Author: Jeremy Linden, Sr. Director of Product Management, Asimily
Healthcare decision-makers face a constant balancing act between maintaining service standards and keeping costs in check. Accurate inventory management is central to maintaining the balance. When health delivery organizations (HDOs) struggle to keep tabs on their assets, the impacts reverberate across the whole operation. From a cybersecurity standpoint, having outdated inventory data prevents them from getting ahead of issues and malfunctions that may lead to cybersecurity breaches.From a financial perspective, incorrect inventory levels and flawed management systems may result in wasteful expenditure. Most importantly, there’s also a threat to the quality of care when patients wait too long for treatment.
The twin issues of delays in attending to patients and overspending on devices add to the already high costs of healthcare. Imprecise inventory tracking can even put patients’ lives at risk. When you don’t know what assets you have in stock, key equipment may be unavailable when needed. You’re also exposing internet of medical things (IoMT) devices to cybersecurity attacks that can potentially bring down a care facility.
If you constantly struggle with shortages and overstocking, then that’s a problem with inventory management. Finding the solution isn’t as simple as throwing more employees at the issue, which is expensive as well as inefficient.
Medical staff must have the right devices available, when and where they need it. Many hospitals, even in developed countries like the US, still rely on manual methods to track inventory. These systems are slow and inaccurate, as well as wasting precious time that should rather be spent on patient care. Asimily offers an automated and secure solution to the challenge of inventory management.
Healthcare Cybersecurity Challenge: Inventory Management
Inventory management ranks among the core duties in healthcare cybersecurity. When an HDO manages to track its assets effectively, potential vulnerabilities are minimized. This, in turn, puts you in a much better position to accelerate incident response and thwart cyberattacks. Asset and inventory management are crucial considerations for health providers and chief information and security officers. However, the complexity of healthcare security and the fast-growing internet of medical things combine to make this an extremely challenging task. Today, monitoring inventory using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is not always enough. All too often, systems may experience serious failures, leaving your network open to outside interference.
The riskiest asset is the one you didn’t know you had. If you’re not aware it exists— or even which devices and programs connect to which networks—you’re also not tracking patch management or monitoring its status. It’s very common for such a device to get lost or misplaced, especially during upgrading and/or decommissioning, thereby exposing legally-protected patient data and degrading medical care. The problem is compounded by proliferating assets as well as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.Even with a database storing information on all devices, the material won’t stay up-to-date if you rely on manual processes. Tracking connected devices manually requires the efforts of security as well as medical personnel. And your records might still be incorrect.
Clearly, medical organizations need something better: a more accurate system of syncing information and keeping inventory-related data current across the board. This holds true whether your organization is a laboratory, hospital, private practice, or other type of medical provider. When healthcare cybersecurity is a priority, it makes sense to deploy a proven asset and inventory management solution, which is where Asimily comes in.
Boost Patient Care With Robust Inventory Management
The healthcare sector uses many specialized tools, from medical devices to pharmaceuticals and other supplies. Without effective inventory management, there’s no way to guarantee that these assets are properly safeguarded and distributed. However, not all providers are capable of automating processes and syncing information to keep inventory up-to-date.A lack of detailed inventory tracking can interfere with operations. For example, staff may end up wasting valuable time searching for devices, which can detract from patient care. Further, if an important medical device can’t be found, you’re even risking outright treatment failure for your patients.
You’re far more vulnerable to loss and theft if you’re in the dark about your assets. Moreover, you may overspend by replacing devices you already have but lost track of. Also bear in mind that asset protection includes the storage environment (consider fire or water damage) and who has physical access to inventory. These are just a few of the problems that go along with with inaccurate asset tracking. It’s as bad as running a business without knowing your costs and revenues.
The Asimily platform uses automation to monitor data as it travels over the network, resulting in real-time data and inventory updates. With Asimily Insight, you can automatically track over 100 pieces of information about each IoT device, scanning the network safely to identify all connected devices. The system also includes healthcare-specific features to maintain precise, secure, and real-time details of all your assets.
By assembling data on device security, Asimily also supports any configuration management database (CMDB) or CMMS by syncing live asset data to the CMMS/CMDB. This ensures that your live inventory matches your stored data, identifying discrepancies such as lost or unreported devices.
Inventory Management and Tracking Made Easier With Asimily Insight
Automatic inventory management is key to successful healthcare delivery. It helps with operations, avoiding financial loss and defending against security threats—whether online or offline. Without automatic asset tracking, patient care can suffer, and this is the main motivation for using this technology. Regardless of ownership, patient devices require regulatory risk management, which can be manually intensive. Manual record-keeping takes time, it’s susceptible to human error and vulnerable to cyberattacks. Additionally, there are different stakeholders tracking inventory in different asset databases, and consolidating networked assets are challenging and resource-intensive. Let’s say the last time someone tracked a device was over a month ago. Since then, someone else could easily have disconnected the device and you’d have no way of knowing. The twenty-first century demands powerful inventory management and cybersecurity tools like Asimily Insight.
Insight offers extensive inventory capabilities made exclusively for healthcare providers. It drastically simplifies and speeds up the process of tracking your IoT devices. You’ll see actionable information across all your assets—including device-specific risk levels.
Asimily also collects additional data to boost cybersecurity. For instance, each device’s network identifiers and port numbers, services or applications running on the devices, manufacturer and serial number, and versions for operating systems and other software. Having this information at hand can prevent breaches while keeping you abreast of inventory developments.
Operating a healthcare facility without accurate asset tracking is inefficient. It costs HDOs more money as well as jeopardizes the quality of medical care. Further, it can interfere with regulatory compliance and patient trust. Asimily Insight gives you real-time information on assets, focusing on the most critical risks. As a customized solution for the medical industry, it protects you far better than any general cybersecurity product.
Schedule a demo to experience how our non-invasive inventory management tracks and correctly classifies each device in your HDO!