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How Much Rental Equipment is Enough?

Submitted byRobert Peed on

​Most healthcare organizations have contracts with rental companies that supply medical equipment. The arrangement can save money, since the rental company carries the burden of purchasing and maintaining the equipment. 

Wound Vacuum Assisted Closures (VACs) are a good example of this. Used with chronic wounds, such as bed sores that aren’t responding to other forms of treatment, or with surgical wounds that have reopened, wound VACs can reduce the amount of time required to heal and can reduce the risk of infections and other complications. But they’re expensive to own. A single machine can cost as much as $20,000 to $30,000, and requires a certain amount of specialized upkeep. It often makes sense to rent wound VACs instead of own them. 

How many?

Knowing just how many pieces of equipment to rent can be a little tricky. The exact number a given organization needs can be difficult to predict, and there can end up being a significant difference between how much you rent and how much you really use.  Many healthcare organizations rely on the rental company to recommend how many pieces of equipment to supply, since the rental company has more experience with each type of equipment, and can draw on their usage data and other statistics to suggest an appropriate number. On the other hand, rental companies charge by the number of items they supply, so their recommendations may err on the side of too many instead of too few. 

Know for sure

Having a better understanding of equipment utilization rates makes it easier to know what, exactly, your organization needs.Awarepoint’s Real-Time Locating Service (RTLS), which is based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, makes it easy to track when and where items are used. When a piece of rental equipment arrives onsite, you place a BLE-based asset tag on the machine and log it into the RTLS software. The RTLS system begins tracking the item, wherever it goes onsite, and logs usage so you can generate reports on utilization rates. As an example, your rental agreement might call for 300 IV pumps, but you might find, after tracking utilization for a time, that you really only need 200. You can reduce the rental contract and save money. 

Never miss a service date

You can also make the rental contract an attribute of the item in the RTLS system, to make sure you keep up with maintenance schedules. If a machine needs to be returned for service every six months, for example, you can set a trigger in the RTLS system to give advance notice. A reminder message can be sent to a predefined destination – the RTLS dashboard or the cell phone of a clinical engineer – as a reminder to retrieve the machine. The message can even tell you where the machine is, so you don’t have to hunt for it.  

Just the beginning

Rental management is just one of the many ways the Awarepoint Location as a Service can help healthcare organizations increase efficiency and reduce operating costs. To learn more, view the animated use cases on our dedicated page for healthcare applications, or use our simple form, at the top of the page, to request a demo.

(Photo Credit: via Compfight cc)