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3 ways RTLS can help reduce rental inventory expenses

Renting medical equipment plays an increasingly important role in helping hospitals manage surges, but too often staff are quick to resort to medical equipment rental because hospital-owned devices are difficult and time-consuming to locate. Hospitals struggle with equipment visibility and lost or missing equipment, leading to an increase in rental costs and a lack of visibility into how efficiently medical equipment, rented or owned, is being utilized.

According to Agiliti Health, a medical equipment rental company, the average hospital equipment utilization rate falls somewhere around 40%. Fortunately, real-time asset location services provide hospitals with location information that can be used for more than simply finding medical equipment. The aggregation of the movement data from real-time location systems (RTLS) can unlock powerful insights and provide immense value, especially where rental equipment costs are concerned. Below are three tips on how to use RTLS to reduce equipment rental expenses and discover powerful insights that can help improve equipment utilization.

1. Reduce medical equipment rentals through better utilization of equipment you own.

While this may seem a bit obvious, many hospitals struggle to accurately track and understand how much time their owned and rented medical equipment is spent in use. Even more challenging is understanding its status when not in use. Is it being stored in the right area making it easily accessible? Is it being sanitized or maintained in a timely manner? Questions like these are nearly impossible to answer without having accurate and precise information on the asset’s historical location.

When correctly implemented, a real-time asset tracking solution will enable hospitals to capture detailed information on asset location, gaining visibility into equipment utilization, patterns of use, or bottlenecks in process. These insights enable hospitals to not only understand and optimize the use of their owned equipment inventory, but also to understand how their rental equipment is being used and adjust rental inventory appropriately.

2. Ensure that rented equipment is returned in a timely manner.

Misplacing rental medical equipment and continuing to pay rental charges for equipment not in use is a wasteful drain on already tightening budgets. Real-time location services enable staff to be alerted when rental equipment is no longer in patient care areas, if stationary for a prolonged period of time, and when the expected rental period is completed.

RTLS provides immediate information for every piece of tracked equipment within a facility, taking the guesswork — and legwork — out of the process, and helping to ensure that equipment is returned quickly and efficiently, while rental costs remain in check.

3. Reduce the loss or theft of rented (and owned!) medical equipment and the charges that result.

Unfortunately, it is not an uncommon occurrence that medical equipment goes missing. While some of it may eventually turn up on eBay, the majority of it is never recovered, driving up expenses in two ways:

  • Hospitals pay for rented equipment that was stolen.
  • As owned or rented equipment disappears, hospitals rent more to ensure they have sufficient inventory to meet PAR levels in light of theft.

For hospitals looking to implement a real-time asset tracking solution, it is critical that it has the ability to alert staff to potential theft or indicate when a patient may have unintentionally wandered off with valuable equipment. Stopping loss or theft before it happens is the only way to ensure that equipment won’t need to be unnecessarily replaced.

Real-time location services from Cognosos are helping hospitals solve the challenge of locating inventory in real time, while providing powerful insights to unlock efficiencies and reduce costs.

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