TechNation | Biomed 101: Clinical Safety Begins with Equipment Cleanliness, Maintenance Program

By Dave Francoeur

Where is it?
Is it being used?
Is it broken?
Is it clean?

Every day, hospital clinical staff waste valuable time asking these questions about portable clinical devices – questions an established clinical equipment maintenance program would render moot, because staff would have what they need when they need it.

Without a clinical equipment cleanliness and maintenance program in place that improves access to hygienic, operable portable clinical devices, staff can spend up to 15 minutes per device searching for missing equipment, room by room, floor by floor. Once they find what they’re looking for, staff then have to determine whether the device is working and whether it’s clean. If it’s not working, or if it’s not clean, staff either have to search for another device, or take the time to properly prepare the one they found for patient use. All the while, the patient is waiting. The result? Inefficient processes. Dissatisfied patients. And frustrated staff.

Obviously clean equipment is essential to infection prevention in the medical environment as well. From wheelchairs and stretchers to infusion pumps and pulse oximeters, cleanliness is the number one priority. Clean equipment is a critical component of preventing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which are a significant risk to patient health and safety. HAIs, many of which are preventable, are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and billions of dollars of medical expenses every year. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1 in 31 patients daily in the U.S. has at least one HAI.

Biomed 101: Clinical Safety Begins with Equipment Cleanliness, Maintenance Program | TechNation

The Basics: Clinical Equipment Maintenance Programs

Clinical equipment maintenance programs ensure at-the-ready access to clean, operable portable clinical devices using one of three methodologies:

  1. Forward stocking: Staff access devices in a self-serve setup, based on established PAR levels;
  2. Central stocking: Staff request delivery of devices from a central location, from which devices are dispatched as needed;
  3. Hybrid stocking: Staff have self-serve access as well as the availability of a central location from which devices are dispatched. More…