Conference Sessions Evidence-Based Maintenance of Medical Equipment
– How to work smarter instead of harder in keep medical equipment safe and reliable
– How to comply with applicable laws, regulations, codes and standards with limited OEM collaboration
– How to use service data to improve maintenance strategy and outcomes
– How to perform the safety and effectiveness evaluation required for equipment maintenance within the AEM Program
After dispelling the initial false alarm of electric shocks, the clinical engineering (CE) community spent decades attempting to develop rational methods to improve medical equipment maintenance at lower costs. Analyses of data collected in the USA, Germany and Scotland have proven that the amount of patient incidents caused by maintenance errors is much lower than the Six Sigma quality level sought by world-class manufacturing companies. Nevertheless, many government agencies and manufacturers are still skeptical that it is possible to maintain equipment safely and effectively without following strictly manufacturers’ recommendations. Several methods of planning and evaluating maintenance strategies have been proposed and tested with limited success, such as “Risk-Based Criteria” and “Reliability-Centered Maintenance” (RCM). A new one is Evidence-Based Maintenance (EBM), which has been defined as “A continual improvement process that analyzes the effectiveness of maintenance resources deployed in comparison to outcomes achieved previously or elsewhere, and makes necessary adjustments to maintenance planning and implementation.” EBM treats each piece of medical equipment as a “black box” and uses the scientific method of detecting different outcomes caused by varying inputs to choose the most appropriate maintenance strategy. By comparing the failures causes found during repairs and scheduled maintenance (outcomes) after the adoption of different maintenance strategies (inputs), CE professionals can determine the least resource intensive maintenance strategy without sacrificing equipment safety and reliability. Results of initial EBM studies have confirmed that most manufacturers’ recommendations are excessive and unnecessary, thus contributing to appreciable reductions in labor and parts costs and, most importantly, allow refocusing of limited CE resources to improve patient care and safety.