Addressing Labor Shortages: CMMSs as a Solution for Medical Facilities

4:52 am
August 5, 2023

Summary: The shortage of biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs) in the healthcare industry is impacting patient care and operational costs. With the aging workforce and the closure of BMET education programs, medical facilities are facing challenges in managing, repairing, and maintaining medical equipment. To bridge this gap, a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can help medical facilities streamline asset management processes. CMMS platforms optimize operational efficiency, provide employee training and knowledge sharing, enable remote equipment monitoring and diagnostics, optimize workforce scheduling, coordinate with suppliers and vendors, implement asset lifecycle management, analyze and report data, maximize equipment uptime, and maintain regulatory compliance.

Understanding the Role of Biomedical Technicians

Biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs) play a vital role in managing and maintaining medical equipment, ensuring optimal patient care. Without these professionals, critical medical devices such as MRI machines, defibrillators, and patient monitors would fall into disrepair, leading to delayed services and negative consequences for patients. The shortage of BMETs also puts a strain on the budgets of medical facilities that may need to rely on expensive outside service contracts for maintenance and repair.

What is a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and How Can It Help?

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a facility management software that optimizes maintenance operations and decision-making. For medical facilities dealing with a shortage of BMETs, CMMSs offer several benefits:

1. Improve Operational Efficiency

A CMMS automates manual tasks, such as work order management and preventive maintenance scheduling, freeing up technicians’ time and ensuring medical equipment is in top shape. It also helps prioritize tasks based on importance and time sensitivity, minimizing equipment failures and downtime.

2. Provide Opportunities for Employee Training and Knowledge Sharing

Modern CMMSs include features that support training and knowledge sharing among technicians. CMMS software can store manuals, troubleshooting guides, and other documentation to help technicians learn and handle more complex tasks effectively.

3. Monitor Equipment and Run Diagnostics Remotely

Advanced CMMS systems enable remote monitoring, allowing technicians to collect real-time data, monitor equipment performance, and diagnose issues without being physically present. This feature becomes valuable when there’s a shortage of on-site technicians, optimizing time and resources.

4. Optimize Workforce Scheduling

CMMS software facilitates optimized workforce scheduling by considering technician availability, skillsets, and workload. Assigning tasks and routes efficiently ensures that critical maintenance and repairs are completed in a timely manner.

5. Coordinate Suppliers and Vendors

CMMS software streamlines communication with suppliers and vendors, tracking maintenance contracts, warranty information, and service agreements. This coordination ensures facilities have the necessary support and external expertise efficiently.

6. Implement Asset Lifecycle Management

A CMMS provides a comprehensive view of the entire lifecycle of medical assets, from procurement to retirement. By tracking asset history, maintenance activities, and performance data, facilities can optimize equipment usage and reduce technician workload.

7. Analyze and Report Data

CMMS platforms gather and analyze data on equipment performance, maintenance costs, and technician productivity. Customizable reports and trend data help identify inefficiencies, improve processes, and make staffing decisions based on the shortage.

8. Maximize Equipment Uptime

CMMS software allows for the implementation of predictive maintenance programs and tracking preventive maintenance tasks. Shifting from reactive to proactive maintenance strategies minimizes asset breakdowns and ensures high equipment uptime, critical in healthcare for patient outcomes.

9. Maintain Regulatory Compliance

Healthcare assets must comply with stringent regulatory standards. A CMMS helps facilities stay compliant with comprehensive asset tracking and maintenance records. Mobile apps provide real-time asset status notifications, simplifying audits and ensuring uninterrupted patient service.

Use IBM Maximo Application Suite to Streamline Your Facility

Overcoming the challenges posed by a shortage of BMETs requires a multi-pronged response. While a CMMS cannot completely solve the problem, it can significantly reduce its impact. IBM Maximo Application Suite is an advanced software solution that helps healthcare organizations optimize asset performance and streamline operations. It combines CMMS, EAM, and APM capabilities with AI-powered analytics, enabling data-driven decision-making and improved patient safety. Leveraging technology and smart strategies will ensure the sustainability of healthcare operations.

FAQs

Why is there a shortage of biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs) in the healthcare industry?

The shortage of BMETs is primarily due to an aging workforce, with a significant percentage approaching retirement. Additionally, the closure of BMET education and certification programs in numerous states has led to a decline in newly trained professionals entering the workforce.

How can a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) help medical facilities?

A CMMS helps medical facilities bridge the gap caused by the BMET shortage by automating maintenance processes, prioritizing tasks, facilitating knowledge sharing, enabling remote equipment monitoring and diagnostics, optimizing workforce scheduling, coordinating with suppliers and vendors, implementing lifecycle management, analyzing data, maximizing equipment uptime, and maintaining regulatory compliance.

How does IBM Maximo Application Suite benefit healthcare organizations?

IBM Maximo Application Suite is a comprehensive software solution that empowers healthcare organizations to optimize asset performance, streamline operations, and make data-driven decisions. Its integrated AI-powered platform combines CMMS, EAM, and APM capabilities, offering advanced analytics and enhancing patient safety.


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