Medical Equipment Maintenance

Modern hospitals, both government and private are flooded with sophisticated equipment for diagnosis and therapy. These equipment ranges from simple BP apparatus to complex MRI units and linear accelerators. All these pieces of equipment, irrespective of their complexity, have to be maintained perfectly. They have to provide performance of high quality with high degree of reliability.

The equipment have to be serviced, tested and calibrated with recommended periodicity. Preventive maintenance should be as recommended by the manufacturer. Essential spares, calibration reagents and consumables have to be made available at site. Engineers with specific experience in the maintenance of such system should be available. The logistics involved to keep the maintenance of the whole hospital is complex. In a modern hospital strict monitoring of these processes are controlled by the computerized maintenance management systems.

On an average a university hospital or a regional hospital may contain about 8500 – 10000 pieces of equipment. The average maintenance cost for proper management would be about 8 – 10 crores per annum. Monitoring such huge project efficiently is a highly responsible & hard task. Failure in coordination and monitoring can yield a poor end result.

In house Biomedical Engineering Department can not undertake the complete maintenance functions. This needs a large scale operation with huge technical support and vast inventory of spares. The spares can be quickly moving, slow moving, easy to get and sometime difficult to get. It is essential to make the spares available immediately to expedite repairs. Service organization providing service to many hospitals may not face serious problems in this regard, due to large inventory of spare parts with them.

Major imaging and therapeutic equipment like CT, MRI, Cathlab, Digital X ray machines, Nuclear medicine equipment, Radiotherapy equipment etc can only be maintained by special original equipment manufacturer who has access to genuine spare parts, required software and special technical expertise.  It is a now a common practice of the buyers to get the labour/maintenance contract rates while closing the purchase deal. Usually high-end systems are procured with 3 years of comprehensive warranty and an offer for 5-7 years comprehensive maintenance contract. Low end equipment can be maintained in house. For this expert Engineers and technicians should be available in-house. To have a big team on regular rolls can also turn out to be a permanent liability to the hospital.

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