The management of the tools that hospitals and healthcare facilities use every day to serve their patients, such as emergency equipment, medical devices, and biomedical equipment, has become increasingly complex in recent years. Today, hospitals and healthcare providersutilize sophisticated equipment to ensure optimal patient experience. However, it can be challenging to plan for regular maintenance of these various medical devices to provide the best care for every patient.
Therefore, how can you ensure that your facility’s medical devices and equipment are running correctly? How can you safeguard your patients’ safety and health? How can you avoid the costs of emergency repairs?
Let’s discover the important information you need to know regarding healthcare performance management and medical equipment maintenance
- What is Medical Equipment Maintenance?
- Why is Medical Equipment Maintenance Important?
- The Basics of Preventative Maintenance
- Hospital Bed Maintenance & Repair
- Stretcher Maintenance
- Nurse-call System Maintenance
- Implementing and Maintaining Digital Technology in the Healthcare Industry
- Benefits of a Preventative Maintenance Plan for Patients and Healthcare Providers
- Effective Medical Equipment Maintenance and Management
Developing a Strategy for Medical Equipment Maintenance
Everything starts with effective management and the utilization of a smart maintenance strategy that will save you on operating costs now and for years to come. Knowledge is critical when it comes to medical equipment maintenance, and a smart plan will alleviate repair costs, equipment downtime, and safety concerns for patients, healthcare consultants, and facilities alike.
A hospital or healthcare facility can take steps toward a service schedule to ensure that any required preventative maintenanceor corrective maintenance services are considered. This involves gathering information on the specialized medical equipment you use on a regular basis for procedures and service contacts for any necessary repairs.
What is Medical Equipment Maintenance?
Medical equipment maintenance is the routine inspection of all equipment and devices utilized in a hospital setting as recommended by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Alterations to the recommended maintenance by the OEM are defined in the hospital’s Medical Equipment Maintenance Plan (MEMP). A MEMP ensures that all medical equipment used by technicians, doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other hospital staff functions as intended and safely. Medical equipment maintenance can include routine maintenance schedules such as preventative maintenance, repairs to equipment that needs emergency service, or even equipment replacements and upgrades.
Managing many devices and medical equipment that a hospital or facility uses on a day-to-day basis can be a daunting endeavor. However, it’s essential for maintaining the ability to provide a high level of service, conduct routine procedures, and control costs.
Why is Medical Equipment Maintenance Important?
According to a 2023 article from Med-Tech Outlook Magazine, reactive maintenance is much more costly for a hospital or healthcare facility than preventive maintenance. Failure in equipment can result in high costs to fix the device, and other not-as-obvious expenses, such as a reduction in efficiency and an impact on patients’ safety.
Hospitals utilize medical equipment of all varieties, from new technology to outdated devices, and are subject to higher failure rates. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain every piece of equipment at your site to avoid a critical emergency or an unintended and substantial increase in operating costs. Simply put, a well-developed preventive maintenance plan that can discover equipment service needs before an equipment breakdown has occurred is more valuable than doing an emergency repair on the spot.
Thankfully, these preventive maintenance services may now be managed by experienced technicians using advanced technologies. Despite the increasing number of devices and specialized equipment hospitals can access, operating medical equipment maintenance is easier than ever.
The Basics of Preventative Maintenance
Your medical equipment’s preventive or routine maintenance begins with a strategic medical equipment maintenance program. Multiple resources are available to assist your healthcare facility in these early stages. Preventative maintenance entails the management of all the devices that your facility utilizes, and it’s essential to understand when each of these devices or equipment may require service.
Keeping track of all devices and equipment at your healthcare facility, asset management, is a good place to start. Commonly, assets and their maintenance requirements are managed in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). From here you should categorize the equipment, record its make, model, unique identifiers, and warranty information. Next create a preventive maintenance schedule according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Finally, document all service activities whether preventive or corrective to start to build a service history for each device. This will allow you to optimize the maintenance schedule based on service trends of each device.
It is important to take a high-level view of your maintenance plan that considers all the medical equipment currently in circulation, and don’t forget to evaluate each device for its interoperability. These days medical devices are connected to both each other and the hospital’s network. These connections and the data sharded should also be reviewed and managed at regular intervals.
Medical Equipment Requires Routine Maintenance
At some point, every piece of medical equipment at your healthcare facility requires routine maintenance or repairs to comply with regulations. Therefore, it’s an important and standard part of your operations, to deploy medical equipment maintenance programs for all your medical equipment including hospital beds and the systems that connect to them. Experienced technicians can assist with maintenance and necessary repairs for all equipment and devices ensuring they are ready and available to support the patient care environment.
Hospital Bed Maintenance & Repair
Hospital beds are arguably a facility’s most essential and most used medical equipment. Therefore, hospital beds that are properly maintained ensure the comfort and safety of every patient. Hospital beds are much more technologically advanced than ever before. Furthermore, they are designed to provide security and support for the patient and improve communication efficiency between patients and medical staff.
A proper maintenance program is not only required by The Joint Commission but preventive maintenance is also essential to ensure safe operations and a long lifespan for every hospital bed.
As a result, all hospital beds must be equipped with the proper and fully functioning safety tools, which can include the following features:
- control panels for both patients and caregivers
- side rails for patients’ safety and mobility support
- entrapment sensors
- quick release cabling
- adjustable settings that can control the bed’s height, mattress positioning, bed frames, and rails
- steering and locking mechanism for transportation
- bed exit alarm
- proper lighting
Caregivers, technicians, and staff must conduct regular inspections of hospital beds to ensure that a healthcare facility follows all the regulations and safety protocols mandated by the FDA and other applicable regulatory organizations. The Department of Health and Human Services strongly recommends that only trained and qualified technicians service and maintain hospital beds. Emeritus offers an always-on-site service model to conduct repairs and ensures that all essential equipment is in top working order.
