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BME Inventory #74605 04/10/19 4:49 AM
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Neil Porter Offline OP
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I am still wondering how many biomedical departments still use a seperate 'BME' number on the equipment apart from the establishments own property control number, as myself I do not see the need to have 2 registries and 2 stickers on each equipment.


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Re: BME Inventory [Re: Neil Porter] #74607 04/10/19 10:38 AM
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Geoff Hannis Offline
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To be honest Neil, I'm surprised you've posed this question ... are you winding us up? think

The Property (Asset Number) and "BME" (Equipment Control) Number can - should - have different purposes; and - probably more importantly - they are managed by two different departments. In short, one is for keeping track of physical assets above a certain value ("bean counting") whilst the other is for identifying equipment for tech support purposes.

In every place I have had a say in managing biomed kit, I have found a need to have some sort of "cross-reference" number to pin down equipment at least by manufacturer and model (ie, "type") when trying to organise (make sense) of equipment management. On a number of occasions I had tried using the existing "equipment tags" that were imposed upon me for various (usually contractual) reasons, but they always fell short. As you know Neil, I have many stories to tell, but suffice to say that having an Equipment Control Numbering system - based on a semi-meaningful code structure - has always "won through".

I have also seen many types of Property Tag (Asset Number) schemes, as well as "numbers" stemming back from the construction contractor in "turn-key" hospital projects. None of them have been especially useful for the biomeds. As we all must have seen, some kit (x-ray systems, ultrasound units) may have any number of "Asset Stickers" plastered all over them.

On the other hand, even chairs (for example) have Asset Numbers. These are usually serial numbers (often long), although they can also be based upon a semi-meaningful structure (but never with "biomed" in mind, as far as I have seen). Although it may not matter to some (non-OCD?) observers, I have found that lists of assets almost always contain mysterious (but inelegant) gaps in the numbering series - as well as duplicate numbers!

But in any case, if both numbers (or codes) are recorded, they only take up two fields in a database. smile

If you were looking at this stuff from the point of view of the user - and why not - as in "which number do they call through" (when reporting faults or seeking assistance) ... I would say "use the Property (Asset) No." - on the grounds that this would be the one they are most familiar with. The "BME" number, fixed on the back of the equipment next to the manufacturer's plate, would be (is) for "our" - the biomeds' - use only.

As you have suggested on many occasions Neil - and I agree with you - the biomed department needs to be independent (free) of the whims of other "fly-by-nights" who like to impose their brilliant ideas on those doing the real work ... I'm thinking here of "IT", the "bean counters" and the property management team. frown

One last thing - don't forget RFID (hint:- another field or two in the database).

Re: BME Inventory [Re: Neil Porter] #74608 04/10/19 11:50 AM
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Neil Porter Offline OP
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Geoff, not winding you up, if you have a proper inventory department and every department uses the same tags, then you only need one asset number, an item is delivered to the warehouse, delivered to the requesting department via property control and once accepted an asset number (sequential) is assigned.

The maintenance database should identify the asset , BME, furniture, plumbing, electrical when a call is placed for any kind of service.

RFID is not the be all and end all as assets with passive tags get moved and are not maintained on the register as with the active tags.


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Re: BME Inventory [Re: Neil Porter] #74613 04/10/19 3:17 PM
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Geoff Hannis Offline
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Originally Posted by Neil Porter

... if you have a proper inventory department ...


Perhaps I should leave it there. whistle

All incoming medical equipment should pass through the biomeds ... you know, commissioning.

Re: BME Inventory [Re: Neil Porter] #74614 04/10/19 3:30 PM
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Geoff Hannis Offline
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No doubt if you, or I (or many others) were to set up a system from scratch, Neil (and it would have to be from the beginning, as many of us know all about the amount of time and effort required to put right the messes inherited from others), we could put together a nice all-embracing asset control and maintenance management system that takes care of "everything in the hospital".

In the past I have come across many folk who have believed (wrongly, in my view) that "asset management" and "maintenance management" are two peas in the same pod. There can be (and indeed is) a level of over-lap - and yes, all biomed kit should carry an asset tag and be accounted for just as desks and chairs are - but a proper CMMS should (and usually does) go way beyond simple "stock checking".

And again I stress the point that "asset management" is within the domain of Property Control (department) whilst "maintenance management" is the business of Engineering (and, in our case, Biomedical Engineering, Clinical Engineering, EBME or whatever)*.

But RFID ... surely the whole (or at least, the main) point is the ability it provides to report the tag's actual location at any time. And by the way, if we wish, the adoption of RFID tags on every maintainable item of kit (be it biomed or any other) can do away with "asset stickers" all together. In other words, the tag ID becomes the "asset number". smile

* Many of us were effectively carrying out de facto "asset management" on the hospital's (clinics' etc.) medical kit back in the days before "property control" had even been heard of. "Taking the inventory" was always (and remains) the first step when taking on another new dependency. It is (was) obvious when you think about it; how else can you answer the (often-asked) question:- "how am I going to support that"? ... if you haven't yet made a list of what's actually there (not to mention its condition). whistle

Re: BME Inventory [Re: Neil Porter] #74615 04/10/19 3:52 PM
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Geoff Hannis Offline
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Going back to your earlier point about the profusion of stickers found on kit - these days (what with databases, hand-held devices and, yes, RFID) the Equipment Control Number ("BME" No.) need not actually appear on the equipment itself. But the "internal workings" of the CMMS will invariably require a unique number (or code) to identify each item of kit (and relate it to spare parts, PM procedures, PM schedules and what-have-you).

Yes, such a unique number could be just a simple serial number (a string of digits) but I still take the view that, whilst we're at it, we may as well make the "number" (code, string) at least semi-meaningful (and it's easier to develop the system when a sensible code structure has been used from the onset).

For instance, we will need to know how many ECG Recorders of a specific type (manufacturer, model) we are responsible for. The same goes for infusion pumps and all the rest. Do we have ten, or two hundred? Knowing how many, we can begin to think about the need to stock parts, plan for PM, and all the rest of that "good equipment husbandry" stuff.

A properly structured (rational, logical) system of equipment coding is almost a given, I would have thought. I was going to add "these days" there, but to be honest I have always believed that to be the case. smile


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