Healthcare asset management is becoming a growing concern as hospitals and other facilities try to increase patient services while lowering costs. One clear sign of this shift is the size of the healthcare asset management market, which was estimated at $11.64 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to over $55 billion by the year 2026. Healthcare asset management technologies create reliable systems for tracking expensive medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and valuable facility equipment.
In this post, we’ll introduce 5 tools that can be used to improve the management of assets in a healthcare facility. Many of these tools can be combined to build a customized asset tracking solution that is part of a complete hospital management plan. All healthcare facilities can benefit from the use of modern asset management tools to track facility systems and healthcare equipment such as wheelchairs and safety devices. Effective asset management requires the input of multiple departments and commitment to a unified approach.
1. Centralized Asset Management Software
One of the most important tools that can be implemented for hospital asset management is a centralized software system. Many platforms are suitable for use in healthcare facilities, but it’s important to choose an option that works best for your organization. Examples include software platforms built for healthcare asset management, hospital supply management, and inventory management.
Even though these software categories focus on specialized aspects of healthcare management, they all share many common features that can help with managing assets. One major component that these platforms have in common is an asset database. This centralized resource can be used to construct an asset hierarchy with a detailed database entry for each asset. These asset management platforms can also be integrated with other software tools to create a complete solution for an entire healthcare network.
2. Tags and Barcode Labels
Healthcare assets spend a lot of time being actively used, and it can be challenging to identify similar equipment or track the history and use of specific equipment and devices without a clear and unique marking. Several asset tag designs are available that are suitable for use in healthcare applications. Metalphoto® foil labels and rigid Metalphoto asset tags are particularly useful for healthcare asset tracking thanks to Metalphoto’s excellent durability characteristics. Metalphoto asset tags and labels offer excellent resistance to chemicals, abrasion, and solvents, as well as outdoor exposure to conditions such as extreme temperatures and UV, remaining readable throughout the lifespan of your assets.
For high-value moveable assets, destructible vinyl asset labels and tamper-evident barcode labels help to deter theft and unauthorized transfer. Two-part asset tags include a second removable tab with a matching ID number that can be attached to records for streamlined and accurate documentation. All of these asset tags and barcode labels can be customized to include a facility name, department, serial number, and other identifying information. When all assets are properly labeled, they also act as a deterrent to potential theft and make it easier for staff to identify the equipment that is needed.
3. Asset Scanning Technology
Another important tool for healthcare asset management is the technology used to scan or monitor equipment. If barcode labels or RFID tags are used, there will need to be scanning equipment installed and available for use. This can include handheld barcode scanners or facility-installed devices. It may also be possible for a healthcare facility to use Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices that can be directly connected to the IT infrastructure.
Using any of these options makes it easier to track the real-time movement of equipment and monitor the progress of work in progress (WIP) items such as laboratory samples. Many of these technologies also support the use of automation tools to streamline and reduce the time needed to process assets and equipment movement.
4. Maintenance and Equipment Management Tools
Equipment failures in a hospital can result in dangerous situations for patients, staff, or the general public. For this reason, all healthcare facilities have procedures in place for the upkeep and management of assets. When considering the maintenance practices of a healthcare facility, it’s helpful to pay special attention to preventive activities.
Preventive maintenance is often a justified expense when applied to healthcare equipment to ensure that all assets are in good working condition. These procedures also create a reliable schedule for replacing consumable parts and preparing staff for regulatory audits and other compliance needs.
5. Chemical and Hazardous Waste Disposal
The typical healthcare facility must manage chemical waste and other hazardous materials such as used syringes and biological samples. Using dedicated waste disposal containers makes it easier to collect and manage these materials and enhances the safety of the facility. Many of the asset management best practices discussed in this post can also be used to manage inventories for small parts and safety equipment such as gloves or safety glasses. Waste disposal and parts inventories are also valuable resources during emergency response situations that could take place in any part of the building.
Asset management practices are used by healthcare facilities worldwide to track everything from high-value medical equipment to small parts and office supplies. The 5 tools presented in this post are an excellent starting point for improving asset management practices at a healthcare site. By investing in new asset management resources that add value, healthcare facility managers can create an even safer and more efficient healthcare environment for patients and staff.