Main Article Content
clinical engineering, equipment assessment, technology management, equipment planning, technology evaluation, program methodology, cost accounting, life cycle, capital asset, budget
Appropriate deployment of technological innovation contributes to improvement in the quality of health care delivered, the containment of cost, and access to health care services. Hospitals have been allocating a significant portion of their resources to procuring and managing capital assets; they are continuously faced with demands for newer medical technology and are challenged to interoperate and manage legacy and newer generation of inventory simultaneously. To objectively manage this investment over it life cycle, hospitals are adopting medical technology management programs that need pertinent information and planning methodology for integrating new equipment into existing operations as well as for optimizing costs of ownership of all equipment. Clinical engineers can identify technological solutions based on the matching of new medical equipment with the hospital’s objectives. They can review their institution’s overall technological position, determine strengths and weaknesses, develop equipment-selection criteria, supervise installations, train users and monitor post procurement performance to assure meeting of goals. This program, together with cost accounting analysis, will objectively guide the capital assets decision-making process. Cost accounting analysis is a multivariate function that includes determining the amount, based upon a strategic plan and financial resources, of funding to be allocated periodically for medical equipment acquisition and replacement. Often this function works closely with clinical engineering to establish equipment’s useful lifespan, prioritization of acquisition, upgrade, and replacement of inventory within budget confines and without conducting time-consuming, individual financial capital project evaluations. The clinical engineer’s skills and expertise are needed to facilitate the adoption of an objective methodology for implementing the program, thus improving the match between the hospital’s needs and budget projections, equipment performance and cost of ownership. Systematic planning and execution will result in a program that assures appropriate inventory level at the lowest life-cycle costs at optimal performance.