The Benefits of a Clinical Equipment Maintenance Program
By Dave Francoeur
Where is it?
Is it being used?
Is it broken?
Is it clean?
Every day, hospital clinical staff waste valuable time asking these questions about portable clinical devices — questions an established clinical equipment maintenance program would render moot, because staff would have what they need when they need it.
Without a clinical equipment maintenance program in place that improves access to clean, operable portable clinical devices, staff can spend up to 15 minutes per device searching for missing equipment, room by room, floor by floor. Once they find what they’re looking for, staff then have to determine whether the device is working and whether it’s clean. If it’s not working, or if it’s not clean, staff either have to search for another device, or take the time to properly prepare the one they found for patient use. All the while, the patient is waiting. The result? Inefficient processes. Dissatisfied patients. And frustrated staff.
Obviously clean equipment is essential to infection prevention in the medical environment as well. From wheelchairs and stretchers to infusion pumps and pulse oximeters, cleanliness is the #1 priority. Clean equipment is a critical component of preventing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which are a significant risk to patient health and safety. HAIs, many of which are preventable, are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and billions of dollars of medical expenses every year. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1 in 31 patients daily in the U.S. has at least one HAI.
The Basics: Clinical Equipment Maintenance Programs
Clinical equipment maintenance programs ensure at-the-ready access to clean, operable portable clinical devices utilizing one of three methodologies:
- Forward stocking: Staff access devices in a self-serve set-up, based on established PAR levels
- Central stocking: Staff request delivery of devices from a central location, from which devices are dispatched as needed
- Hybrid stocking: Staff have self-serve access as well as the availability of a central location from which devices are dispatched
Clinical equipment maintenance programs feature a dedicated Equipment Maintenance team whose time and resources are exclusively focused on ensuring equipment function and availability, including inventory and storage as well as cleaning and repair. Additionally, all team members are highly trained on established protocols regarding the appropriate cleaning and handling of portable clinical equipment. Often device repair also can be addressed more quickly simply due to the fact that the devices are handled more frequently and by individuals trained to fix them. More touches and more training means more opportunities to find minor problems that can be corrected before they turn into major ones.
Clinical equipment maintenance programs typically replace similar functions through Environmental Services or Central Sterile Supply. Programs can be scaled to meet the needs of any hospital, based on the size of the facility, the size of the staff, patient volume, the equipment needed, and each hospital’s own set of issues to solve — because every hospital has its own unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to device availability and maintenance.
The Benefits: Clinical Equipment Maintenance Programs
Clinical equipment maintenance programs improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of managing portable clinical devices. They’re better for patients, better for staff, and they’re better for hospitals’ bottom lines.
Benefits of a clinical equipment maintenance program include:
- Reduces the risk of cross contamination
- Reduces the risk of HAIs
- Includes dedicated staff trained in established protocols for cleaning and handling devices
- Improves the availability of clean, operable portable equipment
- Reduces the occurrence of lost and missing equipment
- Reduces staff time spent searching for equipment
- Improves equipment utilization
- Increases device uptime
- Increases device lifetime
- Decreases equipment rental and purchase expense
- Improves inventory management and control
- Drives consistent required compliance
- Improves program reliability and consistency
- Improves patient satisfaction
- Improves staff satisfaction, which increases productivity and retention
If you want to improve patient care, boost efficiencies, impact the satisfaction of both patients and your medical staff, and drive savings in bottom-line equipment-related costs, a clinical equipment maintenance program might be just what you’re looking for.
To learn more about TKA’s clinical equipment maintenance program called READI, download our one-page program overview.
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