The latest computerized maintenance management systems don’t just track preventive maintenance schedules. They’re essential assets for managing equipment life cycles.

As an HTM professional, you know what you need in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS): something fast, efficient, and absolutely reliable, and—preferably—a program that shoulders much of your work for you. Customer service is also important, as is versatility. The best CMMS applications now offer unprecedented levels of mobility, allowing users to log in to their systems from virtually anywhere with a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer, and to send information and receive alerts via text, email, or voice. And they do more than just help you to schedule your PMs. Today’s top systems provide management muscle from end to end—from the early stages of planning and procurement to the final days of a product’s life, when it’s sold, donated, or parted out.

Wondering what’s out there in the world of CMMS? Here’s a roundup on the latest and greatest from six different vendors, as well as some insight on what they have in the pipeline.

Connectiv, Inc
Solana Beach, Calif
www.theconnectiv.com

“It’s no longer just about equipment maintenance.” That’s the message from CMMS newcomer Connectiv, Inc. Connectiv’s founder, Rob Woodbyrne, says his team is inspired by companies like Uber that have gone on to revolutionize entire industries. When he launched Connectiv in 2014, he says, he did so with the knowledge that “a lot of the vendors in the CMMS space are taking this really slow and evolutionary approach to bringing innovation to the market.” Connectiv will do things differently, he vowed, and offer solutions that leverage cutting-edge technologies to transform the way that HTM works.

Healthcare Technology Management, in fact, is the name of Connectiv’s first software product, which the company describes as a secure, scalable, natively mobile, and cloud-based solution that can be easily integrated with the enterprise systems throughout an organization. What sets it apart, Woodbyrne says, is its “Gmail-like” approach to incorporating new technologies as they become available. “When we release an upgrade or enhancement, or add a new feature, it’s just there in the background to become part of the solution whenever you choose to use it. There are no interruptions—you never have to install anything to put it to work.”

Healthcare Technology Management also features easy-to-customize reporting functions that provide real-time views on equipment data; a “go-to” portal that allows end users to submit detailed repair requests or obtain price quotes from vendors; and full integration with services and organizations like PartsSource, Lawson, and ECRI. “It’s all about creating better visibility,” Woodbyrne says. “We give you the ability to track and see everything you need to see from wherever you are, on whatever device that you’re using.” Connectiv’s Healthcare Technology Management is offered on a monthly-subscription basis, he says, and price varies depending on number of locations served (ranging from approximately $50,000 annually for 1-5 sites to $200,000 for 31-50 sites).

EQ2
Burlington, Vt
www.eq2.com

The first version of Vermont-based EQ2’s HEMS (Hospital Engineering Management System) CMMS application came out in 1983. The latest iteration, the cloud-based HEMS Enterprise, received its most recent upgrade earlier this year, says EQ2’s chief technology officer, Vishal Malhotra.

HEMS uses the cross-vendor and cross-tester Universal Medical Device Testing Platform (UMDTP) to enable interoperability with all major electrical safety analyzers, or ESAs, Malhotra says. “The technician is free to use any tester they want to test their devices; HEMS automatically adapts to whatever you choose to use.” The application can be run on a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, and is compatible with IOS, Android, and Windows operating systems.

Another key feature of the latest HEMS is its dashboard-style interface. According to Malhotra, the dashboard allows managers and technicians to easily track everything from productivity and performance to medical-device recalls and alerts, and is automatically refreshed “so you can look at your monitor at any time for a quick overview of what is happening” across the enterprise. The system also tracks key business metrics such as total cost of ownership of a device, cost of service ratio, and contracts ROI.

Finally, Malhotra notes, HEMS provides a platform through which facilities can define procedures and policies that can then be enforced automatically “without hindering technicians’ productivity”; tracks tester calibration “so you don’t end up running tests with a tester that hasn’t been calibrated correctly”; and includes a training module for managing and documenting all aspects of device-related training for both HTM and clinical staff.

Pricing for the HEMS Enterprise (which can be leased) starts at around $10,000, but varies significantly depending on the specific application. Installations range from starter packages up to $150,000 for large hospitals with fully featured packages.

Mainspring Healthcare Solutions
Waltham, Mass
www.mainspringhealth.com

Forget about software packages, says Hank Goddard, president of Massachusetts-based Mainspring Healthcare Solutions. What healthcare organizations need today “are people who really understand the business” and who can come in and help them consolidate all their operations on a single platform “with standard processes and procedures” designed to reduce costs. That kind of thinking, and Mainspring’s flagship product—Enterprise Asset Management, or EAM—has helped Goddard and his company win contracts with many of the biggest names in healthcare, including Henry Ford Health, Johns Hopkins, and Community Health Systems. (The company also offers a “lower-end, small shop” product called ReadyTech, Goddard notes.) In recent years, he says, Mainspring has turned its CMMS system into a cloud-based, “total life cycle management” tool that facilities can use to handle all of their equipment.

The differentiators for Mainspring depend on which market segment you’re looking at, Goddard says. “If you’re comparing us to some of the more generic CMMS systems out there that are not focused on clinical engineering, then it’s being able to handle all of the regulatory issues HTM departments are faced with on a daily basis and that change all the time.” Factor in those systems that are capable of tackling such issues, “and the big difference is in usability,” he says, “and in our ability to get data out to real-time dashboards across the enterprise,” no matter its size.

