Health Technology Procurement - Influenced by Lifecycle Experience:

Keys to avoid pitfalls (High Maintenance cost – “black holes”) in remote HEALThCARE facility management

By “remote” in this instance the meaning should be defined as any facility geographically located in an environment more than a reasonable distance from the closest support kernel, i.e. a hospital in rural Eastern Cape located more than a 150km from the closest city where support is available.

Environment

Understanding the environment in which your facility is located is paramount to the pre planning phase of health technology procurement. Numerous external factors have to be evaluated other than just the estate (buildings) and facilities itself.

A few questions to be asked: 

  1. What is the water quality like? Will it create problems with chemical build-up on equipment that requires water to operate? i.e.. Dental Equipment, Laboratory equipment, Boilers, Autoclaves etc..
  2. Is the area prone to electrical storms? Will I be required to protect high value assets like air handlers fitted to hospital roofs, Digital imaging and radiology devices, with External or additional voltage regulation and is this kind of equipment freely available in the near support infrastructure?
  3. External Soft Facility Services.. What are the offset requirements for controlled substance disposal like Laboratory and X-Ray reagents in the area? Will there be a requirement of evaluation for dry Chemistry and Haematology devices against “wet” types? Will it be better to opt for Digital rather than analogue Radiology Devices?
  4. What about corrosion effects from weather affected and coastal regions… Do I have to plan for stainless steel fasteners on my devices or will normal metal fasteners be sufficient?

These are only a few nuances that come to mind in looking after future maintenance budgets. It stresses the importance of input on procurement from a Clinical / Biomedical engineering perspective with regards to prior evaluation of medical devices before purchase.

Consideration on environmental factors

The supplier / Manufacturer can only quote on devices that he / she is asked to quote on. Ultimately they believe in their products to be able to do the job but it isn’t necessarily suited for your facility and or the geographical location. It may well be adequate for a particular facility in terms of geographical, environmental and meteorological conditions whereas a similar facility in another location may experience totally different conditions which can have a totally different impact on the equipment lifecycle and operational “Up-Time” consistency.



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