How many coach potatoes do you think there are out there, got a FitBit for the holidays and made good on their New Year’s resolutions to become chiselled fitness buffs — they all did, right? All these people started tracking themselves, gained detailed insights into every step back and forth from the fridge between Netflix binges, and through the power of visibility with informative dashboards and a fancy app, they put down the Häagen-Dazs and turned their life completely around.
The same thing happened with RTLS across the healthcare industry. Never mind the size, age of the facility or makeup of the physical environment, every hospital that bought into RTLS for asset tracking in the past decade gained visibility into the every tagged asset. As a result, biomedical engineers knew exactly where every medical device was and what condition it was in, nurses received those devices when they needed them, money was saved, patients were happy, and nobody had to get off the couch.
How many students pulling all-nighters right now in nursing school dream of becoming a device interface when they graduate? What would the course description look like anyway? Maybe something like: Device Interfaces in Modern Nursing — In lieu of automated systems, today’s nurse is expected to spend an inordinate amount of time manually typing and/or writing information down on a sticky notes from medical devices to electronic health records (EHR). While it’s not a course they teach, the task of manually and inefficiently managing data between devices is what nurses are being tasked with in the real world every day, and it comes with high costs.
“Place it. Press it. Get it.” Thus reads the marketing copy on the Amazon Dash Button webpage. Instantaneous and on demand, you stick the Wi-Fi-enabled button by its corresponding product and whenever you’re running low on coffee or razors or baby formula, you press it and get it. That’s the type of user experience and automated process Mainspring is bringing to hospital operations; where nurses and clinicians get their on demand requests quickly and easily fulfilled, while support services (whether it’s clinical engineering, facilities, environmental services, etc.) have the proper tools and workflow to effectively deliver that request.
Is this the post-EHR era? Are we now living in a post-EHR world? The general idea of this term is that we’ve come to a point where the industry-wide shift in the adoption of electronic health records has taken place, and now the focus can be on making much needed improvements to the health IT infrastructure that’s been implemented, like doubling down on efforts to improve interoperability.
When hospitals think information technology, the 100-million-dollar gorilla in the room is electronic health records (EHR). While the adoption of these systems is meant to improve healthcare and create cost savings, EHR software systems are sprawling, their implementation complex and their price tags can run in the millions to hundreds of millions of dollars. At the high-end there are places like Boston-based Partners HealthCare, which went live with Epic (the EHR market-share leader) to the tune of $1.2 billion, after a three-year implementation process.
There’s a healthcare revolution going on out there. The digital age came upon us, new technologies arose, and the American healthcare system underwent a seismic transformation. With the HITECH Act, accompanying the 2009 economic stimulus, and the Affordable Care Act in 2010, there’s been a national push for the adoption and advancement of health information technology, most importantly of the interoperability of health information technology. But what exactly does interoperability mean, and why is it so important?
One day our descedents might very well take a tour at some museum of natural history, and wandering into the wing housing the exhibit on early 21st century humans, they might observe interactive images of office workers hunched over glowing desktops with open windows of email and Excel. They’ll likely gaze in the same kind of wonderment as we do of Neanderthals wielding primitive stone tools. We can’t take that guided tour at the Smithsonian just yet. While we’ve been heralding the death of spreadsheets and email for years and will continue to do so, the truth of the matter is they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Sometimes we just need to see them for the tools that they are.
Most of us are familiar with automotive recalls like the ones that are frequently in the news, like Takata’s airbag recall that affected over 33 million vehicles. Those working in healthcare technology management (HTM) are also acutely aware of medical device recalls, which happen more frequently than most people realize. In the four years between 2005 and 2009, the FDA reports that manufacturers conducted 87 recalls on infusion pumps alone. It’s not news anyone likes hearing, but when a hospital is notified of a recall like the recent one on Alaris pumps, it can affect thousands of devices that are scattered across the hospital. Just finding these devices in a hospital can be a massive undertaking. After sending out emails to nursing staff, informing them of the recall, it’s not uncommon for HTM departments to have a dedicated staff member scouring the hospital in search of the devices. Once they are taken out of service for repair, the nursing staff and operations teams immediately feel the squeeze of having less equipment on hand. It is an arduous, time-consuming process, but there’s a way to turn that pain into gain.
Mainspring Healthcare Solutions is excited to announce a new partnership with PartsSource that will transform how healthcare technology management (HTM) departments manage their parts inventory. Over the last decade, the two companies have been the leading innovators in their respective markets; PartsSource with its highly automated parts procurement solution and Mainspring with its integrated equipment lifecycle management platform. The new partnership will deliver greater benefits to clients, including significantly reduced parts costs, improved staff productivity and detailed visibility into parts consumption, spending and quality.