necessary fl exibility to adapt have been particularly hard hit by this mandate. Because non-compliance can have signifi cant operational and fi nancial ramifi cations, compromise is not an option. In addition to regulatory requirements, healthcare pro- fessionals have a host of other maintenance challenges to overcome, including:

• Standardization of processes, procedures, data, etc.; • Visibility of maintenance costs and information; • Ineffi ciency due to information in disparate systems or standardized processes; • Infl exibility of maintenance program to respond to unexpected challenges in a timely manner; • Fulfi lling required specialty trades – plumbing, electri- cians, HVAC, etc. – to successfully execute a project while staying on budget; • Funding defi cits related to the cost of properly maintain- ing or replacing assets;

• Declining budgets for support positions (administration and maintenance); and • Leadership confl icts (administrative vs. medical man- agement perspectives).

One of the emerging maintenance-management challenges is the current healthcare industry trend toward consolidation in the marketplace. With many independent providers join- ing together both in and across markets, high-level executive and fi nancial connections are being forged oftentimes faster than operational and technical realities can keep up. In fact, it is not uncommon in larger healthcare groups to see mul-


Jim Henderson

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