What do we have and where is it? Why a medical equipment inventory is important.

In a hospital or clinic setting, executive leadership is looking for ways to better understand the quantity of equipment assets they own. The only way to achieve that understanding is to perform a thorough asset inventory.

First of all, an inventory of medical equipment assets is a comprehensive data collection of all equipment assets in a facility, facilities or enterprise. Inventories begin with the definition of an asset. With that definition in place, every area in the facility that has assets should be visited, acquiring available demographic information associated with each asset, including its location. This is rigorous process as you may expect, but a necessity to identify and complete several tasks/objectives, including:

• Reconciling to an asset ledger
• Developing multi-year and annual capital budgets
• Instituting or updating asset management and tracking programs
• Developing equipment plans and transition planning for construction projects
• Valuation of assets for various business initiatives

The value of an inventory is manifested in multiple ways and is a risk avoidance/reward proposition. Accurate asset ledgers track depreciation and can be contributory to enterprise valuation. Inaccurately stated assets are a concern for every business. Capital budgets developed with information gathered in an inventory enables capital dollars to be spent rationally and efficiently, vitally important in any economy.

Inventories contribute to accurate implementation of asset tracking, management or maintenance programs. Without that accuracy assets may be missed or retired assets may be “carried” on the books inappropriately. Any active tracking system requires an inventory to implement.

Project expenditures are impacted by equipment plans, which begin with inventories. When preparing to occupy the newly constructed space, the transition begins with an inventory, reducing the risk of not moving what should be moved and moving items that shouldn’t. Assets contribute to the valuation of the enterprise. An incomplete list means the valuation may be inaccurate.

Hopefully this answers some of the questions that may arise and stimulates thought regarding the rationale and value of medical equipment and asset inventories. MERC considers the inventory as a foundational management tool for providers to achieve financial and operational success. Please let us know your thoughts!