The short answer is: ineffective disposition workflows. Many medical systems struggle with capital inventory accuracy because of outdated methods to track disposition requests and approvals. These decentralized systems are riddled with cracks where the entire process can fall right through.
Some hospitals still use paper forms, which are easily lost in stacks of paperwork. Other systems have updated to digital formats (using Word, Excel, or PDF files), but even digital files easily get lost in over-filled inboxes. Plus, tracking file changes can get complex — which stage of approvals is this request in again?
In general, we can assume there are three major steps in a disposition workflow. Let’s look at some common ways each of these steps might fail.
1. Complete a Request Form
The first question to address is the format of your actual disposition requests — are you using paper or digital forms? Does the form require enough information about the asset in question? Or is the form so broad or generic it becomes hard to know what’s required for each type of disposition?
Compliance and incomplete information are common pitfalls at this stage of the process.
Another problem with de-centralized disposition methods is potential financial loss. If there’s no centralized way to evaluate disposition methods, a quick choice is usually made (such as un-validated trade-ins or scrap removal). But those choices can leave thousands of dollars of value on the table.
2. Approvals Process & Removal
The next step, where MOST systems fall apart, is actually obtaining the correct approvals in a timely fashion. This is where the risk of losing track of paper and digital forms comes in.
Both types can easily get lost, and there’s rarely a centralized system to track where in the pipeline a request currently exists.
To complicate the process further — if an asset is being replaced, where in the process should Purchasing acquire the new equipment?
If it’s done too early, the disposition process may never complete, leaving your retired asset sitting around in storage — possibly even eating unnecessary budget with continued insurance or service contracts.
If an acquisition is made too late in the process with hopes of ensuring disposition compliance, care teams can be waiting too long for essential equipment to do their jobs.
3. Updating Asset Ledgers
So now the disposition process is complete — all approvals are made and the asset is completely removed from service. But is your fixed asset ledger getting updated? And if you have two separate databases for biomed and finance, are both getting updated?
We see many hospitals with disjointed capital equipment ledgers — perhaps the most obvious point of failure with capital inventory accuracy. Not only are biomed records often unreliable due to non-compliance through the disposition workflow, the financial department often gets left out of the process altogether.
Maintain Capital Inventory Accuracy with Optimized Workflows
So how can you stop the cycle of disjointed inventory records? You need a simple, centralized workflow. When looking to update your system, find something that includes:
- Transparency and access for all stakeholders
- Simplified and trackable approvals
- Clear communication between departments when assets are removed from service
Want to know more? Take a look at what an ideal disposition workflow looks like. And if you’re ready to find that solution in one tidy package, be sure to check out our Helix Workflow+ subscription.