August 17, 2023 | 7 minute

Here’s How Real-Time Location Insights Make Asset Management Easier on Day One

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Asset managers & material managers face unique challenges in healthcare facilities.

Table of contents:

First, there’s the incredible range of items that they have to manage, from literally disposable, inexpensive supplies to very expensive, high-tech devices and everything in between. Given their broad mission and the nature of healthcare, the list of items to follow is easily in the thousands. 

Then there’s the fact that these items are used, moved (and often misplaced) in massive facilities. Many items in a hospital need to go where the patient goes, over many different floors and wings, and follow them as needed. These items don’t stand still, ready to be used. Instead, they have to be found first.

On top of that, there are maintenance and regulatory issues in play that are specific to healthcare facilities. Certain items need to be cleaned, examined and generally verified for use at various intervals, adding yet another layer of management to everything.

One such item, a crucial piece of equipment in any hospital, is the IV pump. They’re on the list of items that are required by many patients, have to be on standby all the time and have special maintenance needs.

IV pumps are the source of a lot of headaches in healthcare facilities for various reasons. Being able to find them when you need them is a problem. Paying for more than you really need is a problem. Tracking their maintenance history is a problem.

All of these issues have the same underlying challenge — knowing exactly where all of your pumps are at all times. Here’s how IoT-powered real-time location cloud solutions can help address these problems. 

Finding a pump when you need it

Perhaps one of the common challenges faced in any healthcare facility, finding a clean and available IV pump when a patient needs it is a common problem. It’s not unusual for wasted time spent searching for available pumps to add up to a full-time position.

Not only is this an issue in terms of workflow and efficiency, patient care and the patient experience can suffer as a result too. This could be in terms of difficulty in supplying the appropriate care needed in a timely fashion or simply the patient’s awareness of the fact that an important piece of equipment was not ready when expected.

At a time when the industry is placing a greater emphasis on a holistic approach to the patient experience, negative impressions created by availability-related delays can decrease HCAPS and damage otherwise favorable opinions of the care received at a hospital.

Also, fixing this problem benefits your staff by removing the frustration associated with lengthy searches for an available pump, and the hospital benefits by avoiding wasted man-hours spent on looking for something that should have been ready from the start.

How real-time location insights solve the problem

When you can see the exact, room-level location of all your pumps with a click, all the problems described above disappear instantly. Our solution lets you see the statuses and locations of all pumps in the facility and maintain a PAR level of clean pumps in strategic areas that automatically trigger replenishment requests. Tags affixed to the pumps are detected by a facility-wide network, so wherever the pumps are, you will know immediately. No more time spent searching the whole wing or beyond, just walk to the nearest location and get back to patient care.

Overpurchashing of pumps

Your last equipment inventory said that you had X number of pumps, which was determined to be too few for your needs, so you spent more money on more pumps to bring the number up to an acceptable level.

But did you really have the number of pumps the last inventory said you did?

Overpurchasing of many different assets is a chronic problem in healthcare facilities but IV pumps are at or near the top of every list. With budgets already stretched and every dollar spent needing to be justified, healthcare facilities still spend enormous amounts of money on assets they don’t need.

Unfortunately, the reality is that it’s simply too easy for equipment like IV pumps to go undercounted during manual inventories. When undercounted totals show up, they’re used to justify more purchases and the cycle repeats itself.

Given the price point of IV pumps and the number needed in a typical facility, this can add up to very significant sums that can be saved simply by having better, more accurate information about real inventory levels.

How real-time location insights solve the problem

With completely accurate, real-time tracking of your pump inventory, you never have to rely on manual counting again. You can conduct a digitally-powered inventory anytime you want and verify that your purchase records match the number of pumps on hand. Eliminate human error from the equation and align your spending with your actual needs instead of depending on inaccurate numbers.

Maintenance & compliance issues

Pumps need to be cleaned after each use and on a regular basis. With so many pumps to keep track of, it can be difficult to come up with an effective and dependable management scheme to get it done. 

And what about documenting the history of the use of a certain pump or an easy way for staff to flag a particular pump to be cleaned or fixed or taken out of circulation?

With so many pumps moving in all directions and staff with other things to do, what usually happens is that pumps simply get put aside and become someone else’s problem. At best, compliance with pump-related procedures is difficult because of everything else hospital staff has to do.

Manually tracking all of these things and maintaining an easily accessible database is a massive job by itself. Pump maintenance and compliance issues definitely need a digital shortcut to a better way of organizing everything.

How real-time location insights solve the problem

With IoT-powered solutions, your staff has the power to digitally tag pumps using their mobile phones. They can inform the system that a particular pump is clean, needs to be clean, is broken, or anything else. With the touch of a button, you can see how many are clean & ready to go, how many are waiting to be cleaned, etc. You also have easy access to archival information about the cleaning and maintenance histories of every pump.

Recalling borrowed or rented pumps

It’s not at all unusual for hospitals to borrow or rent IV pumps from other facilities. When they have to go back — when they are “recalled” — it’s important to return the exact same ones that were borrowed or rented.

This is easy enough if they are a different model or from a different manufacturer than the ones in your own facility, but what if they aren’t? How do you keep them separate and easily identifiable?

You can place stickers on them or have a manual log of serial numbers but these are not reliable, long-term solutions. Stickers come off or are removed. Manual logs are lost or incomplete. When it’s time to return the pumps to their owner, you need to be able to do it quickly and that means knowing which ones have to go.

How real-time location insights solve the problem

The best way to easily track every pump – both your own and borrowed or rented ones — is with a digital stamp.

When a new batch of pumps is added to your inventory, even temporarily, you can stamp them as being borrowed, rented, etc. When it’s time for them to go back, you can easily identify them by this stamp and collect them accordingly.

Is IV pump management and maintenance an issue for you?

If  you’re dealing with the practical or financial aspects of complex pump management in a healthcare facility, we can help. Just schedule a call with our healthcare team and we will help you with your digital transformation in your big or small healthcare facility.