April 14, 2015

If your clinical engineering program is a typical one, you’re paying an exorbitant amount each year in external service contracts, typically to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It’s the way things were done for ages, and many healthcare facilities remain contract-dependent.

A growing number of your peers, however, have figured out a better way: Breaking free from service contracts by building internal staff and capabilities, often at a fraction of contract costs. The outcome: a drastic reduction in Clinical Engineering (CE) service costs and a more engaged, skilled staff that’s able to extend the life of your medical equipment years after the OEM stops supporting it.

When looking for savings opportunities, hospitals commonly overlook investment in in-house capabilities as the quickest route to independence from OEM contracts. By contrast, hospitals that have made strides toward CE self-sufficiency think beyond modality training and consider all the ways their technicians can employ operations metrics to drive up equipment ROI.

To be clear, modality training is certainly needed, and should happen frequently. But how are you equipping your staff to be more efficient? Are you encouraging them to participate in cross-training and knowledge-sharing among facilities? Are you creating opportunities for employees to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities? Is data analysis in place to forecast needs and justify future training opportunities?

Finally, high-performing CE programs also plan for internal promotions and successions, empowering staff to advance their careers and eliminating costly attrition from a less motivated or underdeveloped department. In all, health systems that invest in internal CE capabilities enjoy increased uptime, speedier repairs, and thousands of dollars each year in service contract savings.