With the exponential expansion of connected medical devices, medical device management (MDM) has escalated in strategic importance. At Unisys, we partnered with HIMSS Media to conduct a survey in March 2018 to better understand how healthcare providers and practices are managing their medical devices. The survey results highlighted six ways you can improve your MDM systems and solutions to get the greatest cost efficiency, operational effectiveness, and overall value from the medical devices that are multiplying every day.
1. Evaluate the true cost of MDM.
Nearly one-half (49%) of healthcare providers manage medical devices completely internally and another 29% use a combination of internal resources and selected outsourcing partners. Whether you’re handling MDM internally or outsourcing it – or a combination of both – be sure to evaluate the true cost of your efforts in terms of money, time, resources, and quality. For example, are your clinical engineers being used for maximum effectiveness? Are you incurring opportunity costs from slow response times? Have you optimized patient safety and satisfaction?
2. Take a fresh look at internally-developed software.
A total of 63% of providers who manage medical devices internally do so either through a combination of vendor software and internally-developed solutions (41%), or exclusively by using internally-developed solutions (22%). Take a fresh look at any internally-developed software you may use to assess it in terms of security, mobility, ease of integration, and user experience. Is it possible that an internal system is actually limiting your productivity and connectedness, and increasing your costs and risk? Can other groups within the organization make use of the data your clinical engineers are generating?
3. Budget for security – not for breaches.
More than 8 out of 10 providers consider medical device security a strategic priority, but just over one-third of providers have approved budgets. Ironically, many providers who don’t have budgets for medical device security do have funds set aside to cover ransomware attacks. But why budget to respond to an attack when you can prevent the attack? Safeguard your devices and systems by assigning a budget and acting on it.
4. Go beyond firewalls and network access control (NAC) systems.
A vast majority (85%) of respondents stated that they use firewalls and NAC systems. You probably have them in place, too. However, firewalls and NAC systems do not have the encryption and flexibility necessary in a complete solution. And isolating your devices on a separate network is usually not as secure as you think. Assess your current security to locate gaps that hackers can exploit, and understand what you are getting from what you are spending in software resource costs.
5. Establish a single source of truth for all medical device data.
Just 30% of providers report that they are capturing near real-time medical device data on an ongoing basis – this means that staff have to scramble at the time of audit to gather and collate the necessary data. By moving toward the ongoing capture of real-time data and the creation of a single source of truth for all medical device data, you can simplify audit processes.
6. Make purchases based on facts.
Only 34% of providers say they utilize analytics based on clinical engineering data to make purchasing decisions for medical devices; the majority rely on recommendations from the facilities team, physicians, and vendors. Regrettably, these recommendations may be subjective and biased. When it comes time for your next capital investment, leverage MDM data to make a wise purchasing decision.
As you take a close look at the MDM systems and solutions you are currently using, you can assess their true cost, true effectiveness, and true value to improve your overall MDM processes. It is time to expect more from medical device management. Doing so will benefit your practice, your personnel, your processes, and your patients. Read the full survey report here.