Technology Acquisition and Management

November 18, 2014 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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Heavy investment in technology is a prerequisite for providing modern patient care. But the hospital's responsibilities do not stop with the acquisition decision—costly technology needs regular attention. It is especially important to centralize responsibility for developing and overseeing consistent technology management policies and practices, instead of treating technology as a diffuse function that clinical and support departments may not recognize as important.

A comprehensive program of technology management should be multidimensional and include the following elements:

In this Guidance Article, the word "technology" is used in its narrowest sense of equipment and related accessories and supplies, the traditional focus of clinical engineering departments.1 While information technology (IT) is ubiquitous in healthcare, it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss IT in depth. Other hospital departments have long-standing responsibilities for implanted devices (the surgical suite) and drugs (the pharmacy). Further, materials management departments, it can be argued, should be expanding the scope of their responsibilities to encompass—with respect to implants and consumable supplies—functions very similar to those discussed here concerning equipment.

Well-established principles of equipment control are at the heart of the technology management concept. Equipment control is performed in virtually all healthcare facilities that use equipment in caring for...

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