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By Anne Reed, BS
Instruments,cables, scopes, containers, power pieces, and more. It's a huge variety ofequipment that requires constant attention to keep it all functioning soundly.The typical Central Sterile Processing (CS) department is charged with theresponsibility to monitor and maintain thousands of different items used insurgery, and it's a task that can drive any conscientious manager todistraction.
Among the myriad of decontamination and sterilization duties alreadyincumbent upon a busy CS director, he or she must proactively oversee a systemof preventive maintenance that anticipates problems and stops them before theygrow into serious issues.
The choice of one's repair vendor is every bit as important as the choice ofvendors for expensive capital equipment purchases, but the options need to beexamined closely, because the levels of expertise and integrity differ greatlyamong the many repair vendors in the industry today. With surgical equipmentinventories averaging in the millions of dollars, and replacement costs on therise, supervisors are obliged to ensure these assets are protected. It is afact, though, that instrument and equipment repair is an emerging market. Theindustry is flush with inexperienced and/or untrained technicians who canrepresent a serious threat to the life of one's equipment. To avoid problems,insist that your repair vendor meet a series of minimum standards
Minimum Standards Checklist for All Repair Vendors
Additional Checklist for On-Location Instrument Repair Vendors
Making Your Repair Responsibilities Easier
Establish a trusting relationship with a well-trained surgicalequipment/instrument specialist who understands your expectations. You can enjoya face-to-face relationship with the person who actually performs the repairs,and quality control issues can be handled on the spot.
It's important to recognize that the proper repair of surgical instrumentsand equipment requires skill, experience, and a significant capital investment.Because your inventory is too expensive to gamble with, investigate carefullythe repair vendor you empower to maintain it. A poor choice can cost you time,money, and needless frustration. A sound choice, on the other hand, should bringyou the peace of mind of knowing that your equipment is always being servicedand maintained correctly.
Anne Reed is vice president of Mobile Instrument Service and Repair, Inc.,in Bellefontaine, Ohio.