When it comes to imaging devices, little things go a long way. And not always in the right direction. A little slip of the hands could cause trauma to a TEE probe, and according to years of data from first-hand experience and researching common failures, trauma is one of the leading reasons for costly repair services. In fact, many believe that “biting” is one of the primary causes of traumatic damage, yet research conducted by our Centers of Excellence show that poor transportation practices and poor set-up practices are a much higher cause. Additionally, the process of disinfecting a transducer with traumatic damage, such as a hole in the bending rubber or crack in the distal tip, is one of the primary causes of irreparable catastrophic damage.
Research also shows that many of the little things that lead to big repairs are easily avoidable by training staff in key processes for handling, cleaning and storing. Repairs and replacements can add up fast. Consider the following typical costs you could incur:
By implementing best practices and training staff on proper execution, facilities of all sizes can drastically reduce their cost of operations and ownership for TEE and other types of probes. For example, our clinical experts pioneered TEE care and handling assessments as a means to assist customers with failure prevention. Our pilot customer “owned 10-TEE transducers, yet experienced 28 catastrophic failures stemming from trauma and gross fluid invasion in a single year.” By modifying key steps in cross-functional processes, this customer achieved the following results:
As a 20-year veteran within the clinical environment, 15 years within probe and coil repair and 18 years of teaching biomedical engineering technology at Penn State University, I’ve developed an 18-point process guide to help facilities avoid those little “slip ups” that can take your TEE probe down and escalate your budget with costly, often avoidable, repairs.
Here are a few of the steps that have helped cut costs and failures in half:
Determine a Benchmark and Starting Point:
Develop a Plan:
Act, Monitor and Repeat:
Report and Analyze:
The money saved by eliminating several catastrophic failures with the above steps can often justify the expense of one employee to fully manage this process. With over 20 plus years, I’ve noticed that following these tips can potentially save facilities 50% or more in TEE probe maintenance costs, regardless of size and patient volume.
For more suggestions or to set up a time for my 18-point Process Analysis for your facility, email me at email@example.com.
Ted Lucidi, CBET, is a Customer Experience and Clinical Insights specialist at Innovatus Imaging.
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