Medical Technology Repair Personnel, i.e., biomedical engineers, are healthcare heroes. Thank Goodness for the hardworking precision teams of biomets and clinical engineers who manage the medical technology services in hospitals, outpatient centers and labs. Largely unnoticed as a group, they consistently show up for work in healthcare institutions and get their vital, exacting jobs done reliably, with technical skill and accuracy, day after day. So why is their work so important?
Here are 7 reasons why:
Every day, in-patients and out-patients across the globe receive enormous medical diagnostic, therapeutic and remedial treatments for a wide range of symptoms and illnesses. From a joyous obstetrical ultrasound producing your child’s in-utero first ever photo, to a depressing diagnosis of cancer followed byradiation treatment planning, these are all “critical care” aspects of healthcare that require reliable, accurate medical technology equipment. Precision calibration of medical technology is life sustaining. Which one of us would want to find ourselves in the situation to have received too large a dose of radiation (for example) because of faulty equipment? Not anyone! Without precision calibration deployed by highly skilled biomedical engineers, these types of situations could well occur.
Allowing equipment to run out of a Service Warranty with little or no Biomet support is a poor strategy. As patients and healthcare consumers, most of us want to know that we are safe when we go into a facility for treatment. While the public at large knows nothing about what is required to repair, calibrate and provide preventative maintenance on sophisticated medical technology equipment, it is “mission critical.” Some healthcare facilities take unwarranted risks by allowing their medical capital equipment to run out of their manufacturer’s service warranty without any extension or other coverage. While not publicized, this does happen in many institutions. Clearly, this practice is not even remotely related to “best practices” or “best patient care” or quality “accountable care.”
The proverbial “band-aids” stuck on high technology equipment makes the medical technicians administering care very nervous and uncomfortable. Nuclear med techs, ultrasound techs, x-ray techs and doctors are always concerned about the safety and efficacy of the treatments that they deploy with their patients, so they tend to be very “hands on,” cautious and thorough. This means that any faulty function can put them at high risk, especially with repeated exposures from treating multiple patients, as well as risk the patient’s health.
When equipment PM stickers fall off of the equipment and/or service dates are missed, this can make the techs uncertain about correct dosage of treatments and reliability of diagnostics. Sticking “band-aids” or faulty stickers on equipment that is questionably calibrated or maintained is a prescription for great unrest with healthcare professionals who administer care. If it “can’t get repaired,” look out!
Medical equipment malfunction events can have costly ripple effects, triggering more than just hold-ups, even impacting the institution’s bottom line. The hold-ups may extend patient anxiety over treatments or feared outcomes, increase patient waiting room times, and even force rescheduling of critical diagnostic or treatment sessions. These situations can damage the healthcare institution’s reputation very quickly. In today’s world of widespread social media interactions and online review sites, all immediately available on cell phones, bad reports tend to spread across social networks virally, almost instantaneously, and could ultimately damage an institution’s bottom line.
Without a competent team of Bmets on staff (employees, responsive outsource clinical engineers, or an “in-sourced” team of experts who manage your business in-house with great care) to review, maintain and repair all medical equipment, healthcare facilities are “open season” for delays and confusion between the original equipment manufacturer and the healthcare provider “end user.” If a medical facility is unable or afraid to perform certain processes on systems and equipment, how can it ensure patient safety and that privacy laws are not violated? How can it maintain regulatory compliance? The manufacturer who could provide the technical solutions on the “devices” or “systems” may not be available 24/7 when an urgent requirement emerges. The right engineering consultants can be.
Biomedical engineers who are technically and competently trained to ensure that medical equipment is properly maintained to stay “up and running” are “mission critical.” This is the opposite of healthcare environments where an audit can discover after-the-fact equipment that is not properly calibrated, preventatively maintained against failure, and/or updated to regulatory compliance standards. “Having potential to run” and “can’t get it repaired fast” scenarios for medical technology just do not cut it in today’s healthcare environment. There’s a host of reasons for delays. These may even include conflicts and negotiations that get stalled between healthcare providers and equipment manufacturers, e.g., contract negotiations, service warranties that may be out of date, or even equipment obsolescence where decisions on new pricing, budgets and other factors come into play
Summarily, patients trust that their healthcare providers are looking out for their “highest and best” interests. Waiting for “not-in-repair” medical technology equipment to “get repaired” is not something anyone enjoys. From the healthcare provider’s perspective….well…waiting and delays just give your patients more time to ‘tweet” and post to Facebook their complaints about your facility’s perceived inadequacies and the inconveniences to them… or worse. A word to the wise here should be sufficient.
There’s no reason for an institution to scrimp on healthcare IT when it comes to critical biomedical technology services and risk dire results for patients,medical technicians and the financial bottom line. It’s always more costly to skip the preventative maintenance, capital asset planning and management.