Equipment planning involves three important steps that will help you avoid costly last minute purchases. Whether you are engaged in a remodeling, facility expansion or new construction project, you can avoid costly errors and last minute purchases by following these three steps based on best practices for your hospital's equipment project.
1. Equipment Selection Preplanning
The first step is a detailed assessment that will allow you to look at the entire facility and determine what will be needed for each department. It is advisable to involve key players at this stage including physician leaders from each affected department, department administrators, purchasing and a coordinating head from hospital administration.
A thorough needs assessment and value analysis process is required to identify what equipment is required. Requests from each department can be approved based on the needs of patients with valuable input from physicians and administrators with the authority to approve equipment requests. Facilities also have standards established in many product categories that need to be considered. Evaluations must be made involving medical staff, nursing staff and clinical staff, as well as operations, safety and in most cases biomedical engineering.
Engaging a space planner or equipment planner is appropriate at this stage to determine if the equipment will physically fit in the space allotted and that the equipment will meet safety standards, IT requirements and adhere to the facilities standards.
Consideration must be made for compatibility with existing equipment and systems and the approved space allotment within each department. This means looking at operational factors such as ease of use both physically and intuitively, as well as easy access when maintenance is required.
Considerations must also be made for the costs involved with operation and maintenance as well as possible space challenges for other equipment installation based on plans for expansion of services or even the possibility of relocation.
The finance department will also need to be consulted to confirm that budgeting limitations have been met. This information and formal requests can then be submitted to a standardization committee for final approval. The agreed upon equipment can then be passed onto to the purchasing department to begin the next step - procurement.
During the procurement stage, the focus is on identifying the suppliers available to provide the equipment in the appropriate time frame while staying within budget.
This stage of the process first involves identifying and contacting the manufacturers and distributors of the selected equipment items. It also involves utilizing GPO purchasing contracts, RPC’s, quantity discounts, and manufacturer promotional prices, when possible, to reduce costs.
With all of these decisions made, procurement orders can be created with an eye to bundling purchase orders when possible, to reduce costs.
3. Delivery and Receipt
Delivery can become complicated when multiple suppliers must be scheduled and coordinated whether the facility is currently open or it is a brand new facility. If deliveries are coming from many different sources, a new facility has to have a designated person waiting in an empty building to receive all of the equipment because many manufacturers do not schedule the deliveries or choose to ship via UPS. If the facility is open, a delivery schedule needs to take into account reducing interruptions to patient workflow.
However, this stage does not just involve a delivery schedule. It also includes setting up and evaluating the function of the new equipment prior to use and in accord with established criteria. This will generally involve operations, biomedical engineering, and other relevant departments.
For new equipment, staff must be trained before the equipment can be released for use for patient care.
Ensuring that the equipment is not damaged and that it is placed in the right spot at the right time is also important.
Someone must ensure a copy of the manufacturer’s operator manuals and instructions are always readily available for staff review. This should be kept in a consistent location at the site of the equipment.
CME specializes in the logistics of medical equipment procurement and delivery to healthcare facilities. We have all of your equipment shipped to our warehouse. We check for damages, assemble the equipment and deliver everything to your facility when you want it delivered.
With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.