At Your Service: The Ins and Outs of Servicing Equipment In-House
June 1, 2010 | Evaluations & Guidance
Who should service your computed tomography systems? Should it be the same people who service your infusion pumps? Your critical care beds? Your mobile C-arms?
From time to time, you may need to reexamine your servicing arrangements and decide whether a particular category of equipment should be serviced by in-house personnel, the original equipment manufacturer, or a third party such as an independent service organization. This article, the first of three about servicing options, explains the factors you need to consider when deciding whether to service equipment in-house. 1 (See “What’s Your Service Plan?” for a brief discussion of the other options and some considerations when developing a servicing strategy for your hospital. )
In-house service can offer significant advantages, possibly including cost savings and the immediate availability of service technicians to troubleshoot and repair equipment and to provide prompt, ongoing support for clinical personnel. Moreover, many reports of equipment problems are actually use errors, and having at least a minimal level of in-house support to diagnose these issues can help eliminate unnecessary service calls and the associated delays and cost.
At the same time, providing in-house servicing means maintaining a clinical (biomedical) engineering department, and that requires a continuing institutional commitment—in the form of, for example, proper training, equipment, space, management, possibly a parts inventory investment, and the provision of on-call and backup coverage. Furthermore, a manufacturer’s unwillingness to support in-house servicing efforts may completely thwart any attempt...