Stretchers are another medical device used regularly in a hospital or healthcare facility. Therefore, this medical device may not be inspected or maintained as often as required. It is primarily used in emergencies, on-site, and by EMS technicians in the field. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that all aspects of a stretcher are working correctly. It is important to provide quality care and patient support, including restraints, buckles, and hardware. Additionally, the brakes and the stretcher’s ability to move smoothly in every direction is crucial.
Nurse-call System Maintenance
Nurse-call systemsare another tool at a hospital that is used all the time, 24/7. Therefore, it can often be overlooked when it comes to preventative maintenance management. A nurse-call system is an essential piece of technology. It gives patients a quick and efficient means to connect with medical staff about anything at any time. This includes everything from routine needs like assistance using the restroom to significant emergencies that need immediate attention.
Several maintenance services may be required for your nurse-call system at any given time, and regular testing and inspections are essential. A nurse-call evaluation in a preventative maintenance program entails checking that each component is working properly. Particularly pillow speakers, call buttons, pull cords, alarm devices, control stations, and call lights, so patients can have the right support whenever needed.
Routine Preventive Maintenance for Biomedical Equipment and Other Medical Devices
Keep in mind that the above list of medical equipment that requires routine preventive maintenance is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to maintaining all your devices. Also, proper preventative maintenance ensures you provide your patients with the best quality service possible. Some other routine medical equipment may require support, including computerized equipment, biomedical equipment, specialized equipment, and much more. An effective maintenance strategy takes all equipment and devices into consideration. Therefore, it’s helpful to have an experienced partner to take inventory and schedule or perform preventive maintenance as needed.
Implementing and Maintaining Digital Technology in the Healthcare Industry
The equipment necessary for a hospital’s operation, like hospital beds, stretchers, and communications systems, are included in preventative maintenance strategies. However, in our modern era, it also consists of the devices, apps, software, and other online tools that doctors, patients, and partners use for effective communication and patient care.
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced a wave of new online tools that healthcare facilities embraced to provide better care with reduced in-person exposure. However, with these convenient and new online resources came a significant increase in cyberattacks in the healthcare industry.
Cybersecurity breaches hit an all-time high in 2021, as more than 700 healthcare organizations reported a cybersecurity breach of 500 patient records or more to the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights. Additionally, according to a report by Fortified Health Security, healthcare providers made up 72% of the cybersecurity issues.
The Importance of Managing Healthcare Technology
This is why healthcare technology management is an essential aspect of any preservative maintenance plan, as the mobile devices and software your facility uses every day are always at risk. Medical network securityis crucial to maintaining operations and allowing your staff to perform their jobs on a regular basis. Emeritus can be a trusted partner in all aspects of your online data management, from ensuring a secure network to immediate response if any red flags are identified.
Benefits of a Preventative Maintenance Plan for Patients and Healthcare Providers
A preventive maintenance plan consists of multiple moving parts, from identifying your inventory and any related documentation, to getting ahead of emergency repairs before they cause issues and prevent your staff from being able to do their jobs.
The benefits of planning with a well-crafted preventive maintenance plan are far-reaching and include the following:
- Improved patient efficiencies stemming from readily available equipment when needed to provide care
- Reduced costs of equipment maintenance due to the decrease in repairs
- Lowered costs of daily operations due to a reduction in downtime, equipment failure, and other hurdles that can impact your personnel’s ability to do their job
- More efficient operations, from daily tasks to emergency situations
- Better reliability and patient care
- Value in equipment investments
- Improvement in patient satisfaction and safety
- Adherence to federal and state guidelines and regulations
- An increased ability to identify problems before they occur, whether for stationary equipment like hospital bedsor online tools at risk of a cyberattack
Effective Medical Equipment Maintenanceand Management
Regardless of a healthcare facility’s size, specialty, or operations, it’s imperative to have a preventive maintenance program. Equipment failure can lead to increased costs that can hinder a facility’s ability to operate. Therefore, with all the technology-based equipment used daily, it can be impossible to stay on top of any repairs or failures before they occur.
Here’s the good news, you don’t have to do it alone. At Emeritus, we can be your partner when it comes to developing and implementing a preventive medical equipment maintenance strategy. Additionally, we offer a wealth of services that start with an initial inventory and continue through regular maintenance and immediate on-site repairs in the years ahead.
A sample of our services with the Emeritus Clinical Solutions program includes the following:
- Competitive pricing and exceptional value
- Always-onsite maintenance model providing an in-house service quality
- Near-zero repair response times
- Digital asset management and accurate equipment inventories
- Custom reporting, regulatory compliance documentation, and regular review
- Custom designed and automated maintenance schedules
- Ability to service all major brands of equipment without bias
- Trained and qualified service technicians, clinical engineers, and project managers
- Temporary or permanent biomedical staffing
- Equipment life-cycle planning and decommissioning
Emeritus Provides the Best Medical Equipment Maintenance
At Emeritus, we have a suite of clinical solutions to enhance patient care through the proper maintenance of medical technology. Development of the medical equipment maintenance program, through the provision of trained and qualified technicians and program management, Emeritus has what you need to provide custom, all-in-one solutions for public, private, and government hospitals and healthcare facilities of all sizes and specialties.
Reach out to an Emeritus specialist today to get the ball rolling on creating a streamlined, effective, and comprehensive medical equipment managementstrategy that will serve your hospital or healthcare facility now and for years and years to come.
From cybersecurity threats to failures in the medical equipment you use every day, you can get ahead of potential problems by being proactive. Emeritus can be your partner in this endeavor every step of the way. Start developing the right plan for all of your medical equipment maintenance needs.