Sg2 Strategic Countdown: Future Proofing Your Technology

Anticipating technology needs can be a guessing game. Tight budgets, high equipment price points, and the constant and rapid pace of clinical and technical innovation make selecting the right technologies a difficult task. Are you confident that the technology decisions you’ve made today will serve your clinical needs well into the future? Here are seven strategies Sg2 recommends for a disciplined approach to decision making.

  1. Assess Services and Map Technology Needs Over Time. Evaluate your current service line capabilities first. Then create clinical road maps that outline the technologies needed to support the service line plan both now and in the future. Identify technologies with cross-service applications and ensure a system being purchased today is equipped with the necessary software and hardware to perform the full range of functions.
  2. Construct Scenarios of Future Practice Patterns. Undertake a scenario-building exercise to gauge when and how a given technology will change care delivery processes. Incorporate visioning sessions and stakeholder interviews to realistically estimate staff ability to implement the technology as well as the costs involved and risks it may present.
  3. Weigh Acquisition Options. Select the best-fit purchasing model for new equipment, be it a managed contract, outright capital purchase, lease or joint venture. Take into account existing finances, risk appetite, governing rules and economics. When possible, consider refurbishing existing technology—the cost of refurbished equipment is typically 50% of new unit capital cost.
  4. Select the Ideal Site(s). Ensure your technology is used by the right people in the right space, keeping in mind that patient convenience must be key in all siting decisions. Explore mobile systems as an effective way to build volume and expertise. And think beyond the hospital, assessing the feasibility of multisite implementation given the continued shift toward outpatient services.
  5. Anticipate Facility Construction Challenges. Design a detailed facility blueprint, whether planning for new construction or renovating an existing one. Take into account everything from room size and shape to equipment installation and removal routes. Overestimate infrastructure needs to minimize stress on existing services required to support the technology’s functionality.
  6. Develop a Life Cycle Plan. Perform a full life cycle analysis that factors in technology obsolescence as well as necessary upgrades and refreshments. Don’t disregard old equipment—repurposed technology may still have years of life in a lower-volume setting, as a tool for a specific procedure or serving another market.
  7. Take Into Account Hidden Costs. Set aside the resources required for staff training and staff champion retention. Without knowledgeable individuals to run, maintain and advocate a new technology, state-of-the-art equipment quickly becomes a drain on money and time.
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