April 20, 2022

by Murphy McGraw, director of product management 

How health systems can generate savings with their clinical assets and online tools

Like many health systems, you may face some seemingly inherent contradictions in the industry. Nationwide healthcare spending continues to hit all-time highs year after year,1 yet reimbursement rates from vital payors continue to decrease.2 This paradox has forced providers to get creative in managing costs. No operating or capital budget is beyond scrutiny.  

Clinical asset inventories are a highly relevant area to examine in the context of financial performance. Many medical devices in these inventories are inarguably crucial to providing patient care. Fully utilizing these clinical assets can improve patient outcomes, reduce workflow bottlenecks, and shorten wait times. However, buying, supporting, and operating these assets comes with significant expenses. So, is a health system’s clinical asset inventory a tool that contributes to strategic goals or a cost center to manage?  

Other shifts in health care only serve to escalate the complexity of managing clinical assets. The growth of outpatient care, for example, has benefits like streamlining specific care pathways and reduced lengths of stay. Yet, as health systems expand their footprints and run more extensive networks with more facilities, their clinical assets become more challenging to track. This lack of visibility leads to many hospitals carrying large surpluses, fully utilizing just 40–50% of their equipment.3  

Despite underutilization and clinical asset surpluses, many caregivers are still unable to access the equipment they need. These perceived shortages can have widespread, painful downstream effects. One of the most apparent impacts is delaying patient care. In addition to health outcome risks, more costly lengths of stay and more significant strain on staff and resources can result from these bottlenecks. On the other hand, underutilized devices still require preventative maintenance by clinical engineering teams. Those costs are not translating to revenue for the health system. 

The pandemic only compounded the uncertainty facing providers. Constrained supply chains made it more difficult to acquire new clinical assets as well as parts and supplies to maintain and operate them. The past two years have clearly demonstrated that new equipment is far from a universal answer to these many challenges. Rather, it has become more important than ever to utilize existing inventory in new ways. 

The solution is to move existing clinical assets where they are needed most, which sounds simple on paper, but the disconnect persists. The poor visibility of current inventories is a critical contributing factor. Accurate and detailed information is key to keeping your clinical assets functioning and deciding how to improve utilization.  

Many health systems also lack an efficient process to identify and select clinical assets for reallocation. Since health systems need to deploy clinical assets across multiple care sites, governance systems need to be standardized. Otherwise, barriers to accessing and optimizing resources will persist for providers. 

These contradictions can be daunting, and it might be exhausting to hear them rehashed. But standardized tools and strategies can simplify almost any challenge. This philosophy was a primary driver in developing the TRIMEDX online Reallocation Platform, part of our Clinical Asset Management (CAM) Advanced solution.  

A foundation of data-driven insights  

Solving the visibility challenge is at the heart of TRIMEDX’s CAM Advanced solution. Providers use objective, data-driven insights to understand their inventories better. The actual value of that information is how you use it, so actionability is the goal of all TRIMEDX solutions. 

The proprietary RUDR Score® is a crucial tool for providers to take decisive action on clinical assets. The score pulls in a variety of data points, including:  

  • Remaining useful life  
  • Parts availability status  
  • Repair events  
  • FDA alerts and recalls  
  • Downtime  
  • Real-time utilization 
  • Cybersecurity risk profile 

The RUDR Score® generates specific recommendations that providers can use to confidently replace, upgrade, disposition, or reallocate clinical assets. Reallocation is one of the best ways to maximize values and enhance operations. By delivering more value and productivity with the inventories they have, health systems can even reduce their operating and capital expense burdens. We wanted it to be easier to act on these insights with the TRIMEDX Reallocation Platform.  

Meeting your clinical asset needs without additional capital expense  

The user experience of online marketplaces and eCommerce is the fastest way to access goods and services. TRIMEDX saw no reason health systems shouldn’t have that same capability for optimizing their inventory. With the online Reallocation Platform, you can search for, browse, compare, and list clinical assets.  

Instead of hunting throughout your health system, users can view available devices from multiple sites with just a few clicks. The platform displays attributes including make, model, manufacturer, age, and all the crucial data available with TRIMEDX’s CAM Advanced solution. This centralized wealth of information means more user-friendly, in-depth comparisons of device options. More accessible information means more informed decisions when requesting a clinical asset from different sites within a health system. 

With the online Reallocation Platform, your health system’s clinical asset inventory is a resource for closing operational gaps while conserving capital budgets. When you combine visibility with actionability and standardize best practices, the answers to many healthcare contradictions can become much more straightforward.  

  • Manage operational costs and avoid unnecessary capital costs with strategic clinical asset allocation.  
  • Build a more integrated network with greater resource visibility across sites of care.  
  • Resolve and even avoid perceived or localized device shortages with a robust governance process for your inventory. 

For more information on how health systems can support their financial health with clinical asset allocation, download our free white paper. 

 

  1. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NHE-Fact-Sheet 
  1. https://aasm.org/cms-revises-medicare-physician-fee-schedule-conversion-factor-2022/ 
  1. TRIMEDX internal data