At a recent meeting of AAMI’s Equipment Management Committee, I proposed what I call a “Medical Equipment Serviceability Standard.” The concept is to provide a framework for medical equipment manufactures and vendors to follow when developing and marketing their product. How serviceable is it in the field? Does the company make it possible to service it at all? Do they throw barriers up when it comes to supporting equipment in-house?
Some companies provide excellent support for field service, but others don’t. With every new acquisition the question of technical support is considered, but to what degree? Are we starting from scratch every time? Has anyone noticed that ECRI evaluations don’t address serviceability concerns even though a large number of their clients are in-house clinical engineering departments?
Are companies responding more often with, “Sorry you can’t fix that; you have to send it in for repair/exchange” or “Sorry, you have to get a contract for that?” Some offer “first-look” or “shared service” contracts but at a discount that is embarrassing to the clinical engineering department. Do they ask for a PO number when you try to obtain assistance by phone? These may be considered barriers to in-house support.
If these thoughts resonate within you, tell me what you think.
Medical Equipment Serviceability: The level to which a specific medical device can be serviced by individuals or entities other than representatives or direct agents of the original equipment manufacturer.
1. Service manuals (availability)
2. Service manuals (effectiveness)
3. Access codes/passwords/dongles (availability)
4. Service training (availability)
5. Service training (effectiveness)
6. Error codes/log (availability)
7. Error codes/log (clarity/decipherability)
8. Test equipment for calibration (availability)
9. Ability to calibrate in the field
10. Access to service notes/technical updates
11. Access to web site for service information
12. Phone support (availability)
13. Bundling policies (restrictions on software upgrades and updates)
14. Contract options (favourability to field service, bundling practices)
15. Time and material services (availability – ties to service contracts)
16. Design of equipment (for serviceability in the field)
17. Granularity of replacement parts (part vs sub-assembly)
18. Accompanying vendor service personnel (how open are they?)
19. Charges for any of the above
Mike Capuano CET, CBET, CCE
Manager, Biomedical Technology Services
Hamilton Health Sciences