Many hospitals pay twice as much as they should to service theirmedical imaging equipment, according to Robert A. Forino, presidentand CEO of Jannx Medical Systems Consultants. A sufficient numberof institutions benefit from equipment service advice to
Many hospitals pay twice as much as they should to service theirmedical imaging equipment, according to Robert A. Forino, presidentand CEO of Jannx Medical Systems Consultants. A sufficient numberof institutions benefit from equipment service advice to providea booming business for Jannx and other firms in the growing fieldof medical capital asset management.
Capital asset managers help hospitals reduce diagnostic imagingservice costs by tracking equipment maintenance and setting upin-house maintenance organizations.
Toledo-based Jannx began consulting in capital asset managementafter the firm was acquired a year ago by the Radiological ServiceTraining Institute (RSTI) of Solon, OH. RSTI trains medical imagingequipment service technicians (SCAN 8/14/91).
Prior to the RSTI acquisition, Jannx provided scanner acceptancetesting to hospitals (SCAN 6/20/90). Jannx still performs acceptancetesting, but has taken the concept of equipment evaluation a stepfurther with capital asset management.
The goal of Jannx's style of capital asset management is toset up an organization within a hospital that can perform someof the minor maintenance and trouble-shooting usually done byvendors or independent service organizations. The in-house organizationusually comprises the same individuals who are already servicingthe hospital's biomedical equipment. Jannx itself does not serviceequipment.
Other companies involved in capital asset management, suchas MEDIQ Equipment and Maintenance Services of Arlington, TX,also place a full-time consultant in the hospital to oversee thefacility's cost-monitoring program (SCAN 2/26/92).
Developing an in-house service organization is a central tenetof capital asset management, according to Forino.
"We advocate that the hospital has at least a bare minimumservice capability so that it can respond to simple, kinds ofservice needs," Forino told SCAN.
"An example would be if a fuse blows or a camera jams.If you have some basic capability, you can avoid calling the manufacturer.You have the in-house capability of unjamming that camera yourself,"he said.
By solving many of the minor problems that occur with diagnosticimaging equipment, hospitals can avoid unnecessary--and expensive--visitsby service personnel from vendors and independent service organizations.Conducting routine maintenance also increases scanner uptime anddepartment efficiency, Forino said.
A capital asset management program can save a hospital moneyif annual service costs are more than 5% of the replacement valueof the equipment being serviced. If service costs are over 8%of replacement value, capital asset management can cut those costsin half, he said.
A complete Jannx capital asset management program takes aboutthree years to implement, although Jannx will work with hospitalson a year-to-year basis. Jannx consultants help train in-housepersonnel in diagnostic imaging equipment maintenance, set upequipment monitoring programs, and record and evaluate maintenanceexpenditures.
Both vendors and ISOs should be involved in a hospital's capitalasset management plan, Forino said. Hospitals should follow avendor's instructions and schedules for preventive maintenanceon equipment, and should call vendors or ISOs about complex problems.
Companies that provide capital asset management consultingshould experience healthy growth as hospitals move to containservice costs, he said. Service costs will continue to rise, althoughat a moderate rate.
"(Hospitals) are going to have to make some tough trade-offsand they'll have to utilize some of their internal people to domore of the service they were buying on the outside," Forinosaid. "What we're talking about is helping people go beyondbiomedical maintenance and into diagnostic imaging."