This is the final installment in our 3-blog series about reducing costs and improving operational efficiencies of your respiratory equipment service program.
- The first in the series covered how to maximize revenue per unit.
- The second was about how to improve total asset visibility.
- This blog discusses ways to optimize operational efficiencies.
Fundamentally, operating more efficiently means using resources like time, people, equipment, inventory, and money in an optimized way that reduces overall costs. The renowned management guru, Peter Drucker, says, “Operational efficiency is doing the same thing, only different.” Operationally efficient companies are leaner, agile, and more profitable.
Within the context of respiratory equipment management, a healthcare company can operate more efficiently through asset velocity. Equipment should either be moving or generating revenue. Idle devices are wasted assets.
Four Areas to Optimize and Improve Asset Velocity
If a company plans to grow and scale, the use of technology is critical. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry clings to paper files or Excel spreadsheets. The right technology streamlines workflow, allows accurate tracking, and enables reporting that supports informed decision making. When managing respiratory and other medical device inventory, using the right platform that enables ease of use makes all the difference.Quality Biomedical’s QConnect™ portal is free to our customers. This online tool keeps all service records accessible in the cloud so that managers have immediate visibility to assets, can easily handle audits, and are able see equipment service trends to maximize revenue per unit. QConnect seamlessly integrates with Brightree (at no additional cost from Brightree), so our customers can efficiently work in one software application.
When addressing operational efficiency, your warehouse staff is an important part of the conversation. In today’s world of distributed healthcare providers, having simple and repeatable processes across multiple locations is key. Remember, it’s not service tags and spreadsheets, it’s a system – and the best systems enable the most effective communications. Since your warehouse staff is often the driver of asset velocity, it is vitally important to provide them with easy ways to generate RMAs, schedule pick-ups, and keep track of assets.QText™ notifications and QTag™ service labels are two mobile technologies we provide free to our customers. They are designed to improve efficiency and communication for warehouse staff. QText sends a text to the warehouse worker’s phone, notifying them when a truck will be in their area for pickup or when a delivery is scheduled. With QTag, a warehouse team member uses an app on their phone to scan a QR code and a digital RMA is instantly created. The device needing service is automatically logged into QConnect – starting the electronic chain of custody tracking – and a service truck is scheduled for pickup. Customers who use this technology-enabled service have seen improved staff efficiency and reduced need for administrative staff in this process. In addition, they report better accuracy and no lost paper records or lost equipment.
When the workflow design is consistent, simple, and repeatable, work speeds up and each worker is able to do more in less time (and probably have improved job satisfaction!) Read more about building a better workflow.
To optimize asset velocity (keep assets moving), you must know where your assets are. How do healthcare providers with multiple locations accomplish this? What is better: centralized or decentralized data, and held at each location? How are RMAs generated and tracked at each location?The more logistics involved in moving an asset, the slower the velocity. It’s best to keep control at the branch level and make service decisions locally. Back to the mantra: “keep it consistent, simple, and repeatable.”
When the branch manager is responsible, he is naturally uncomfortable looking at an empty shelf. He’s motivated by a need to see what is coming back. Knowing where inventory is located reduces his anxiety. This visual cue/internal drive is lost with centralized decision making judged only by revenue. Branch profitability is not the only indicator of success – your branches could be “hoarding” equipment and running an inefficient operation.
A fourth place to improve operational efficiency is through assessing the number of vendors you work with. More vendors means more contracts, more billing, accounts receivable, more training, more variety in the ways things are done, less integration, less inventory control – and definitely more staff on your end to manage them all!Start with a vendor audit and list out the services you need versus what your current vendors provide. Here, you can assess the best ways to consolidate vendors to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. It’s an opportunity to initiate conversations to find optimal solutions and negotiate the best contracts.
Quality Biomedical manages the repair, warehousing, and logistics of respiratory equipment. We connect it all with the intelligence of our tech-enabled service. Our mission is to help healthcare companies gain insight and extend the life of their medical equipment with simple, streamlined solutions.
If you are looking for ways to optimize your efficiency, improve technology, and have a one-stop managed service solution, contact us. We’ll respond quickly and schedule a time to talk through your specific needs and challenges and show you how we’ve helped thousands of customers and why we were named one of the fastest growing healthcare companies in America.