Increased Alternate Healthcare Sites Complicate Medical Device Reallocation

Medical Device News Magazine's Industry Contributor, Mr. Dave Klumpe, President of Clinical Asset Management, TRIMEDX Provides His Views on Medical Device Reallocation

Summation

  • A clinical asset management solution can provide complete visibility into the medical device inventory and analyze utilization, so a health system can be certain it is reallocating devices to satisfy a need at one location without impacting supply at another location.
  • Clinical assets account for an average of 25% of a health system's capital expenditures, yet utilization and benchmarking data reveal that acute care hospitals have excess equipment that is only used 40 to 50% of the time.
  • Medical device reallocation is not a simple process, but as more care moves outside the hospital, having necessary and potentially lifesaving equipment available at all sites is crucial.
By Dave Klumpe, President of Clinical Asset Management, TRIMEDX

The accelerating shift in healthcare delivery from hospitals to non-acute settings presents challenges and opportunities for health systems. One such opportunity is medical device reallocation.

Ambulatory surgery centers alone are expected to experience 25% patient growth by 2032. Equipping those centers with safe and effective medical devices will be no easy task, particularly because alternate care sites compound the complexities of clinical asset management.

But the task need not necessarily be a financially exorbitant one. On the contrary, reallocating existing equipment rather than buying new or leasing can yield operational savings. Doing so effectively without compromising care requires detailed, data-driven insight into your clinical asset inventory and an understanding of the health system’s needs.

The scope of medical device reallocation

 The pace of growth toward alternate care sites and the impact on medical device management will be profound. McKinsey projects outpatient and ambulatory settings’ payer profit pools will grow more than five percent annually through 2025, while hospital revenues will remain tight.

Health systems already face ongoing financial pressures and increased supply chain and labor expenses. Many health systems don’t realize their medical device inventory can be leveraged to provide operational savings to offset some of the strain.

Clinical assets account for an average of 25% of a health system’s capital expenditures, yet utilization and benchmarking data reveal that acute care hospitals have excess equipment that is only used 40 to 50% of the time. These devices could provide more value to the health system and patients by being moved to care sites with higher demand. For example, rural hospitals and clinics often use older equipment or lack necessary machines altogether. These facilities would benefit significantly from device reallocation, and the move would maximize the value and use of existing equipment.

The complexity of offsite medical device management

Reallocating existing devices to leverage cost savings demands a carefully considered approach that will not compromise patient safety, and the disbursement of the equipment between facilities complicates the process. Decision makers need to know exactly which devices they have and how they are being used, as well as the location and asset status of that equipment. Are the devices clean and up to date? Are they available and safe for patient use? Understanding these factors helps health leaders decide which devices can be used at alternate care sites.

A clinical asset management solution can provide complete visibility into the medical device inventory and analyze utilization, so a health system can be certain it is reallocating devices to satisfy a need at one location without impacting supply at another location. Asset management solutions also enable providers at alternate care sites to see which devices are available—including the make, model, manufacturer, age, and reliability—to locate the equipment that best suits their needs.

Asset management changes the purchasing process

When most systems need new medical devices, they immediately move to purchase them. They overlook the value of their current equipment, especially if it is located at different care sites. By evaluating all available assets, they may be able to identify devices for reallocation. Finding new uses for existing devices maximizes the investment already made while continuing to provide quality patient care. A clinical asset management solution aids in these decisions.

Creating a medical device governance council with members from across the health system facilitates efficient equipment allocation and management. The council raises systemwide awareness of the importance of clinical asset management, approves key decisions involving equipment purchases and other expenditures, and sets priorities. The committee resolves the ambiguity surrounding who is responsible for what, empowering improved decision-making.

Medical device reallocation is not a simple process, but as more care moves outside the hospital, having necessary and potentially lifesaving equipment available at all sites is crucial. With the current financial challenges health systems face, purchasing new equipment for each location is not always the best option. Underutilized devices can be repurposed in other locations, preventing unnecessary expenditures without detriment to patients. A complete overview of all available assets allows health system leaders to make informed and prudent moves.

Editor’s Note: Dave Klumpe, President of clinical asset management for TRIMEDX and frequent contributor to Medical Device News Magazine.

Mr. Kumpe leads TRIMEDX’s clinical asset management business unit including Clinical Asset Informatics, clinical asset management strategic advising, Mobile Medical Equipment management services, and surplus equipment disposition & auctions with Centurion Services Group.

Prior to joining TRIMEDX, David served in leadership roles at MedAssets and Broadlane where he created and led the development of a suite of supply chain management and technology services for several of the nation’s largest health care providers. He has more than 30 years of leadership experience with large, multi-hospital investor-owned and not-for-profit hospital systems.

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