As Shannon explained in her ALM post last week, the unique asset management challenges faced by the healthcare industry require inspired, robust and coordinated Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM) solutions like PeopleSoft ALM. The first step toward understanding the impact that an elegant and coordinated solution like PeopleSoft ALM can make is appreciating the scope of the maintenance and operations challenges faced by healthcare organizations today.
One of the biggest (and, to healthcare organizations, scariest) of those challenges is regulatory compliance. Perhaps no single issue illustrates that point more clearly than the directive issued last December by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for administering Medicare and other state and federal insurance programs.
The CMS’s new rules were — and still are — a big deal. The directive mandates that healthcare organizations follow manufacturers’ recommended schedules/techniques for maintaining equipment at all times. While there is a little bit of situational wiggle room in the new rules, the bottom line is that the passage of this directive represents a massive new regulatory obligation — one that for many businesses and institutions is virtually impossible to fulfill. Even those that already have maintenance management programs and systems in place have found compliance with such a sweeping and inflexible mandate to be an enormous challenge. And it goes without saying that hospitals and healthcare organizations that have no such system were — and are — in trouble. Or, even if they have a CMMS but can’t prove they are following manufacturers’ procedures or can’t adapt their CMMS to follow and report on these procedures, the outcome is the same: big trouble. The results of non-compliance? Potentially significant operational compromise and financial penalties.
It’s a bit of a mess.
But regulation is far from the only concern. Healthcare professionals regularly have to deal with a wide range of maintenance challenges, including:
- No standardization—of processes, procedures, data, etc.
- Poor visibility—of maintenance costs and information.
- Inefficiency—due to information in disparate systems or standardized processes.
- Inflexibility—of maintenance programs to nimbly respond to unexpected challenges.
- Lack of expertise—identifying and retaining specialty trade professionals (plumbing, electricians, HVAC, etc.) to successfully execute projects while staying on budget.
- Funding deficits—related to the cost of properly maintaining or replacing assets.
- Declining budgets—for support positions (administration and maintenance).
- Leadership conflicts—administrative vs. medical management perspectives.
These challenges are even more apparent when considered in the context of a healthcare industry that is becoming more and more consolidated. With many independent providers joining together both in and across markets, high-level executive and financial connections are being established at a pace that makes it tough for the operational and technical realities to keep up. The result is that you sometimes end up with multiple maintenance management systems within the same organization, with an entirely different set of standards and practices from one department to the next—or even one building to the next! In the face of all these regulatory and structural challenges, getting all of those different elements to speak the same “language” is Job 1A: and that is where MIPRO and PeopleSoft ALM come in.
Are you in the healthcare industry? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. It’s a topic we hear time and again, and we suspect we’ll be hearing it a good deal at Interact 2012 later this month.
Learn more about Interact 2012, where MIPRO will be exhibiting.
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