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ECRI Institute Reissues Cost-Saving Tips to Help Hospitals Make Capital Technology Purchases With Scarce Resources

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 General News J E 4
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PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Faced with rising technology costs and numerous clinical department demands, hospital leaders nationwide are being forced to make tough choices with scarce capital technology dollars. The capital budgeting process can get political—and even downright ugly. How do administrators choose which new technologies are worthwhile, which are wasteful and which existing medical equipment can be reused? Keeping the right balance of new technology purchases and maintaining current systems is critical.

An informative white paper, Spending Scarce Resources on the Wrong Capital Budget Requests: Not In My Hospital! advises hospital administrators on how to make the right capital purchases—and how to find savings they didn't know existed. Re-released today by ECRI Institute (www.ecri.org), an independent, nonprofit organization that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, the report is available for free download at www.ecri.org/capitalplanning.

According to the report, in order to make the most of tight capital funds, administrators should start by ensuring they have a complete picture of all capital purchase requests hospital-wide, along with objective, accurate pricing data. In compiling this list, administrators may find that certain items have different names depending on which department uses them, but are actually similar.

"When administrators have a clear picture of what is being requested across the organization, they can determine if items are similar and look for opportunities for bundling and 'group buys' across departments and facilities," says Jennifer Myers, Vice President, SELECT Health Technology Services, ECRI Institute.

Tips on normalizing, or "cleaning" data to identify these discrepancies among departments, are provided in the report.

Once requests and accurate costs are determined, administrators should weigh how requested items will improve patient safety, clinical care and operations. "This means asking the difficult questions about each potential purchase," says Thomas Skorup, ECRI Institute's Vice President of Applied Solutions.

"Determining if the item to be purchased is truly more clinically effective than existing technology, and whether it will have a return on investment, can be difficult—and controversial," says Skorup.

Step-by-step "best practices" for capital budgeting are also outlined in the report. Once all the details are compiled, the hard work can begin: determining necessary technology versus nice-to-have technology.

A complimentary copy of Spending Scarce Resources on the Wrong Capital Budget Requests: Not In My Hospital! is available for download on ECRI Institute's Web site at https://www.ecri.org/Forms/Pages/MS10047.aspx.    

ECRI Institute's SELECTplus™ membership offers complete medical equipment benchmarking and advisory services. The Applied Solutions Group offers consulting services for technology assessment and strategic technology planning.

For more information, contact ECRI Institute by mail at 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1298, USA; by telephone at (610) 825-6000, ext. 5891; by e-mail at clientservices@ecri.org; or by fax at (610) 834-1275.

ECRI Institute (www.ecri.org), a nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to bringing the discipline of applied scientific research to healthcare to discover which medical procedures, devices, drugs, and processes are best to enable improved patient care.  As pioneers in this science for more than 40 years, ECRI Institute marries experience and independence with the objectivity of evidence-based research. Strict conflict-of-interest guidelines ensure objectivity. ECRI Institute is designated a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization and an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute PSO, listed as a federally certified Patient Safety Organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, strives to achieve the highest levels of safety and quality in healthcare by collecting and analyzing patient safety information and sharing lessons learned and best practices.

SOURCE ECRI Institute

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