The face of healthcare asset tracking is changing. The innovative tools that allowed hospitals to track the location of their equipment continue to evolve through 2024. New technology allows hospitals to take advantage of the time, energy, and cost savings that asset tracking can provide. In this article, we explore the trends in healthcare asset tracking in 2024 and how hospitals will benefit from these innovations.
Benefits of Asset Tracking in Healthcare
RTLS asset tracking changes how hospitals carry out inventory management, equipment repair, and time allocation for asset maintenance. Hospitals spend significant percentages of their yearly budgets on equipment purchases, maintenance, and repair. Effective asset tracking reduces hospital spending so these resources can be allocated to bolster other efforts.
Below are just a few benefits of incorporating asset tracking in a hospital’s operations:
- Cost-Savings: Asset tracking makes locating missing or stolen equipment simple and fast, reducing the resources spent on replacements.
- Time Savings: Nurses and providers can easily locate equipment, spending less time searching the floor for missing assets and increasing efficiency. Asset tracking can also reduce equipment downtime thanks to preventive and scheduled maintenance.
- Streamlined Operations: As assets increase, tracking becomes more critical to maintaining efficient and effective day-to-day operations. Asset tracking informs supply chain decisions, creating more efficiency in inventory management.
- Better Patient Outcomes: When assets are accounted for, maintained, and accessible, providers and staff have the resources and time necessary to provide better outcomes for their patients.
The face of asset tracking is changing. Keeping up with the latest trends empowers hospitals to take advantage of this innovative technology.
1. Increased Visibility within Supply Chains
Many hospitals operate under a “just-in-time” system when it comes to inventory and supply acquisition. Asset ordering occurs when needs are urgent. In the past, this type of last-minute ordering did not necessarily create problems. However, due to supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, many hospitals found themselves without crucial equipment needed to provide patient care. In some circumstances, hospitals had access to the equipment but needed to pay egregious delivery fees to obtain the assets in a timely manner.
The pandemic both directly caused and exacerbated pre-existing supply chain issues within the healthcare system. Low inventory visibility, reactive ordering, and overspending marked many hospitals’ inventory management practices.
These supply chain issues caused significant burnout and, as a result, turnover within hospitals. In one study, 43% of respondents said their hospital lost nurses due to shortages or the challenges caused by shortages. In the same survey, 12% lost physicians for the same reasons.
Supply chain costs make up about one-third of hospital spending. With so much of their budget wrapped up in supply chain expenses, hospitals should take every possible step to ensure those resources aren’t wasted on lost or late deliveries or damaged goods. Asset tracking prevents loss from occurring before the equipment arrives and allows teams to track asset delivery every step of the way.
Asset Tracking provides solutions to supply chain issues, increasing visibility and empowering hospital systems to proactively order the assets they need. This year, hospitals will take advantage of the bird’s eye view of supply chains that asset tracking provides. Asset tracking informs ordering practices and can alert teams when inventory needs replacement. Tracking also allows hospitals to locate their orders regardless of where they are in the supply chain. From assembly to delivery, this technology shows hospitals the status of their equipment.
Post-pandemic, the healthcare sector is developing methods to strengthen the cracks in hospital supply chains. Advanced asset tracking innovates supply chain processes to save time and money and ensures providers have the equipment they need to provide quality patient care.
2. Beyond Location Tracking
At its inception, RTLS asset tracking revolutionized the way hospitals –– as well as other industries–– monitored the location of their equipment. As we step into 2024, asset tracking will go far beyond simple location tracking.
Proper preventive maintenance extends your assets’ lifespans. Asset tracking allows you to create maintenance schedules for your equipment so that nothing slips through the cracks.
Maintenance scheduling includes preventive maintenance, as well. Keeping a preventive maintenance schedule ensures you prevent problems before they crop up, keeping your equipment working as it should. Implementing asset tracking empowers your IT teams to carry out preventive maintenance that saves time and money. Preventive maintenance saves time, money, and stress, and postpones the need for more expensive reactive maintenance down the road.
Monitor Equipment Conditions
Asset condition is critical to hospital operations. Without properly functioning equipment, providers cannot provide patient care and hospitals put themselves at legal risk. Asset monitoring keeps IT teams updated on equipment conditions, enabling them to make repairs or order new equipment if necessary.
Keeping a record of equipment condition prevents frenzied buying, overspending for expedited delivery, and can reduce ordering errors. Asset tracking promotes careful and consistent monitoring which results in more accurate handling of equipment repair and replacement.
3. Cloud-Based Tracking
In the high-paced environment of a hospital, staff doesn’t have time to waste searching the floors for equipment or sorting through cumbersome documents to find maintenance records. Asset tracking from Altus puts your data in a cloud-based platform, giving you instant access to the information you need to keep your assets and your hospital running smoothly.
RTLS technology provides instant, real-time data, providing asset location, condition, and even battery life.
All teams benefit from instant access to your asset data. With cloud-based tracking, everyone is on the same page and can work toward the same goal to accomplish tasks more efficiently and effectively.
Cloud-based asset tracking allows system-wide sharing among larger hospital organizations. Regardless of the size or scope of your hospital operations, all pertinent data is on hand and up to date. Teams see the same information and can better collaborate to problem solve and strategize to produce a more effective hospital system.
Asset tracking is nothing new within the healthcare industry. But due to recent innovation, 2024 will usher in technological advances that empower hospitals to improve care, reduce spending, and cultivate more effective asset management strategies.