It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about boiler rooms or surgical theaters, hypotheses regarding the causes of equipment downtime are not industry-specific. Debates about preventive maintenance (PM) are equally generic:

  • “Downtime will be reduced.”
  • “Equipment life will be extended.”
  • “Repair costs will fall.”
  • “The equipment will perform better.”
  • “The manufacturer says we need to do it.”

While many OR (operating room) end users (healthcare professionals from floor-scrubbers to chief surgeons) can discuss how ongoing preventive maintenance can prevent downtime, no one usually knows the numbers: the costs associated with that downtime.

If you want to estimate the numbers – the real cost of downtime – for your department or team, here are some guidelines that may help you reach your goal.

Establish a Baseline for OR Equipment Cost

How much is really spent on the equipment? Under the baseline information, enter the expense numbers you have for:

  • Actual cost including taxes minus tax deductions. That is the equipment’s “fixed” expense.
  • General hospital building and property maintenance
  • General personnel
  • General security
  • General supplies needed for specific equipment operation
  • Repair and maintenance; cleaning
  • Utilities – electrical or fuel costs

These numbers are difficult but not impossible to estimate. There’s most likely no way you can break down your administrative and professional personnel’s actual cost per piece of equipment, but you can make a reasonable estimate. These are numbers that will be OR-specific to your organization.

Define the Value of Preventive Maintenance

Operating rooms are the revenue-generating centers of most hospitals. Regarding medical instrument procurement, Healthcare Purchasing News (HPN) said economic pressures forge different maintenance paths:

As economic pressures grow and reimbursements decline, healthcare facilities face tough decisions . . . some facilities are cutting preventive maintenance programs in an effort to reduce that area of spend in the short term. Others are increasing their current investments in this area, recognizing that properly maintained instruments can reduce costs in the long-term.

Use these numbers to define and analyze the cost of preventive maintenance:

  • Actual, fixed maintenance fee
  • Additional energy costs due to equipment repair/maintenance
  • Equipment life with PM vs. without
  • Repair/corrective maintenance
  • Replacing old with new equipment

Develop the Model

What income generation does your organization realize from one minute of surgery? Calculate the cost vs. charge to arrive at the value of your healthcare facility’s OR suite; that is the hospital revenue-generated contribution margin of surgery that can be divided into minutes or hours of OR profit.

You can then add the loss of income to the OR equipment cost and the current maintenance expenses to arrive at your “real” cost of downtime. Never indicate to your higher-ups that this is a science! This is your best effort at determining a usable cost of downtime, and it can be used to justify increasing or reducing certain OR expenditures or maintenance for your organization.

By CSZ, A Gentherm Company On Aug 28, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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