Medical Equipment Lifecycle Management

Medical equipment lifecycle management is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of medical equipment, from acquisition to disposal. The well-function lifecycle management helps ensure that medical equipment is available and safe for patients and staff.

What is Medical Equipment Lifecycle Management?

Medical equipment lifecycle management is the process of managing the lifecycle of medical equipment, from initial purchase and maintenance to eventual disposal. The lifecycle management of medical equipment includes establishing policies and procedures for the use of the medical equipment, managing, and keeping track of equipment maintenance and repair jobs, and planning for replacements when the equipment reaches the end of its useful life.

Why is Medical Equipment Lifecycle Management Important?

A proper medical equipment lifecycle management process is important to ensure that medical equipment is available and is in good condition when providing patient care, and to maximise the useful life.

Medical equipment can be complex and pose higher risk, compared to other industries, if it is not maintained properly. If the medical equipment is not functioning or is out of service, it can lead to disruptions in providing patient care, harm staff members, or even put patients at risk. Another important point is that many countries have laws and regulations related to the disposal of medical equipment that healthcare organisations need to comply with.

By having well-functioning medical equipment life management, healthcare organisations can ensure that they are providing the best possible care to their patient and following laws and regulations. 

8 Stages of Medical Equipment Lifecycle Management

Each medical equipment depending on the model will have different stages it goes through. However, here are a common set of stages medical equipment often goes through in healthcare organisations:

1. Planning and budgeting

Initially the healthcare organisation will identify the need for new medical equipment that is required provide patient care and ensure operational efficiency. The healthcare organisations will conduct research to determine the most suitable options by consulting with staff, reviewing equipment specifications and comparing prices and features of different medical equipment.

2. Procurement

Once the healthcare organisations have gathered the requirements and planned a budget, the medical equipment will either be purchased or leased. The procurement stage may involve working with different vendors to obtain the best possible price and terms. The medical equipment will then be sent to the healthcare facility.

There are multiple activities healthcare organisations take in their procurement strategy. You can continue reading about what a healthcare procurement strategy is and why it is important here.

3. Installation

Once the equipment has been delivered, it must be set up and installed in the healthcare facility. This may involve coordinating with facility management and IT departments. Installation may involve assembling the medical equipment, connecting it to power and utilities, and importantly also testing it to ensure that it is functioning as expected.

If the equipment is especially large, there might be a project that consists of removing and rebuilding walls so that the medical equipment can be transported to the designated section.

4. Training and Education

Before the medical equipment can be put into service, the healthcare professionals will need to be trained on how to properly use the medical equipment safely and effectively. Training may include instructional material, hands-on training, demonstrations, online tutorials, and ongoing support during the initial usage period. The overall goal is to ensure that the medical professionals are confident and competent in using the medical equipment to provide the best possible patient care.

5. Maintenance

To ensure that the medical equipment is continuously able to function properly, it is essential that preventive maintenance and repair jobs are performed. Often manufacturers include preventive maintenance requirements to be performed in set internals, such as every 6 or 12 months.

The maintenance may include a routine inspection and servicing, replacing of worn or damaged parts, or any other issues that arise. Having proper maintenance can help prevent equipment failures, decrease downtime, sustain patient safety, and extend the useful life of the medical equipment.

Preventive maintenance plays a key role in extending the life of medical equipment and saving resources in the long run. We wrote an article of the benefits, challenges, importance, history, and future of preventive maintenance related to medical equipment here.

6. Replacement

Medical equipment will become old, outdated, or no longer required to meet the needs of the healthcare facility. In these cases, the healthcare organisation may want to replace the medical equipment with a newer model or upgrade the existing equipment with new capabilities and features. As such, the healthcare organisation can ensure that their facilities have the most advanced and effective medical equipment and treatments available.

7. Disposal

When the medical equipment is no longer needed or has reached its end of useful life it will be disposed of through various means. The medical equipment could be donated to other healthcare facilities, sold for scrap, or be recycled. Healthcare organisations may involve vendors to ensure that the equipment is properly disposed of. Healthcare organisations must ensure that any hazardous material is handled in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

8. Evaluation

The final stage is the evaluation of the medical equipment. While the equipment is not directly involved in this stage, the aftermath of its use is. In this stage, the healthcare organisation will review usage patterns, measure outcomes, and conduct other reviews. The result of these evaluations can help improve the future decision related to equipment management and the acquisition.

