A Google search of “IO&T” brings up references to the "Internet Of Things", but that’s not what we’re talking about here. IO&T is the acronym for Initial Outfitting and Transition, the federal government term used for the overall process of setting up military medical facilities.
The Need for the IO&T Process
In 2005, the Air Force Medical Service first implemented the IO&T concept to alleviate the time and efficiency issues associated with the process of procuring equipment and establishing medical facilities. Projects had been hampered and delayed because the local staff assigned to the work were not familiar with the requirements for establishing or retrofitting a facility. Details and deadlines were missed, and facilities were often opened before the staff was properly prepared.
The IO&T program was developed to address these issues. By incorporating the entire project under one contracted project team, it created a turn-key process that covered everything from the preliminary design to the grand opening and initial operation.
A Turn-key Project
An IO&T project is a turn-key solution: the IO&T contractor is responsible for all aspects of the entire project including planning, procurement, staffing and even the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Some of the tasks needed, and expected, for outfitting and opening a newly constructed or redesigned healthcare facility can include:
- User interviews
- Project assessments
- Interior design
- Inventory/assessment of existing equipment
- Procurement of all needed equipment including furniture, technology, electrical systems, signage, and medical equipment
- Project storage, delivery, and installation
- Testing and training on the new equipment
- Public relations/ribbon-cutting, opening events
- Project management
Navigating the IO&T Purchase Process
Because an IO&T project is expected to be turn-key, the purchase process is more complex than basic medical equipment procurement. Beyond interviewing users, inventorying equipment, and researching suppliers, the IO&T purchasing process requires expertise beyond the knowledge of regular staff.
When navigating the IO&T purchase process, you must consider how to:
- Include furniture, technology and other non-medical equipment products
- Incorporate existing equipment
- Procure new equipment that works efficiently and integrates with existing equipment
- Manage procurement and product lead time with multiple vendors
- Minimize acquisition time to adhere to project schedule
- Store new equipment prior to delivery
- Schedule delivery and install within the facility’s and staff’s schedules
- Incorporate testing and training into the project to ensure equipment and staff are ready for opening
- Deal with issues of damaged furniture or faulty equipment
- Manage multiple vendor purchase requests and contracts before, during, and after the facility is opened
A Sensible Solution
Working within IO&T expectations can be both complex and extremely expansive. When trying to navigate the process, bringing an IO&T contractor on board to handle the FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) requirements and transition services will help ensure the success of the project. An experienced IO&T contractor is essential for minimizing procurement lead-times, helping to meet tight schedules, and ensuring that the facility opens for business properly and on time.
CME has partnered with various IO&T companies throughout the country to provide a complete solution that encompasses product choices from thousands of leading medical equipment manufacturers as well as Direct-To-Site services such as staging, assembly, and delivery. These companies recognize the value we bring to the medical equipment procurement process, and we are confident you will too.
Contact us for more information about facilitating your IO&T project.