For all of his successes as Corporate Director of Clinical Engineering at Aurora Health Care, Al Gresch said he was still manually using Excel to manage the database for his department’s capital planning — something he said worked, but would have greatly benefited from software automation. The eastern Wisconsin health system is comprised of 15 hospitals, 185 clinics, and more than 80 community pharmacies. “That was a lot of work to manually create all that stuff, instead of having an automated tool that would do that for you like CERF (capital equipment replacement forecasting),” said Gresch. “It’s a great solution. It’s a lot easier and a lot more efficient, especially for departments who don’t have the ware withal or bandwidth, which is increasingly the case. With a couple of keystrokes, being able to get what you need and share it with financial leadership is a powerful tool.”
“Having spent much of his career on the hospital side of clinical engineering, Al understands the constant pressure departments are under to cut costs, the threats some face from outsourcing, and the need every department has for cost effective solutions that are fast to implement and start generating near-immediate return on investment,” said Hank Goddard, CEO of Mainspring Healthcare Solutions.
Now the VP of Client Success at Mainspring, Gresch is speaking at the MD Expo Las Vegas, alongside Doug Dreps of Mercy Hospital St. Louis and Dave Dickey of McLaren Health Care. Across two sessions titled: “Strategies and Tools to Save Your Hospital Millions”, the three industry experts will review case studies each has overseen, and attendees will gain insights into how each leader saved millions of dollars for their organizations.
“I know Doug and Dave pretty well,” said Gresch, who has over 30 years of experience in clinical engineering. “We’re like the three amigos. We run into each other from time to time throughout the year. I chair the [Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI)] Healthcare Technology Leadership Committee, and both Dave and Doug are members.”
Real World Solutions
Along with capital planning, Gresch’s presentation will also focus on creating cost savings through asset management with mobile medical equipment tracking; illustrating recent Mainspring successes stories at places like Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The 700-bed academic medical center and level-1 trauma center is using Mainspring’s Service Performance Management (SPM) solution system-wide to manage the daily flow of over 7,500 mobile medical devices. The hospital has avoided purchasing over 20 additional Verathon BladderScan ultrasound machines (a capital expenditure of over $200,000), due to better workflow management resulting in the increased availability of their current equipment through SPM.
“There isn’t a single HTM [healthcare technology management] department on the planet whose costs aren’t entirely based on the inventory they support. There’s also not a finance group on the planet that doesn’t stop asking for further reduction in cost,” said Gresch. He pointed out that at the end of his tenure at Aurora, the clinical engineering department had gotten their cost-to-service ratio down to a four-percent low. As anyone in the HTM world can imagine, the finance depart was still looking for further cost reductions. "Even if you get to a point of optimum efficiency in service performance delivery, how do you further reduce cost? You start using your data to find smart ways to reduce inventory, and subsequently you’ll reduce costs,” said Gresch. "This is a methodology that works.”