Remote Monitoring is Crucial for Hospital Asset Management — Here’s Why
By Scott Trevino
Scott Trevino, MS, MBA is SVP of product management and solutions of TriMedx of Indianapolis, IN.
As any health IT professional would know, the ability to remotely monitor hospital devices is critical in ensuring efficient operations. Unplanned downtime, spontaneous device failure, and unexpected maintenance all impact the ability to safely provide care for patients.
A recent example took place at a hospital in Indiana, when a remote monitoring device was used to detect a fault on an MR scanner. During the proactive repair process, technicians ultimately discovered that the pressure relief valve on the roof of the hospital was stuck open, a defect that could have caused countless other problems. Luckily, the remote monitoring system the hospital had in place allowed them to identify this problem before it caused a domino effect of consequences.
Preventing unplanned downtime is the most prominent argument in favor of remote monitoring. By 2025, it’s estimated that 68% of medical devices will be network connected, which only increases the need for ongoing device monitoring. Hospitals are always searching for cost-effective avenues to help improve patient care and safety, and the efficiency and scalability that remote monitoring offers is unrivaled.
Here’s a closer look at why remote monitoring is an essential component of providers’ approach to clinical asset management.
Remote monitoring is getting smarter
Even the smallest of details can make a difference in a clinical device setting. With remote monitoring, device analytics will only continue to evolve and produce predictive insights for each asset, effectively anticipating potential failures and/or optimizing service schedules.
Device failure is costly and leads to unplanned downtime, labor costs, risk to patient safety, and more. Instead of throwing potential solutions at the wall and hoping one of them sticks, utilizing predictive analytics guarantees that hospitals are putting their resources to good use. A robust remote monitoring system uses predictive analytics to produce data that is crucial in making decisions. This system will pose questions like, is a device worth the cost to continue to repair and maintain it? Or, is it time to purchase new equipment? Healthcare providers that lean on these data-driven decisions will be at a considerable advantage when it comes to optimizing acute and non-acute care facilities.
Care in non-acute settings will become commonplace
Over the past few years, healthcare has seen a large push towards non-acute settings. Transitioning care to outpatient centers helps care systems reduce costs, but reimbursements in these facilities are still lower than in a traditional hospitals, meaning that providers are going to face challenges to transition care without breaking the bank.
Where does clinical asset management fit in? Let’s look at an example. If a provider has 3,000 devices in an acute facility, typically an economy of scale is in place for teams to service on site. If the provider takes 1,500 of those devices and moves them around to various care sites, the cost to service each device at a different site will be higher since it will be less efficient and cost-draining for providers to station service teams at each location. However, this problem can be addressed through a remote monitoring system within a comprehensive clinical asset management program to keep locations up and running.
Servicers productivity must improve alongside device growth
Healthcare providers are not alone in their struggles to reevaluate how to manage a larger equipment footprint. Manufacturers are feeling the same pressure. No longer can servicers, such as OEMs, afford to send out a technician for every service call, especially when many arrive to find device problems that cannot be fixed. There’s little choice but for the labor force to improve productivity and reach maximum efficiency to keep up with the growing number of devices.
The best way to do this is to use remote monitoring, which allows technicians to troubleshoot a problematic device without having to physically be on site. Not only do these systems create better efficiency across the service labor force, they add to hospital systems’ ability to reduce unplanned downtime and improve patient care.
All signs point to remote monitoring as the future of the healthcare industry. Device optimization, cost pressures, and the growing number of facilities in a provider’s network have shown us that remote monitoring is no longer nice-to-have, but a need-to-have for healthcare providers who are ready to embrace a new, innovative landscape.