Key features of EAM include mobile applications that Goddard describes as “simple and ATM-like,” where tasks can be accomplished with a push of a button; telemaintenance capabilities that allow technicians in the field to use a smartphone to establish a HIPPA-compliant feed with a customer service rep “who can walk them through what needs to get done”; and an embedded service offering instant access to a comprehensive library of service manuals.

According to Goddard, within a year Mainspring’s CMMS product will include a “closed-loop system that ties into your vendors so you can conduct all of your parts business right from your work orders.” It will also include features that leverage predictive analytics to simplify maintenance and reduce device downtime (the company is collaborating with researchers and data scientists at Microsoft and Memorial Sloan Kettering).

Pricing for Mainspring products “varies tremendously based on functionality and modules,” Goddard says. An estimate: $50-$100 per user per month depending on the application.

Mayer Computer Services, Inc
San Diego, Calif
www.mayercs.com

The way Joe Mayer sees it, the biggest issue for most HTM departments is “the ability to get their CMMS software to work the way they want it to work.” Mayer, president of San Diego-based Mayer Computer Services, says his company’s product, the web-based mPro3 (Revision 3), can be customized according to individual needs. And because it’s online, it can be accessed with a cell phone, netbook, or other portable device. An mPro3 user can “log in to their account, bring up a service history, look up or close a work order—do anything they want—and they can do it literally from anywhere,” Mayer says.

The mPro3 also features an alerting system designed to improve communication and collaboration between multiple users. “So if you have a group of clinics,” Mayer explains, “and there are lots of different techs servicing those clinics, if someone puts in a service request it will automatically go out to everyone,” enabling the tech who is closest to the site in question to jump on the job right away. “We like to think of it as a ‘real-time issue-oriented system’” that keeps users informed of problems the moment they occur, Mayer says.

A final advantage of the mPro3 is its ease of use, Mayer says. The system, for example, includes a new search tool “where you can type in the first few characters of a control or part number and it will automatically list all the numbers that include those digits.” Likewise, security updates are now easier to match to specific equipment, and recall information is easier to find. Pricing for the mPro3 system, Mayer says, depends on site size, modules, and number of users.

MediMizer, Inc
Encinitas, Calif
www.medimizer.com

Medimizer has been in the CMMS business for 32 years, says Gus Sakis, the company’s vice president of sales. “And the number one service that we provide, just like everyone else, is the ability to schedule your preventative maintenance.” Where MediMizer’s namesake product is different, he says, is in how “straightforward, flexible, and easy it is to use,” and in its ability to quickly generate inspection reports that meet regulatory agency requirements.

The biggest advantage of MediMizer’s latest product, the x3 (version 13), is its model-specific platform, Sakis says. “If you’re the person in charge of the inspection program at your facility, and somebody were to ask you how those patient monitors that we bought a few years ago are performing,” chances are it would be very difficult to come up with an accurate answer, he says. “The problem is, most CMMS systems only drill down to general device categories, like patient monitors, or defibrillators, or infusion pumps.” With MediMizer’s model-specific platform, that’s no longer an issue: “We let you identify exact models, and that’s where you’ll find the most useful information. What it really does is give you the power to analyze, which helps when you have to make important decisions.” The model-based platform also helps with recalls, Sakis says. “If you have a thousand infusion pumps in your hospital and there’s an infusion pump recall, you have to know which one is which.”

Similarly, Sakis notes, model specificity makes inspection management a much simpler process. “The data you’ve been collecting, and that you need at your fingertips, is structured in a way that makes it really useful; every time a work order is opened and closed, every time an inspection is performed, data is gathered, grouped, filtered, and analyzed so it’s ready and accessible when you need it for reporting.”

So what can we look for in the MediMizer14, scheduled for release in November 2015? “It will be all about IHE,” or integrating the healthcare enterprise, Mayer says. “Equipment will start telling us when it’s time for inspection,” he explains. MediMizer pricing starts at $995 for a single-user license.

Phoenix Data Systems, Inc
Southfield, Mich
www.goaims.com

You have to understand healthcare to make great healthcare software, says Ben Mannisto, president of Phoenix Data Systems, Inc. “We’ve been doing this for 30 years, so we get it,” he says, noting that the company’s Web-based CMMS product, AIMS (Asset Information Management System), is used in nearly 1,900 hospitals in 18 countries. “We know what the industry is doing, and we know where it’s going.”

Part of what makes AIMS stand out is customer service, Mannisto says. “We believe that responsive support of the user is critical. When they need help, they don’t need it 4 hours from now, or 4 days from now—they need it now.” The latest version of AIMS (version 2.5.8.0; the company releases new versions three times per year) includes an enhancement called NotifyMe, which automatically sends email notifications for predefined conditions like critical events. “You can configure the software to ‘notify me if X happens,’” Mannisto explains. “So if you have just two or three imaging machines in your facility, for example, you might want to know instantly if one goes down so you can get out on the floor and bring it back online quickly.”

Like other CMMS products, AIMS is priced according to facility size, number of users, and specific applications, and can be either purchased or licensed on a period-fee basis.

Chris Hayhurst is a contributing writer for 24×7. For more information, contact chief editor Jenny Lower at jlower@allied360.com.