Think about the responsibilities of management. In the context of financial oversight, marketing services, and tuning operations to save money and improve services, what adjectives does the idea of managing physical assets bring about? Dull? Boring? Routine?
Few people might see counting IV stands and bed pans as glamorous and important work. But for an industry like healthcare, which is dependent on physical inventory, tracking where the testing equipment, disposable supplies, medicines, and other tools of practitioners can have a significant influence on efficiency, effectiveness, profitability, and patient safety.
To give an insight into how pragmatically important the concept is, the healthcare asset management market is expected to reach $29.2 billion by 2020, showing a compound annual growth rate of 34.6 percent between 2015 and then. The reason is that care providers cannot afford to continuously replace what cannot be found.
It is easy to put this into a personal perspective. Almost everyone has had the experience of misplacing something small – a nail clipper, copy of a magazine or book, or even a needed piece of clothing. It could be that the item was left someplace and forgotten, even as the person thought they would remember where they last used it. Or it could be that something, like that piece of clothing, wasn’t washed or brought to the dry cleaner to be ready in a timely fashion, and so a replacement was needed for an immediate use.
In a healthcare facility, maybe someone forgot to return the IV pole to a central area for the next use. A crash cart could have been left where it was last needed. If the assets are medicines, perhaps the pharmacy doesn’t sufficiently monitor daily use so inventory levels must be kept higher than might otherwise be necessary to have sufficient supply on hand.
Asset management becomes an intrinsic aspect of executive concern because it touches on the ability to treat patients when a delay could imperil someone’s life. Even if the result is wasted time or overly robust inventory levels of medicines or supplies, the impact on the organization is unnecessary spending and investment without return at a time when the industry has to find ways to contain and lower costs.
Managing assets may not seem a grand problem, but it is a real one. Technologies like RFID radio frequency tags, wireless networking, and automated inventory systems will help organizations track where equipment and supplies go so they can be found when needed and ordered in a timely and efficient manner.
Are you interested in finding a rewarding and lucrative healthcare career that fits your individual strengths and interests? Find out how education can help you adapt to the changing healthcare landscape. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of healthcare management degrees, including an MBA Healthcare and Master of Science Business Intelligence and Analytics.