Preventive maintenance does just what it sounds like…helps you prevent unnecessary repairs down the road by taking care of routine maintenance along the way. Who wants an unscheduled failure (that could be avoided) anyway? Keeping medical equipment properly functioning is usually more efficient than repairing or replacing equipment after it breaks or fails. Functional medical equipment is essential for healthcare professionals and their patients. If a piece of medical equipment fails due to lack of maintenance, the health and safety of the patient and the quality of care may be compromised. Here are the top four reasons to invest in a preventative maintenance program for your healthcare facility.
#1. IMPROVED SAFETY
Performing routine maintenance on your facility's medical equipment is no different than the routine oil changes you perform on your car. Ask any mechanic, maintaining the oil changes for your vehicle on a consistent schedule ensures the longevity of your engine. This same concept can be applied to how preventative maintenance on medical equipment works, although a little less oil and a little more mechanics, technology, and engineering based.
The bottom line is, medical equipment is used every day in patient care, from routine visits to emergency scenarios. By maintaining your facility's medical equipment on a preventative maintenance program, you are proactively mitigating risk by identifying and resolving problems early, BEFORE the equipment fails or malfunctions, thus reducing the possibility of a negative impact during patient care.
#2. INCREASED EFFICIENCY
Maintaining your facility's medical equipment regularly increases the operating efficiency of your facility. Scheduling your preventative maintenance allows your administrators and healthcare professionals to plan in advance for when the equipment will be out-of-pocket. This decreases the surprise of unplanned equipment breakdowns which can impact scheduling, healthcare professionals' productive hours, and overall patient care timing. When equipment becomes inoperable or begins malfunctioning the impact on quality patient care becomes a greater headache for healthcare professionals especially when they are forced to reschedule or cancel procedures until the equipment can be repaired or replaced thus impacting the overall efficiency of your facility.
Ensuring that your medical equipment is regularly maintained increases the availability of the equipment. The more operable and functional equipment you have on site, the more care your facility can provide. When the equipment is functioning, there is less time wasted trying to troubleshoot on-the-fly in the middle of patient care.
#3. COST SAVINGS
Just like any other large or high-cost equipment, preventative maintenance is typically cheaper than replacing damaged, malfunctioning, or inoperable equipment. Circling back to our car analogies, you probably wouldn't go out and buy a new car every time it needed new windshield wiper blades, would you? The answer for most of us is likely, no. The same goes for expensive or financed medical equipment. Rather than reacting to an unplanned breakdown, you can keep your equipment functioning properly with routine preventative maintenance.
The comparison between replacing a larger piece of equipment versus a service contract is a no-brainer. What is a little less obvious is the cost savings reflected in other areas of your facility by maintaining your equipment. When you are saving funds on this portion of your budget, the funds can be reallocated for other facility needs or repairs. The impact will likely be less dramatic than a single one-time savings on a chart but it is still measurable in a significant way.
#4. REDUCED DISRUPTIONS
Who wants to have a perfectly scheduled, normal day disrupted by a catastrophic failure of a key piece of equipment? When your favorite nurse, doctor or surgeon is counting on equipment working flawlessly and it isn’t because of a simple dead battery, holey hose, frayed cord or any number of issues that “coulda, shoulda, woulda” been fixed in a scheduled PM, will they understand? Will the patient? Stuff doesn’t break on Friday afternoon when nothing is scheduled and there is plenty of time to repair. No, it happens on the day thirty different things are scheduled and the stars must align perfectly for you to get through the day in one piece. That’s the day the “stuff” hits the fan. That’s the day you want to be able to rely on scheduled maintenance to minimize avoidable problems. Only a Martian invasion is an acceptable excuse on days like that! Stay off the firing line: Maintain your political capital as the equipment super hero by staying ahead of the game and keeping your inventory in tip top shape.
Whether servicing in-house with your own biomedical services team or outsourcing to an independent services organization (ISO), setting a routine preventative maintenance schedule for your facility's medical equipment can result in improved safety, cost savings, increased efficiency, and make your life easier.
Do you have an example of how your regularly scheduled maintenance has paid off at your facility? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.