In this business profile, Henry Hummel, CEO, Dave Klumpe, president, clinical asset management solutions, and Shane Landrum, senior vice president, commercial operations, discuss how to effectively mature a clinical asset management program.
How do you help healthcare organizations?
Henry Hummel: Created by providers for providers in 1998, TRIMEDX began as a clinical engineering department at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. Twenty years later, we have more than 1,500 associates who are focused on serving our customers at more than 1,800 healthcare locations nationwide. The company simplifies and streamlines clinical engineering processes using a cost-effective, low-risk model. By working with us, hospitals can achieve immediate, day one OPEX savings and clinical engineering excellence via our comprehensive service for all modalities, including biomed, imaging, and laboratory.
We help our clients unlock the full potential of their clinical assets by providing insight into the details and performance of those assets, including means to understand and improve utilization. Our programs efficiently plan, manage, and optimize a provider’s clinical assets while documenting, tracking, and measuring service delivery performance—resulting in greater visibility, accountability, cost savings, and clinician satisfaction.
How should a provider define a mature clinical asset management program?
Dave Klumpe: Payment reform and changes in care delivery models have created unrelenting pressure on providers to reduce their operating costs and stretch available working capital. As organizations search for areas of cost reduction, they often overlook the operating and capital costs associated with their clinical equipment fleet. Clinical equipment typically represents 1 to 2 percent of operating expense (OPEX) and 25 percent of capital expense (CAPEX) each year. In our experience, most organizations continue to add clinical equipment capacity and associated costs even in light of decreasing patient day and procedure volume. Asset utilization is often poorly understood and is typically only 30 to 50 percent. A mature clinical asset program goes beyond basic “break-fix” considerations and offers visibility into asset fleet dynamics, clinical device utilization, and asset lifecycle management. Organizations should focus on means to improve equipment longevity (asset useful life), measuring actual asset demand versus capacity (utilization) and ensuring that equipment choices follow service line demands (asset optimization).
Also, as the industry shifts toward outpatient care models, clinical asset management is bound to become more complex. Without the insights to optimize cost and risk, today’s biomed equipment programs run the risk of continuing to deliver disaggregated equipment maintenance to an oversized asset fleet, driving up OPEX and CAPEX.
Shane Landrum: Through our consultancy process, called a “current state assessment” (CSA), we have found that most providers are lacking true visibility into their current clinical equipment spend and, as a result, are often overspent. We use our proven CSA process, refined by more than 500 client engagements, to create a comprehensive and accurate spend baseline. Many of our providers are surprised to find that their current operating expenses are 30 to 50 percent higher than previously understood because equipment management activities are disaggregated across multiple owners, databases, and operating systems. A mature clinical asset program starts with a comprehensive asset inventory across all modalities, including imaging, laboratory, and biomed equipment.
As organizations grow and navigate shifting care delivery models, how does your company help providers transition from traditional biomed programs to mature clinical asset management programs?
Klumpe: TRIMEDX drives operating and capital cost reductions and operational excellence by guiding providers up the clinical asset management “maturity curve” (see Figure 1 below). Providers should strive to move from disaggregated equipment maintenance and a “break-fix” orientation with high OEM (original equipment manufacturer) service reliance to a model based on a solid centralized clinical engineering core. This model should be further amplified by clinical asset management activities focused on proactive asset replacement planning, accelerated asset retirements, and understanding and optimizing asset use.
Landrum: A first step in maturing clinical asset management is laying the groundwork to move away from disaggregated equipment maintenance to a centrally managed program with a single asset inventory database and clinical engineering in full control of all service contracts, parts procurement, and choice of asset service strategy. We help providers begin this journey with a thorough assessment to build an understanding of how current clinical engineering spend is allocated across service delivery. TRIMEDX uses our CSA process to find hidden spend tied to expensive service contracts and third-party service delivery methods. We dig deeper to understand the current fragmented service delivery model and identify areas for standardization.
Hummel: TRIMEDX centralizes service delivery support through more than 400 corporate-based specialized associates that manage all other functions besides repair and maintenance, including our client experience center and world-class supply chain and regulatory and compliance teams. This expert support gives back time to our technicians to perform what they do best—equipment service. We support our more than 1,100 hospital-based technicians with our world-class clinical maintenance management system (CMMS–RSQ) and invest in them with rigorous additional training. In 2017, TRIMEDX invested more than $4 million in training for our technicians to optimize service support for our customers.
Landrum: After we determine cost and risk and areas of potential standardization, TRIMEDX can begin to understand the true utilization of a provider’s clinical assets. At this stage of maturity, we have the required data to give our clients visibility that helps optimize their clinical asset utilization.
Klumpe: Where many traditional biomed programs would continue operating at this level, here is where TRIMEDX innovation pulls our clinical engineering clients higher toward an advanced clinical asset management program. This next step uses uses data-driven clinical asset informatics and utilization data to better manage your system’s fleet dynamics, right-size your inventory, reduce your OPEX, and streamline CAPEX needs versus actual clinical needs. In short, the efficiencies realized in the capital asset management step provide streamlined workflows for your optimized inventory fleet at a lower cost for both clinical engineering and mobile medical equipment programs.
Scaled operational delivery of clinical asset management services is achieved as the final step. The strategic alignment of fleet dynamics, capital informatics and planning, optimized cost and risk, and standardized service delivery provide deep, sustainable cost savings throughout your health system. These savings are from a multitude of points but center from increased in-house service delivery, right-sized inventory fleets, extension of asset useful life, centralized operational support, and value gained through equipment disposition efforts.
Hummel: Clients report high satisfaction with a fully matured clinical asset management program. The satisfaction is highest when providers can reinvest their significant cost savings into patient care while providing improved service delivery. Our partnerships have provided insights into fleet dynamics, significant and sustainable savings, and in turn, patient service increases through the positive reinvestment of both time and capital.
Are there any educational materials you would like to share to help healthcare providers learn more?
Landrum: The TRIMEDX website has many great resources at www.TRIMEDX.com.
Created by Providers, for Providers, TRIMEDX understands that patients are the No. 1 priority. A United States-based company, TRIMEDX started as a hospital clinical engineering department focused on reducing expenses, optimizing service, and enhancing the patient experience through innovative medical equipment management programs. Today, TRIMEDX is recognized around the globe as a leader in medical equipment management.