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5 tips for improving medical equipment security

Medical devices are major investments for any healthcare organization and managing all medical devices and supplies while also maintaining an accurate inventory can be a painstakingly tedious process.

Siloed information on devices and mismanaged processes can put your medical equipment at a risk of theft, misplacement and cyber security attacks.

According to a study, equipment theft and prescription charge fraud contributed to more than £3 billion loss for NHS in 2021.

Let’s dig deeper to discover how healthcare organizations can improve the safety of medical devices that can further streamline healthcare processes and offer a better patient experience.

Keep an accurate medical inventory database

For a healthcare organization, it is critical to know what equipment you have, what is being procured and what is reaching its end-of-life stage. For example, you should have real-time information on how many defibrillators are in an ICU or an ER.

Keeping a single scalable platform that connects with all the medical devices and contains all real-time information on the equipment helps you build an accurate inventory database.

This way, you can be sure that the right devices are deployed at the right places and there is no shortage of critical medical equipment in any ward or unit.

RFID and barcodes on medical devices

Heavy medical equipment like MRI machines, ventilators, and endoscopy systems are usually shared among different departments in a hospital so there is a bigger risk of such equipment getting misplaced.

RFID or barcodes on such equipment minimizes these security risks. When someone checks out such devices, your IT asset tracking software saves that information so you can know who checked out the device and for how long.

RFID and barcode scanning makes checking out this equipment simpler because you don’t have to enter the AIN number of the device and instead it is just scanned and you are good to go.

Create user access from your IT asset tracking software

To safeguard your sensitive and expensive equipment, you can create and set rules for access management. For example, you can only allow the ER staff to check out portable X-ray machines. This way, you can ensure that only the relevant hospital staff can gain access to the medical devices.

You can only allow surgical staff to check out surgical instruments and so on. Such high-level controls on your medical equipment helps you ensure that nothing is misplaced and everyone has the access to the relevant equipment when needed.

Software updates on devices

In a healthcare organization, the patient files are usually stored on tablets, PCs, and other such devices. Software applications on such devices need to be updated regularly to mitigate any cyber risks.

Furthermore, you also have to make sure that the software applications on the PCs and tablets are not running on expired licenses and are fully compliant to the regulatory requirements.

An asset management system can help you save details on such devices and you can periodically run audits to ensure that their software applications and operating systems are updated, leaving no vulnerabilities to cyber threats.

Monitor inventory stock levels

To make sure that your medical equipment is being utilized properly and nothing is being misplaced, you should keep an eye on your inventory stock levels. Medical supplies like syringes, vices, surgical gloves and so on are not high-value supplies and thus, are more prone to easy theft.

With a medical equipment management solution in place, you can view the details on how many items are being deployed to which department and their utilization trends help you identify if some supplies are going missing. This relatively simple tracking of your inventory stock helps you save money and streamlines your procurement process.

As a bottom line, efficiently managing your medical equipment is critical for smooth operations in your healthcare facility and contribute to better patient care on the whole.

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