Not since the infamous multiple outlet strip debacle from CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) has the HTM community been so confused about how to do their job. Just when we thought we had it figured out, a well-meaning but ill-informed federal agency screws us up again.
For over 25 years, we have been using risk-based criteria to modify manufacturer maintenance suggestions to meet the needs of the real world. The standardized risk-based systems have been refined and accepted by the Joint Commission and every other agency (except CMS). Using these procedures, the HTM community has adjusted the procedures which the manufacturers have written BEFORE the equipment is placed into everyday use in hospitals. We either increase or decrease inspection frequencies, and either add or omit steps in the inspection process, based upon our real-world experience as medical equipment maintenance professionals.
In this process, we have saved our employers, our hospitals and our patients millions of dollars in unnecessary costs. It should also be noted that there have been no increases in costs, associated either with equipment maintenance costs or liability to patients. Because of our careful and conservative approach to modifying these procedures, we have only had positive results for all stakeholders.
But, I guess CMS, in their infinite wisdom (and close ties with the manufacturers) must know more than the collective HTM community’s 40 years of experience.
But I digress. Since it has been decreed, we must comply with their edict. But how? (I am going to address ultrasound machines here, because that is what my company has unequalled expertise in, and where my knowledge comes from). There are over 70 different makes and models of ultrasound machines in health care today. Each manufacturer has different inspection standards and inspection intervals for each model. Some state that there is NEVER a reason to inspect the unit. Some are inspected every 6 months. Some do only safety testing. Some require inspection of all internal components. Some require testing all transducers. How is the HTM manager or Imaging Engineer or Ultrasound Service Engineer supposed to compile the current service literature, extract the specifics of each model, and incorporate them into their in-house maintenance program? It would be nearly impossible.
Well, let me share a simple solution for you that gets you in instant compliance with all manufacturer and CMS requirements almost instantly.
Introducing the GMI Diagnostic Ultrasound Preventive Maintenance Guidelines.
Introduced at AAMI in Denver, this 14-page document combines the most rigorous PM procedures and intervals from every current model and manufacturer of diagnostic ultrasound. You can apply the same PM procedure and inspection interval to every ultrasound machine in your facility. And you will be in full compliance with all CMS and manufacturer PM requirements. All in one easy step.
To summarize, we have set the inspection interval at 6 months. This meets or exceeds the interval for every model or ultrasound.
We have included PM sections for Visual Inspection of the System and each transducer, Review of onboard diagnostics, System cleaning, System disassembly (and cleaning), System reassembly, Imaging testing, Leakage testing, and Completion of a certification report. Copies of the blank Certification Report are available from GMI in .pdf format.
All this research and documentation is provided for free from Global Medical Imaging (GMI) as a service to the HTM community. If you desire a copy of the guidelines and the Certification Report, please make the request at the GMI website – www.GMI3.com .
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