Clear Talk About Service: Presenting the Universal Medical Technology Service Nomenclature™ (UMTSN™)

April 1, 2009 | Evaluations & Guidance


In the May 2007 Health Devices, ECRI Institute proposed the creation of a common vocabulary for describing medical equipment service activities and the findings from those activities. We called it the Universal Medical Technology Service Nomenclature, or UMTSN.

We offered that proposal because the lack of such a vocabulary has made it difficult for clinical engineers and biomedical equipment technicians to compare service activities and equipment failure data, such as by developing benchmarks. For instance, a hospital seeking to gauge the effectiveness of its clinical engineering program against programs at other facilities could be thwarted because the term “PM” (preventive maintenance) often describes somewhat different activities from one facility to another.

A standard nomenclature like the UMTSN is vital in order to create meaningful clinical engineering indicators and benchmarks for factors such as device reliability and employee productivity. Also, the nomenclature will help in making “apples to apples” comparisons between the effectiveness and costs of a hospital’s own clinical engineering efforts (see IN-HOUSE SERVICE) and those of a third-party provider (see CONTRACTED SERVICE). And it will facilitate identifying, analyzing, filing, transferring, and communicating data associated with servicing medical equipment.

We invited readers to comment on the proposed terms and definitions and to suggest the need for additional terms. Comments were relatively minor and overall very favorable. The proposed nomenclature also received a positive response when presented at the 2007 annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation.

We have incorporated many of the comments we...

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