Do you know exactly the appropriate process of Equipment acquisition?
Equipment acquisition is the process by which a hospital introduces new technology into its operations. The process involves determining the hospital’s needs and goals with respect to new technology and equipment, how best to meet those needs, and instituting the decisions. The process involves virtually every clinical and support department of the hospital. This is consistent with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) (1) medical equipment management standards which require hospitals to have a process for medical equipment acquisition.
Unfortunately, in many hospitals it is a ritual, the control and details of which are jealously guarded. In fact, the needs of the hospital’s operation would be much better served if all departments knew how the process worked. If the rules of the process were known and based upon the stated goals and priorities of the institution, then the people who must attempt to justify requests for new equipment would be able to do their jobs better, and with subsequently better results. If a new technology can improve the hospital’s finances and/or clinical or support functions, then the methods by which this can be used to justify requests should be clearly explained. If the hospital’s reimbursement structure is such that the introduction of new technology is difficult, but the improvement of current functions is more easily funded, then this should be explained.
In short, there should be a policy and procedure for the method by which the hospital acquires new equipment. It should define what the hospital means by a capital expenditure, reflect the hospital’s overall goals and objectives, clearly state how to prepare a justification, and explain, at least in general terms, how a decision is to be made about the funding of a proposal.