The challenges of cleaning up your CMMS data before a CMMS transition and why getting help may be necessary.

By Heidi Horn

The healthcare technology management (HTM) community has come to appreciate the need to use data for good decision-making, and the biggest treasure trove of useful data should be in your computerized maintenance management software (CMMS).

Unfortunately, no matter how functional your CMMS is, if the data in it is “garbage”, the reports and analytics coming out of it will be, too. One large academic medical center, based in New York City, knew this from experience and made the smart choice to get help choosing their new CMMS and to clean up their legacy data before transitioning to it.

The Selection Process

With over 100,000 medical assets across six inpatient facilities and 300 locations, the health system prides itself on its innovation, performance, growth, and service to the community. Its clinical engineering department is key to that success, so when they realized their outdated CMMS needed to be replaced to meet the current and future needs of the health system, they knew they had to get it right.

The New York health system enlisted the help of ISS Solutions Inc. to perform a market analysis of the top 5 CMMS products in the industry. ISS Solutions compared the CMMS vendors and key features of their products, met with the vendors to verify the capabilities of their products, and provided the health system with a detailed report to use in their selection process.

The Clean-Up Process

After choosing a CMMS provider, the hard work began. Like most HTM organizations that have had multiple CMMS data migrations over the years, the clinical engineering department’s CMMS data was not as clean as they wanted.

“They had a wide variety of names for the same manufacturers, models, device types. etc.,” says Barbara Maguire, vice president of Quality & Healthcare Technology Management at ISS Solutions. “This made it very difficult for them to search for equipment, run accurate reports, analyze data, and respond appropriately to alerts, recalls and cyber threats. In addition, planned maintenance (PM) schedules and workloads were no longer balanced and needed to be adjusted.”

Working with both the clinical engineering and IT teams, ISS Solutions analyzed and scrubbed over 100,000 records to remove duplicate manufacturers and models, undesired prefixes and suffixes, standardize device types, and to correct other anomalies. The project included mapping the legacy location information from both the clinical engineering and radiology departments—both of which used different location names—to standardized location names.

ISS Solutions also provided clinical engineering the means to use ECRI’s Universal Medical Device Nomenclature System (UMDNS) for recalls and alerts while giving them the flexibility to keep the device type names they were comfortable with. The ISS Solutions team added additional fields to the asset record that would contain the UMDNS information and mapped it to clinical engineering’s existing device type structure, so the techs wouldn’t have to learn all new device type names.

Adding to the complexity of the data clean-up project, the New York health system had acquired a new hospital and wanted it on the same CMMS instance. ISS Solutions consultants cleaned and standardized the new hospital’s asset nomenclature to match the established standard. This required mapping thousands of manufacturers’ names, models and device types and then syncing PM schedules based on work order histories and prior PM frequencies.

The Data Migration Process

Once the data clean-up was completed, the health system was ready to migrate to their new CMMS. ISS Solutions assisted with the import of all the newly scrubbed asset data into the new CMMS, conducted testing to ensure the quality of the imported data, and provided support to the clinical engineering team throughout the training phase.

Fortunately, the health system was well-advised at the start of their CMMS transition project to plan for significant clean-up before migrating to a new CMMS. Maguire and her team transitioned to a new CMMS a few years ago and know first-hand how difficult that process can be.

“No matter how functional the CMMS is, bringing non-standard data over will make its capabilities all but useless,” Maguire stresses. “You’ll still be basing your decisions and operations on bad data, so I can’t over-emphasize the importance of this exercise. It’s not an easy process, so if you don’t have the time or expertise to do it, be sure to get help and budget that into the project.”

Heidi Horn is president of Heidi Horn HTM Consulting, LLC. Questions and comments can be directed to [email protected].