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With the current pandemic, most hospitals across the globe are experiencing a surge in patient inflow. This calls for a higher need to implement proper care and maintenance of medical equipment, most importantly with the ones that are intended to be used day in and day out.
Well-maintained medical devices and diagnostic facilities are crucial to the safety and health of both patients and healthcare providers. Therefore, to provide comprehensive patient care and ensure the well-being of every medical specialist, strict maintenance guidelines must be followed.
Just a small malfunction in medical equipment can cause severe damage. So, here are some maintenance and care tips that you can use to care for both your medical equipment, your staff, and your patients.
Perform routine checks.
First and foremost, all medical equipment must be checked regularly, whether they're currently in use or stored for future use.
For the brand-new devices that have been recently delivered, you should also verify if every function is working before you use them. For large machinery, a thorough inspection must be initiated too.
Aside from these, other devices such as wheelchairs must also be in the priority list, most especially their tyres and brakes. Those can break if not in use for a long time.
What you’re looking for is wear and tear. If you find any, immediately repair the worn out/damaged parts, and keep the moving parts lubricated.
An even more organized way of doing all this is to perform what medical facilities call a “biomedical equipment inventory audit”. Regularly checking and recording findings about equipment and its condition can help you ensure all of your devices are in good shape.
Ensure proper usage.
Though medical devices have a life span, proper care and maintenance can go a long way. Of course, it's important to keep in mind that in every procedure, all equipment must be used only as directed and staff should follow the in-depth guidelines for all devices carefully.
This is why hospital staff and specialists who operate medical devices must be trained to work with the establishment’s or practice’s devices.
Some manufacturers offer training courses for this if you don’t want to arrange the training yourself. In the US, Philips offers healthcare education programs for users of its devices, for example.
Note that if your equipment is electrical, you may also need to educate staff on how to care for their electrical components. For instance, it's also necessary to turn off unused equipment in most cases: it can prevent overheating, avoid possible damage from power surges, and conserve power and increase the equipment’s lifespan.
Replace lubricants, reagents, and other consumables.
As mentioned earlier, all moving parts of equipment like wheelchairs must be lubricated. This is true too for medical equipment that has to be filled with reagents, lubricants, or other consumables on a regular basis.
Lubricants reduce the friction of moving parts and reagents/other consumables are needed to produce an accurate outcome from some equipment. Hence, all of these elements are essential for the devices to function properly.
It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of this. According to one of the doctors from Cardiologist Singapore, a cardiology practice, he would find it significantly harder to provide his services to patients were his equipment not maintained regularly this way by his staff.
Besides, scheduling regular replacement for things like these can extend the lifespan of your medical equipment. In case of malfunction or breakdown, check the levels of reagents, lubricants, and consumables and see if there are any contaminants or clogs first. After that, call for an accredited engineer to fix/replace the damaged part.
Keep the facilities and equipment clean.
It’s mandatory to maintain the cleanliness of all equipment. It’s not just about keeping surrounding sanitary either -- it’s also about performance.
Another doctor we interviewed, this one from a colorectal surgery specialist clinic called Colorectal Surgeon Singapore, states that thoroughly cleaned medical equipment affects healthcare quality.
Among other things, such equipment is more likely to deliver accurate readings and consistent performance. This is because contaminants, clogs, and similar interference from physical factors becomes less likely.
So, keep your equipment clean. Keep fluids and other flammable substances away from devices, wash and dry containers, and properly dispose of all used consumables.
Sterilize and disinfect dirty/exposed surfaces, particularly bed mattresses. This will also help to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.
Have in-house maintenance and follow manufacturer guidelines.
For emergency cases, it'd be a great help to have in-house support services for equipment repair and the like. Fortunately, having knowledge of basic maintenance tasks can help the staff produce immediate responses to sudden equipment malfunction.
However, there are certain maintenance and repair duties that are exclusively handled by skilled technicians. So, when it comes to complex tasks, it's better to ask for professional help.
Fortunately, you can minimize the need for those by treating equipment as the manufacturer says it should be treated.
Hire qualified technicians.
In line with receiving professional help, every piece of equipment must be inspected and maintained regularly by qualified technicians. There are a lot of options for service contracts such as having OEM (original equipment manufacturer) technicians.
Hiring third-party vendors can also be an alternative solution for a more affordable service. Last but not least, remote assistance can also be called -- a customer support representative will talk to the staff and guide them through step-by-step instructions to fix/repair the device.
That concludes our list of pointers for those who want to care for their medical equipment.
Following and implementing these tips will help keep equipment in tip-top shape, which is good for both patients and health care providers. It should also keep equipment working properly for as long as possible, which will negate the need for costly repairs or replacements.
If you find that your equipment is already too far gone for maintenance to help, though, give us a call and we’ll assist you to the best of our abilities. At Lifeline, we’re equipped with medical equipment to help improve the services of the healthcare and emergency industry.