Regulatory compliance is not an easy challenge. No matter the industry or the scale or complexity of business operations, companies throughout the world have to manage an ever increasing number of laws and rulings. This is especially true in the United States where an average of 2,500 to 4,500 new rules are passed each year. Some receiving the most attention lately include the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the Pesticide Container and Containment rule and the Unique Device Identification rule.
While complying with regulatory requirements is a necessity, it is also burdensome and costly. In fact, a National Association of Manufacturers report estimates that federal regulations cost an average of $10,000 per employee per year in 2012. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed say that federal regulations are a top challenge for their firm.
This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of gasworld. It is reprinted with permission.
Thanks for taking 10 minutes out with gasworld. What have we interrupted in your schedule today?
I’m travelling back to my home in Lincoln, Nebraska. I spent the past few days in Las Vegas attending Medtrade, a trade show focused on the home medical equipment market and medical gases.
You know, it’s amazing how many companies don’t do a good job of tracking their equipment – especially their medical oxygen cylinders. Knowing the regulations and the risks of noncompliance, you’d think they would be more prepared. In many cases, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) could shut down their business for a failed lot recall or undocumented device inspection, yet many continue to take that risk.
Originally published in HomeCare magazine.
As your reimbursement, regulatory and business environments continue to evolve, you’ve probably looked at how to reduce costs on multiple occasions. You’ve had to make some difficult decisions. One thing is for sure, you don’t want to incur additional expenses. But, what if an expense could yield new cost savings and efficiencies and pay for itself in less than a year? Asset management software can do exactly that.
Asset Tracking Software Helps HMEs with Compliance and Communication
As a medical equipment provider, you’re subject to a considerable amount of regulatory requirements and accreditation standards. And you probably manage contracts that each have specific obligations to which you must adhere. It’s a lot for anyone to remember.
If you’re using handwritten signs or sticky notes to communicate critical information to your employees, you could be leaving your business vulnerable to serious consequences. Asset tracking software like TrackAbout can automate the communication process and free you from worry.
Lockhouse will use a few key attributes of a cylinder (including serial number and other
properties) to uniquely identify assets with a readable code. This code then becomes the Passport Tag™ for that cylinder, which accesses a web-based application containing updatable information about each asset in real time. Manufacturers and owners can add important critical information, and can receive feedback and GPS coordinates of the asset from the operator.
Tim Fusco, TrackAbout’s CEO, likes to call Lockhouse a “virtual neck ring.” Since its inception, the industrial gas industry had used neck rings and other markings on cylinders and other packaged gas containers to indicate ownership. With so many acquisitions among packaged gas suppliers over the years, today neck rings are not always correct or useful. Lockhouse is a Virtual Neck Ring that indicates ownership and links to dynamic critical safety and inspection information as well as any other information that the owner wants to make public.
New technology is transforming the way companies manage their assets. Asset management is not simply about knowing where your assets are. Today, it’s about providing a complete history for every individual asset and using this information to achieve operational advantages. If you’re still using a manual system to track the comings and goings of your equipment or if your current software system only tracks the location of your assets, your competitors just might leave you in their dust.
How HMEs Can Maximize Asset Tracking Technology to Compete in an Uncertain Marketplace
By now, you’re probably aware that an automated asset tracking software solution offers a world of advantages including better equipment utilization, loss prevention, accurate rental billing, and more. These benefits alone can help your company survive as your reimbursement, regulatory and business environments continue to evolve.
However, the value of asset tracking software doesn’t stop there. Collecting data about the physical location of your equipment is only part of the picture. When you extend the capability of the mobile device – whether it be a handheld computer or a smartphone or tablet – to automate your workflows, you access a new level of efficiency and control.
With reimbursements falling, sometimes steeply, home medical equipment (HME) companies are urgently turning their attention to cutting costs. Unlike less palatable choices, such as layoffs or buying lower-quality equipment, implementing the right technology can not only increase HME operating efficiencies, but also substantially improve performance and position companies for growth in an era of accountable care.
Asset tracking software provides this type of opportunity. With equipment as one of their biggest expenses, HME companies must ensure their assets are working as hard as possible and thus delivering an optimal return on investment.
By implementing dedicated asset tracking software, HME companies can establish an easy-to-use, highly efficient, and effective process for managing and maintaining equipment that maximizes the use and the useful life of their critical assets. Electronically tracking, sorting, and aggregating equipment data and producing reports enables HME companies to become more valuable partners to accountable care organizations (ACOs) that rely on electronic systems to knit together providers across the continuum of care.