Hywel Dda University Health Board is using specialist medical equipment maintenance software from Real Asset Management (RAM), an MRI Software company, to improve the management of its medical equipment and increase unit efficiency across its hospital sites. Since being implemented two years ago, the software has made a significant difference in helping the Health Board to track planned and reactive maintenance and equipment replacement value, whilst managing statutory requirements and KPI reporting more effectively.
Hywel Dda University Health Board provides healthcare services to a total population of around 384,000 throughout Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. It provides Acute, Primary, Community, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities services via General and Community Hospitals, Health Centres, GPs, Dentists, Pharmacists and Optometrists and other sites. The Clinical Engineering department provides several Health Board services to its users and clients, including medical equipment governance, risk management and training. The department also supports clinical trials and undertakes research involving novel medical devices.
Hywel Dda’s asset register contains more than 28,000 live asset records worth £85 million and includes items such as medical equipment, anesthetics ventilation equipment and ultrasound. Prior to the purchase of RAM’s maintenance management solution, the Health Board managed four independent inventory registers, each of which contained either duplicate items or no record at all for some devices. It was this worrying level of inaccuracy and lack of control which prompted Hywel Dda to get in place a specialist solution. Chris Hopkins, Consultant Clinical Scientist and Head of Clinical Engineering at Hywel Dda University Health Board recalls, “With so many different systems and processes in place, substantial variations in the quantity and quality of information held for each device existed. Of particular concern was the integrity of the data and the serious consequences both financially and in terms of audit requirements.”
Through RAM’s solution, users can record planned and unplanned maintenance updates, providing the Health Board with a full history log. In addition, the software offers a help desk that allows staff to report faults on medical devices and assists in making sure queries are answered more quickly, whilst being a web-based solution, members of the department have the flexibility to access information about its medical devices from anywhere within the hospital, be it via a stationary PC or while on the move using Wi-Fi. A key benefit for Hywel Dda is now having complete confidence that it complies with the necessary health and safety and audit requirements. Hopkins explains, “Previously, we were in a situation where identical makes and models of devices had substantially different values and in many cases no replacement values were recorded at all. Having one centralised register which is continually updated with detailed information not only provides us with an accurate picture and greater assurance that the appropriate device management arrangements are in place, but also enables service leads to make more informed decisions when planning service development and medical device replacement.”
Hopkins continues, “Our maintenance register also ensures that medical equipment items are maintained within the required timeframes and in accordance with manufacturer guidelines which again, provides us with the peace of mind of being compliant.”
Hywel Dda relies heavily on the in-depth reporting and analysis options which the software offers. In particular, the Health Board has benefitted from gaining a better insight into the age profile of the medical devices and a more accurate account for those that require replacement. Hopkins comments, “Due to the accuracy of the data we now hold as well as the detailed level of reporting, we have been successful in reducing the equipment replacement backlog by more than £6 million over two years.”
Hopkins concludes, “The RAM solution has transformed our medical equipment maintenance processes whilst increasing departmental efficiency. We have an excellent working relationship with our RAM consultant who provides us with the expertise and support that we need which proved invaluable throughout the initial stages of the project.”