3 Problem Areas an IT Asset Inventory can Uncover in Healthcare Facilities

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By Phil Sobol | Sep 3, 2021

3 minute read Blog| EHR/EPR

In early 2021, results from an online survey* of healthcare leaders who are College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) members indicated that areas of greatest opportunity for cost savings and efficiencies fall within these areas: 

  • 36% – Application rationalization 
  • 26% – Contract consolidation and management 
  • 20% – Infrastructure retirement and consolidation 

As you face mounting cost containment pressures and balance doing more with less, you may be pressed to make decisions or defend IT spend with incomplete data.  

How much do you know about your technology infrastructure and IT assets? 

A reliable, business-relevant IT assessment of your organization’s technical infrastructure (including compute, network, peripheral assets, applications, active directory objects and network traffic) can provide valuable data and often includes these components: 

  • Electronic assets. Most likely, you have a scan agent that feeds your configuration management database (CMDB) and provides an inventory of your online devices and applications and printers on the network. Using our IT asset discovery tool, you are able to capture more information that will drive valuable business logic. 
  • Physical assets. This boots-on-the-ground inventory logs details about assets you have in your health system from offline devices, printers, and peripherals to monitors, device placement and more. Mapping is a critical component of the physical asset discovery that also feeds the business logic components.
  • Business logic. When you combine the knowledge of hospital operations, technology needs for hospital staff and locations, workflows, and user satisfaction issues with the data from electronic and physical discovery, you achieve actionable insights. 

When should you perform an IT asset inventory? 

The perfect time to perform an IT asset discovery and mapping assessment is when you are leading teams through high impact efforts such as these: 

  • Merger and acquisition activities 
  • IT modernization  
  • Enterprise lifecycle refresh and device deployments 
  • EMR implementation (upgrade from legacy to modern EHR or consolidation to a single platform) 
  • Budget planning and cost containment efforts 
  • Workflow efficiency and user satisfaction issues 

What types of problems can an IT asset inventory can help uncover? 

The process of examining clinical workflows in conjunction with electronic and physical assets specific to an area of your hospital begins to uncover areas that are not aligned. 

1. Right software, right job, right location.

The network scan of software in conjunction with analysis of job role and workflows in specific areas of the hospital can reveal gaps in software needs, usage, and equipment.  

  • Does that user’s role require the software installed? Discovering unused and unnecessary Microsoft licenses and shoring up license management processes could save thousands. 
  • Are they missing any software that could help them work more efficiently?  
  • Does the equipment have the necessary software installed? Having the right software on the dictation microphone could make a difference in physician satisfaction.  

A 300-bed hospital discovered the return on investment from the IT asset discovery and mapping process when they found licensed software was installed on machines being used in clinical areas. These particular job roles did not use the software so the hospital realized an annual savings of $520,000 by eliminating unnecessary spending on software licenses. 

2. Right equipment, right job, right location. 

Once you have an accurate inventory of physical assets, it can help you compare the location in the hospital with the care being given and determine if it meets the needs of the clinical staff. Talking with staff during the physical inventory process can help you understand what’s not working but just hasn’t been reported to the service desk, what’s not supporting efficient workflow, or what user expectations are. 

  • Are there enough credit card readers in the registration area to meet the volume demands? Or do they need to be relocated to a busier area? 
  • Is the monitor size appropriate for the job?  
  • Is the printer fast enough to support discharge processes?  

The hospital also realized dictation microphones were not available in one of the clinical areas where providers were expecting to be able to do dictation. Once the appropriate dictation software and peripherals were in place, physician satisfaction and adoption of dictation improved. 

3. Right level of spend. 

With a complete picture of software, hardware, networks and clinical workflow insights of day-to-day usage, you can right-size your budget allocation for projects and purchase only what you need. You will have the data to shape plans for strategic IT investments and insights to maximize your return on investment. With a holistic assessment, you will know whether repurposing or reallocating equipment to other areas of the hospital makes sense for patient care.  

When hospitals are kicking off a clinical implementation project, the vendor will provide a hardware or software specification list. Early in the project, you can identify cost savings and eliminate unnecessary purchases by re-deploying equipment and licenses – but first, you need to know what you have, where it is, and how it is being used. 

What’s next?
Consider performing an assessment to help guide you through strategic planning exercises. Ask your IT team and fellow healthcare leaders questions like:

  • What technology do you really need?
  • What IT assets and infrastructure do you already have?
  • What do you need to procure?
  • Is this technology necessary, adequate?
  • Will this technology support end user adoption?

* 2021 data is based on responses of 50 CIOs in April 2021. 

About the Author:
Phil Sobol

Vice President, Business Development, CereCore

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