How Can I Start My Inventory?

How Can I Start My Inventory?

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At the 2017 AAMI Exchange, George Mills from TJC stated: “The first step to accreditation is to perform an equipment inventory”. An accurate accounting of your equipment is a starting point. There are four typical events that drive the need for an inventory:

  1. Implementation of new CMMS Application: the new CMMS system is only as good as its data.
  2. Implementation and RFID/RTLS tags: The RFID firm will not tag every device, so have an Inventory Professional tag the equipment and perform an inventory audit simultaneously.
  3. Outsourcing of Clinical Engineering Management: The CE firm needs to know the organization of equipment to assign the proper technicians
  4. There is a discrepancy between the asset list and equipment on-hand: An organization has too many “Could Not Locate” and needs a refresh of their data.

The process you need to learn:

  • Define Scope: Pre-planning is critical; accurately define included assets, excluded assets, and data to capture.
  • Inform the organization that an inventory will be performed. Schedule sensitive/time-critical locations such as ORs and Cardiac-Cath for after-hours.
  • It’s best to use small teams for inventory. Floor plans are used to perform a top-to-bottom sweep of the facility, marking off every inventoried room until complete.
  • Field Tech enters each room, identifies equipment in scope, scans each item’s property tag, and validates or updates descriptive data (facility, department, room, asset description, model number, model name, serial number, PM due date).
  • To capture as many mobile pieces as possible, field techs visit Central Stores multiple times each day. They will also ask staff if they have any assets tucked away, and they will perform multiple sweeps of the facility.

Who Should perform the inventory?

  1. Individuals that are familiar with and can identify equipment. These do not need to be Biomed Techs or Clinical Engineers; they just need to be trained in equipment identification.
  2. Teams need to be consistent; you can’t have rotating personnel performing the inventory or the data will be inconsistent and inaccurate.
  3. Small teams that do not overwhelm an area should perform the inventory. (3-4 max in a team).
  4. They should be familiar with how hospitals operate.
  5. The benefit of outsourcing an inventory is that someone guides the team in performing the inventory and efficiently completing the process. It also allows for the data to be consistent. The inventory would not be completed on time if personnel from the healthcare facility have other responsibilities. Hospital personnel typically get called away to perform their normal duties and find it difficult to return to inventory duties.

Lessons learned through thirty years of performing healthcare equipment inventories:

  • Pre-planning is critical
  • Communication is extremely important
  • Scheduling sensitive/time-critical areas for after-hours works best
  • Use floor plans to chart completed areas and areas that need to be returned to (access issues or quarantine)
  • A good bedside manner is extremely important
  • Nurses may be the world’s best hoarders

Need an extra hand? Tim Michener is VP of Sales and Marketing at Asset Services, Inc. He can be reached at or via the contact page of this website.

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