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Work Smarter – Not Harder – to Maximize Your HTM’s Impact

 

By Bill Axon

We’ve all heard the saying, “work smarter, not harder.”

Even someone new to the working world would quickly agree that makes a lot of sense. Still, we sometimes need help understanding how we can adapt our work to do just that. Fortunately, in our industry, biomeds are always looking at the best way to deliver service or solve a problem. It’s a nice reminder that those of us with oversight responsibility can equally be on the lookout for better ways to go about our job.

Here are some easy-to-adopt tactics that help you boost the performance of your HTM team:

  • Daily: Get out of your chair, leave your office and speak personally to your biomed techs. Find out first-hand what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and what hurdles they’re facing. Take time to speak to nurses and medical techs to get their input on how things are working and what their needs are. Take these important insights back to manufacturers or suppliers to improve their operations. We can also recommend creating new educational opportunities if providers feel like they need more training on equipment.
    What You Gain: A clearer understanding of day-to-day operations and how the HTM delivers against the organization’s mission.
  • Weekly: I’m a firm believer in the Monday morning huddle. This is the one time a week when the entire team is together and can communicate directly with one another. Review the preventative maintenance schedule and consider if you need to adjust staffing to meet service levels – especially since you know there will be repair calls that blow up even the best-planned calendars.
    What You Gain: Direct line of sight on your biomeds’ work for the week, closely aligning staff hours to the most pressing equipment needs.
  • Monthly: Review HTM performance over the past 30 days, including the preventative and corrective maintenance you’ve completed and what orders are still open. Search for any trends or issues that could influence program performance in either direction. Be sure to be considering your spend rate across the board, as this information is flowing up to the hospital’s C Suite. You want to be ready to answer questions about where the money is going, such as if you’re needing to spend more an equipment that has been consistently down.
    What You Gain: A broad view of HTM activity, allowing you to share performance data and respond easily to operations questions. 
  • Quarterly: This is where you need to glance in both directions: What trends are you seeing over the past three months? How is this aligning with projections for the next three months? This goes for both how your staffing is meeting service requirements, as well as if there are signals with any equipment that you might need to transition it from the repair column to the replacement column. Your quarterly assessments provide the foundation for your annual report.
    What You Gain: A solid slice of information that allows you to adjust in the near term based on recent performance.
  • Annually: With solid reporting over four quarters, you have the information needed to make smart recommendations on the next year’s operating and capital budgets. You probably already have a shortlist of equipment that needs to be bridged, areas where you could provide staff training on specialty devices to perhaps replace costly external service contracts, and whether your hospital’s patient demands have driven the need for additional biomeds. That annual vantage point allows you to adjust monthly budgets as you pinpoint seasonal peaks in certain tasks or device uses.
    What You Gain: Streamlined, accurate budget planning based on historical spending.

As an HTM partner, our TKA teams schedule monthly meetings with hospital decision-makers to ensure the program is delivering on expectations and tackle any emerging issues. Our biomed directors also prepare annual reports to inform the CFO on financial and trends, as our commitment to “Partner Smart” to deliver higher uptime, lower costs and better patient outcomes.

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These are practical tips to apply to the day-in, day-out responsibilities of the HTM program. They will introduce some incremental efficiency, but pursuing broader changes could help you capture even greater impact. Check out our hot-off-the-presses white paper, Five Ways to Get More Impact from Your Healthcare Technology, for strategies to advance these recommendations to the next level.

 

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