Hidden opportunities to cut costs and improve ROI
Recent events have shown us just how critical good asset management is to the ongoing operations of healthcare delivery organizations everywhere. When the World Health Organization (WHO) put out a surge calculator to help governments and healthcare providers estimate the essential supplies they need to respond to the current pandemic of COVID-19, that was only a piece of the preparation process. The potentially harder part for many hospitals was taking those requirements and measuring them against their own inventory to identify shortfalls and needs.
Lack of visibility causes problems and inefficiencies
The reality is that many healthcare providers don’t have the real-time visibility they need into their connected medical devices to know exactly what they have. And it is certainly a challenge for them to accurately pinpoint where each of these devices is located and how frequently they are being used. This lack of up-to-date information at their fingertips can create confusion and chaos, as hospitals have to rely on best guesses and scramble to pull diagnostic and biomedical equipment together to meet needs.
This has been the case for some time now. It is not uncommon for an organization to dedicate time and money to conducting manual inventories of their facilities, with people going room by room, floor by floor, building by building to document what devices are where. But as we know, since devices are moved around constantly, the moment that inventory is done, it is out of date. Plus, these inventories are often incomplete, lacking details around embedded software and protocols in use that can be important when assessing vulnerabilities and making preventative maintenance decisions.
Why medical device visibility is so difficult to achieve
Typical discovery techniques used to detect and profile general IT equipment don’t usually work for medical devices. One of the reasons is medical devices are typically closed systems, using proprietary operating systems (OSes) and protocols, which traditional security solutions don’t understand. They also tend to be more fragile, with smaller computational power and simpler designs than standard IT equipment (e.g. servers and computers), so typical discovery techniques could end up stressing their processing units and disrupting their functionality. Since medical devices can be directly involved in delivering patient care, any disruption could put patients at risk.
Without prior knowledge of the device’s system architecture and standard workflows, general purpose discovery and profiling solutions can end up doing more harm than good. As a result, traditional solutions deployed to monitor and protect hospital networks can only offer very high-level information on the medical devices in the environment. For example, they may be able to tell there is a device connecting, but they can’t tell whether it is an IV pump or an MRI machine, and they certainly can’t tell what model or app version it’s using or whether its activity is normal or potentially malicious.
But Medigate can.
Purpose built asset management platform for medical devices
Medigate developed its device security and asset management platform to address the specific problems medical devices represent for healthcare delivery organizations. Medigate Labs has invested in documenting medical protocols and mapping clinical workflows to build out the largest, most complete medical device database in the industry. As a result, Medigate can provide hospitals the details they need, including: the manufacturer, make, model, protocols, embedded software, and workflows (clinical-context) of each device, as well as its location and utilization, to make better procurement, management and maintenance decisions.
How to operationalize device data to deliver new value
The granular visibility that Medigate delivers enables hospitals to understand what is in their environment and how those devices are being used, so they can:
- Maximize device deployments to improve return on investment
- Track devices to ensure the efficiency of care
- Examine historical trends to build out long-term inventory management strategies and optimized procurement, patching and maintenance schedules
- Operationalize PAR level reductions