Smarter Asset Management: IBM Maximo Heals Healthcare

Manage medical assets better and you'll save more lives

Tivoli Beat. A weekly IBM service management perspective.

Healthcare is an industry in which effective asset management is absolutely critical. The phrase "a matter of life and death" is often used metaphorically in other fields; in healthcare, it's a literal reality.

Maintaining assets comprehensively, centrally, and cost-efficiently is therefore much more than a question of business value or even customer satisfaction. It goes right to the heart of what healthcare organizations are chartered to do: improve the quality of human life.

If you consider the incredible diversity of assets used in the pursuit of that goal, the challenge gets still more complex. In domains ranging from clinical evaluation to imaging to emergency response to facilities, it's essential that organizations like hospitals understand very clearly how assets are performing, how they're configured and calibrated, what their update history involves, the expected duration of their lifecycles, and (in the case of mobile assets) where they're located.

IT serves as an underlying infrastructure that can, in theory, unify and centralize management of this broad range of medical assets. Many healthcare organizations, unfortunately, lack a practical, holistic asset management solution capable of fulfilling that concept. Instead, assets in separate domains continue to be managed separately.

This approach increases costs and management complexities; it also diminishes agility, slowing the organization as it leverages assets to address new strategies and processes. Compliance is more difficult to pursue—a serious matter given government regulations that specify how patients and patient information should be handled in different contexts.

Worst of all, though, silo-centric asset management makes it harder for healthcare organizations to ensure that assets are utilized in the best way to meet patient needs, inform and assist care providers accurately, and thus deliver the highest possible quality of care over time.

IBM Maximo unifies asset information and related processes—and helps you leverage both for best results

Because asset health and status levels are continually tracked, and problems are continually addressed, assets simply perform better, for longer. That translates directly into a higher standard of service for patients, because caregivers can confidently rely on assets to render accurate information and carry out tasks more reliably.

That's why IBM's flagship enterprise asset management family—Maximo—is so well suited to healthcare organizations today.

Maximo solutions aggregate information drawn from all assets, in all domains, into a shared repository. There it can be analyzed and, via a unified business process engine, the results can be utilized in many different ways for many different purposes.

This has the effect not only of simplifying regulation compliance and management complexities and reducing costs and business risks, but increasing the quality of care to all patients—the ultimate metric of success in this industry.

To really understand how Maximo solutions achieve this, begin with the fact that Maximo is implemented in six key management modules: asset, work, service, contract, materials, and procurement. Each represents a facet of overall asset management; all generate information that is needed to ensure asset management really is holistic, integrated, and optimized for best value in healthcare.

For instance, analysis of asset-specific data concerning a particular healthcare asset, such as a CT scan may suggest that its reliability and accuracy aren't meeting expectations. This analysis is subsequently very useful to other areas, like contracts (to obtain warranty service that may improve that asset's performance) or procurement (to suggest different vendors or specific models that perform on a higher level).

Maintenance programs for healthcare assets are also much easier to create, orchestrate, and optimize given Maximo's cross-silo capabilities. And that's true regardless of the kind of maintenance being performed—whether it's preventive, predictive, based on specific conditions or changes, routine, or completely unplanned. Because asset health and status levels are continually tracked, and problems are continually addressed, assets simply perform better, for longer. That translates directly into a higher standard of service for patients, because caregivers can confidently rely on assets to render accurate information and carry out tasks more reliably.

Organizational agility also typically climbs. When new strategies are under consideration, those strategies can typically be implemented more rapidly and for lower costs because all the asset complexities and interdependencies can much more easily be understood, quantified, and incorporated.

This helps the organization become more responsive to unexpected new challenges—for instance, a sudden influx of people who've been hurt as a result of a natural disaster. At such a time, knowing whether assets can be orchestrated in such a way as to meet the demands of the emergency can mean the difference between success and failure. Maximo solutions combine to provide just this kind of insight.

Budget-challenged hospitals will also find that Maximo solutions help increase the total lifecycles of assets considerably, through more timely and accurate maintenance. That, in turn, means that asset investment can often be deferred, and those revenues strategically reallocated in any way that will best meet the hospital's needs. More value, in short, is being created using fewer resources.

A suite of healthcare-specific offerings that form a complete solution

The IBM Maximo family also includes specific solutions with capabilities designed to apply to, and help optimize and centralize, asset management in a healthcare context.

IBM Maximo Calibration, for instance, can be used to calibrate instruments of all kinds, as based on vendor-specific information, best practices, and industry standards. This increases the quality of information they provide—directly relevant in medical contexts such as creating an accurate diagnosis, visualizing internal issues, or tracking a patient's heart rate over time.

IBM Maximo Mobile provides a straightforward conduit of information for healthcare professionals whose location frequently changes, such as doctors making their rounds through a hospital or first responders in ambulances. By securely routing key information from point A to point B, this solution group makes that information more immediately available to everyone who needs it, while also helping to achieve compliance with government regulations that specify how sensitive patient data should be managed and accessed.

IBM Maximo Healthcare Accelerator helps unify overall asset management, and speed operational agility, by streamlining the management interface. This solution provides an intuitive dashboard, complete with color-coded key performance metrics, that helps keep managers continually and easily apprised of changing asset status and availability.

For organizations that frequently move assets across locations, IBM Real-Time Asset Locator for Healthcare is a real boon. Constantly updated asset tracking establishes just where any given asset actually is at any given time—making it far easier and faster to utilize it for a new medical purpose when it’s needed. A second benefit: because mobile assets are utilized better, organizations often don't need as many of them—reducing total costs.

IBM Tririga Workplace Enterprise Management helps healthcare understand and optimize the way facility and real estate assets like hospitals are managed on a large scale. Key resources addressed by the solution include electricity, heating/cooling, water, and sewage.

Finally, IBM Maximo ECRI Integration for Healthcare links seamlessly with the Emergency Care Research Institute to leverage industry-standard medical device information to best effect. When device configuration and capabilities fall outside established boundaries, or devices have been recalled by their vendors, the solution generates an automated alert—keeping the organization proactively aware of potential problems before they get a chance to become practical problems.

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