Medical Device Maintenance: 5 Things You Need To Know

Female doctor working using her laptop

Healthcare costs are skyrocketing, and more and more people are choosing to recuperate at home than at the hospital. While you still need to go to the emergency room if you need immediate medical attention, many medical doctors recommend home recoveries for their patients, especially those with long-term illnesses. In many cases, home patients need to buy their own medical devices.

Medical devices, from wheelchairs to medical-grade air compressors, are often expensive. Even if you buy second-hand medical equipment, you’ll still need to spend a few hundred dollars on repairs, maintenance, and consumables. The best way to minimize expenses to ensure your medical device lasts as long as possible.

Apart from practicing proper care, you might also want to learn basic maintenance, especially if you regularly use your device. Broken medical equipment isn’t just inconvenient, but it could also put you or your loved ones in jeopardy.

There’s not much you can do to prevent equipment failure, but proper use and care can prolong its lifespan. Here are a few tips that will help you prolong the service life of your medical devices.

1. Learn proper usage

If you want your medical devices to last for a long time, you need to treat them with care and respect. But just because smacking a machine sometimes works doesn’t mean the same is true for medical devices. Medical devices are far more sensitive than conventional electronics, and special care must be taken to prevent accidental damage.

Even if you’re not the type to smack electronics, you can still cause damage if you’re not careful. Follow usage instructions to the letter and don’t use the device for things it wasn’t designed for. For instance, attaching a cart to a wheelchair can void the warranty and strain the wheels. If you have questions about proper usage, consult the manual or call a customer service hotline.

2. Read the manual

The first thing you need to do is to read the user manual. The manual should contain detailed instructions about the proper use and maintenance of your medical device. Copies might be available from the manufacturer’s website if you bought your device second-hand.

For complex medical devices, the guidelines should establish which tasks can be performed by laymen and which has to be done by a professional technician. For instance, while you can clean the exterior or replace consumable items, you cannot run diagnostics or update the firmware. Otherwise, you risk voiding the warranty.

3. Learn basic maintenance

Some medical devices can be used and repaired by just about anyone, while others require specialized knowledge. You might not be qualified to perform certain repair and maintenance tasks. There’s always something you or your caregiver can do. In most cases, the manufacturer should specify which tasks can be performed by users, but if you’re unsure, ask the seller or the previous owner (if second-hand) about maintenance that doesn’t require much tinkering.

Learning how to perform basic maintenance allows you to immediately respond to low-level problems, saving you money and time down the line. While you can always call a technician to solve your problems, the associated costs can be prohibitively expensive to most people. Save the maintenance call for serious issues only.

4. Secure spare parts

Just because your medical device stopped working doesn’t necessarily mean it’s permanently broken. Parts break down all the time, and a thorough inspection should tell you what needs replacing. But if you don’t have spares on hand, you’re out of luck.

Make it a point to buy spare parts, especially for medical devices with lots of moving parts. That way, you can replace any faulty components right away. It also pays to check the manufacturer’s website about the product’s lifespan.

If the device is about to be discontinued, make sure to buy components before stocks run out. You don’t want to be forced to buy a new device just because spare parts are no longer available.

5. Build a relationship with your technician

Only qualified technicians can perform advanced repairs and maintenance, which is why you need to build a relationship with them. There can be times when you’ll need emergency repairs at odd hours, and you’re more likely to get good service if you have a good relationship with the technician.

A final word

There’s no shortage of problems in medical devices, but proper usage, care, and maintenance should help keep your equipment in good condition. If you run into any issues, don’t hesitate to call the manufacturer or a qualified technician.

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