May 5, 2015

As a technology professional in the digital age, you’re well aware of the need for easy data access at a moment’s notice. In clinical engineering, that starts with your inventory — an essential regulatory requirement.

Although regulatory bodies don’t specify how your inventory should be documented, your best bet is, no doubt, storing inventory data in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that enables easy access in a centralized location. CMMS benefits don’t stop there, of course.

But what other benefits should a CMMS include, and how do you discern the one that can best serve your organization?

Recently, TechNation interviewed industry experts about CMMS insights and best practices. Among featured experts was our own Dale Hockel, senior vice president of operations at TRIMEDX.

Below is a rundown of TechNation’s questions and Hockel’s answers to help you make smart decisions about CMMS, and employ it in a way that increases ROI and efficiencies in your clinical engineering program:

Q: What should health technology management (HTM) professionals look for when purchasing CMMS software?
Hockel: CMMS should provide regulatory readiness and expertise to ensure compliance with all regulatory agencies. It should track all medical device performance records, preventive maintenance schedules, safety issues, equipment recalls and manufacturer recommendations to ensure the highest level of patient safety related to potential device malfunctions and lowest level of risk related to compliance

Q: What are some of the basic uses of CMMS for HTM professionals?
Hockel: CMMS should maintain service records and provide routine schedules and reports. Such reports should document equipment lifecycle maintenance costs, monitor equipment performance and track inventory. By having this holistic equipment lifecycle view, you can optimize and extend the use of equipment.

Q: What are some more advanced uses of CMMS software?
Hockel: Advanced software can report on performance trends, safety concerns and training needs. Some of those trends include uptime, service response, preventive maintenance, customer satisfaction, significant events, capital planning and budgeting, and equipment utilization. This type of data provides true business intelligence and analytics to support the entire system’s needs today and in the future.

Q: How can HTM departments get the most out of its CMMS software?
Hockel: Using CMMS to capture specific data to help manage networked devices and align device security/compliance will ensure you’re getting the most out of the software. Collaboration between clinical engineering and IT is paramount in delivering programs that meet patient satisfaction and organizational strategies.

Q: How can purchasers ensure they are making a wise investment in CMMS? What are the most important features to look for?
Hockel: Always partner with an organization whose mission and vision align with your strategic goals. Be sure the software not only comes with adequate training, but also has proven and detailed performance metrics of medical devices over the years. CMMS should have a comprehensive inventory inclusive of service history data, device alerts/recalls, operations benchmark metrics, and documentation of all service costs during the life of the asset. These will ensure appropriate maintenance is performed, equipment is accounted for, and devices are safe for use in patient care, per regulatory and accreditation standards.

Q: What are the main benefits of implementing a CMMS program?
Hockel: CMMS provides valuable information regarding inventory, downtime, productivity needs and regulatory issues. It can also be used for capital planning and budgeting, to consolidate contracts, to better manage the lifecycle of equipment, and possibly bring some services in-house in the future.

Q: What else do you think is important for biomeds to know about CMMS and its uses?
Hockel: CMMS is the most effective way to organize data. CMMS can help track several key factors — all of which help the management team make informed decisions and accurate forecasts. CMMS is critical to success in a hospital system.