Medical equipment and their uses are continually evolving in order to better diagnose, treat, and improve patient care outcomes. Biomedical engineers must constantly review the new safety standards and management strategies to keep up with equipment technology. Medical equipment management standards published by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) have been a major driving force for biomedical and clinical engineers in creating standards and procedures to inspect and maintain effective, safe, and reliable operation of all medical equipment in the inventory.
Maintaining Medical Equipment is Important
Maintenance programs are crucial for the effective, safe, and reliable functioning of all medical equipment used within hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. When considering the effectiveness of maintenance schedules, referring to the operator’s manual is important as they specify preventative schedules for each individual device. Preventative maintenance programs are put in place to test, evaluate, and verify that the device is running correctly on a routine basis. This is especially true when it comes to sterilizer maintenance, as sterilizers are among the most important tools for infection control and equipment longevity in a hospital or clinical setting. Proper and regular maintenance on sterilizer equipment means that all subsequent medical device quality can be guaranteed and problems can be addressed before malfunctions endanger the operating life of the equipment. A good rule of thumb is that prevention over curative actions should be preferred.
Prioritizing of Medical Equipment Maintenance
Older technology devices and newer high-tech devices must be prioritized differently when it comes to maintenance strategies, and the differences are most when examining predictive vs preventive maintenance. Older technology devices require a preventative maintenance schedule that includes performance verification and safety testing (PVST), whereas newer high-tech devices require predictive maintenance. Preventative maintenance is utilized to anticipate the failure or deterioration of medical equipment before it happens. Predictive maintenance is the accumulation of analytical data compiled about a particular device to be proactive about maintaining the device before trouble happens.
This predictive method is easier to do with new technology because of the data that can be collected and analyzed in real-time scenarios. We at ERD highly recommend implementing two different maintenance strategies for new and old technology to prolong the lifespan of your medical devices, as well as certain protocols to assist staff in keeping track of which devices are in need of service. Effective types of maintenance strategies include common-sense, actionable items for ensuring all maintenance requirements have been performed, like employing a medical equipment maintenance checklist.
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Best Medical Equipment Maintenance Strategy for Newer High-Tech Devices
Predictive maintenance programs are developed for newer high-tech devices based on maintenance time schedules recommended by manufacturers. These programs are based more on failure detection and user feedback after each service session or utilization of the device. Biomedical staff and the manufacturer’s technical service department work in conjunction to develop the best maintenance strategy from the user feedback and the reports that are received.
Best Medical Equipment Maintenance Strategy for Older Technology Devices
Older technology devices require preventative maintenance schedules based on manufacturer’s recommendations and PVST tests performed by factory trained & certified biomedical technicians. PVST tests analyze intervals, applications and interpretations of criteria stated in international standards. PVST intervals are determined by calculating the sum of the Equipment Management Number (EMN) using three parameters: equipment function score, equipment risk score, and maintenance requirements score. See Table 1 to view the scores used to calculate the EMN. Based on the value calculated if the score is 12 or higher the equipment must be put into the annual PVST plan. If the value is above 17 then the device must be serviced every 6 months.
Maintenance strategies can be overwhelming if you don’t have the right biomedical team in place to work in conjunction with the manufacturer’s technical service team. ERD’s on-site biomedical services are available to reduce equipment downtime, control costs, support optimal patient outcomes, and handle all of the reporting and documentation.