5 Key Challenges of Medical Equipment Lifecycle Management

There are multiple challenges associated with medical equipment lifecycle management, including the following:

  1. Acquisition and maintenance costs: The acquisition and continuous maintenance can become expensive which puts a significant strain on healthcare organisations fbudget. As a result, the lifecycle management of medical equipment may become difficult to plan and manage effectively.
  2. Ever-increasing complexity of medical equipment: As modern medical equipment grows in complexity so does the specialised knowledge and skills needed to use and maintain and repair the medical equipment. It may become difficult for healthcare organisations to find qualified personnel to perform these tasks. This will later lead to delays and disruptions in patient care.
  3. Outdated medical equipment: Medical equipment and technology is constantly evolving, and the current state-of-the-art may be outdated in a few years. This makes it incredibly difficult for healthcare organisations to plan for providing the best possible patient care today as well as in the future.
  4. Regulations and compliance: There are often several regulations related to medical equipment that healthcare organisations must comply with. Depending on where the healthcare facilities are located, here are a few examples that may apply: Global medical device nomenclature (GMDN), European database on medical devices (EUDAMED), European medical device regulation (MDR), and unique device identification (UDI).
  5. Keeping track and documenting: Keeping track of all medical equipment and ensuring that it is properly documented, accounted for, and maintenance, can be a daunting task. Without proper documentation, it can be difficult to ensure that equipment is being used and maintained properly. This can lead to equipment failure, reduced efficiency, and suboptimal patient care.

Strategies to Ease Medical Equipment Lifecycle Management

There are multiple strategies that healthcare organisations can uses to meet the challenges of medical equipment lifecycle management, including the following:

1. Develop a Comprehensive Plan and Budget

Develop a comprehensive plan and budget for managing medical equipment as it can help to ensure that healthcare facilities have the resources they need to acquire, maintain, and replace equipment as needed.

Having a well-designed healthcare procurement strategy can help healthcare organisations to improve its operational efficiency. By carefully planning and managing its procurement process, an organisation can ensure that it can obtain the necessary goods and services it needs quickly and efficiently.

Healthcare organisations have seen success in managing their healthcare procurement strategy and process through the PeRMit planning and investment management solution. The solution enables healthcare organisations to increase the opportunity to coordinate investments, and get an overview and control prioritisation, qualification, capital requirement, and including planned or urgent/unplanned investments.

2. Stay Up to Date with Medical Technology

Stay current with the developments within medical technology. This can help you stay informed about new and emerging technologies, as well as changes and trends in the industry.

One way to keep up to date with developments in medical technology is to regularly read relevant industry news and articles, attend conferences and workshops and network with other healthcare professionals.

Regularly evaluate the medical equipment used by the healthcare facility. Evaluations involves having a thorough inventory of the medical equipment, review any issues that commonly arise, and determining if the medical equipment is still suitable and meets the needs of staff and patients. This can ultimately lead to better patient care and a more efficient and effective healthcare.

3. Choosing and Work Together with the Right Vendors

It is important to work closely with vendors to ensure that medical equipment is purchased, installed, and maintained in accordance with all relevant regulations and standards. This can help prevent compliance issues and reduce the risk of accidents or errors.

One way to do this is to carefully research and select vendors who have a proven track record of meeting regulatory requirements and standards. This can involve reviewing their policies and procedures, checking for any past violations or penalties, and asking for references from other healthcare organisations that have worked with them.

4. Developing Good Relationship with Other Healthcare Organisations

Developing a relationship with other healthcare facilities or organizations can be a valuable way to share resources and expertise of managing medical equipment between each other. This can help reduce costs and improve efficiency in the equipment lifecycle management process.

These can be through formal or informal meetings between the healthcare facilities or organisations to share expertise, strategies, and best practices. For example, two healthcare facilities may agree to share medical equipment that they do not use regularly, or to collaborate on training programs for staff to improve their knowledge and skills in handling medical equipment.

5. Leverage Technology

To improve the management and control of medical equipment lifecycle management, the healthcare organisation may want to leverage different technologies. This can help streamline processes and reduce the need for manual tracking and documentation, such as by paper or Excel spreadsheets.

Asset management software solutions, such as Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) or Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), enables the healthcare organisation to streamline medical equipment maintenance and management. It plays a significant role in managing preventive maintenance of all equipment, reducing the potential risk of the asset breaking down. This leads to easy management of preventive maintenance and reducing risk.

Medusa EAM Areas

With 23 years of experience in the healthcare segment, Medusa EAM has helped over 400 hospitals manage more than 15 million daily assets, resulting in improved efficiency, cost savings, and patient safety. We are continuously developing Medusa to meet the evolving needs of the healthcare industry, and we are dedicated in supporting our customers.

Summary

Medical equipment lifecycle management is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of medical equipment, from acquisition to disposal. A well-functioning lifecycle management helps ensure that medical equipment is available and safe for patients and staff. Challenges associated with medical equipment lifecycle management includes cost, maintenance and repairs, obsolescence, and regulatory and compliance. Strategies for addressing these challenges include developing a comprehensive plan and budget, investing in education and training, staying up to date with medical technology, and working closely with vendors. Leveraging and implementing a system to track and document equipment can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the medical equipment and its useful life.

Are you maximising the value of your medical equipment lifecycle through an asset management solution or an investment and procurement solution?

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