Sponsored by Innovatus Imaging
The highest financial and patient care impact in the ultrasound modality is the continual need to repair and replace Transesophageal Echocardiography or TEE probes. Knowing how to identify potentially catastrophic issues and maintain them before they fail is critical for efficient operations, patient safety and stakeholder satisfaction.
After repairing more than 40,000 TEE probes throughout our lineage, Innovatus Imaging has extensive knowledge and proven processes for identifying points of wear, modes of failure, and model-specific characteristics and timelines in which anticipated damage most often occurs. Our analysis has helped to identify failure rates across the most popular makes and models, timelines for replacing parts before they start to fail and best practices for sustainable repairs that extend the life of each device.
SafeTEE is a program offered by Innovatus Imaging designed to help HTM personnel, and more importantly imaging departments, offset the costs of owning, operating and supporting TEE transducers. Exclusive to Innovatus Imaging, SafeTEE has been built around nearly 40 years of data from proprietary research and engineering.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the high-failure components of TEE probes. The bending rubber is one component on a TEE probe that, if damaged, can result in costly catastrophic failures, some of which would be beyond repair. Our data has shown that bending rubbers become more brittle, and more apt to perforate, after 100-150 cleaning cycles. For some facilities, this interval would span as little as 90 days, where others may span one year. Addressing the bending rubber during a routine preventive maintenance may reduce the risk of a costly catastrophic event.
Over time, or with improper use or inadequate training, the articulation’s range of motion can become reduced. To overcome this, inexperienced users often exert greater force on the articulation knobs, which in-turn can result in a mechanical failure. For this reason, teaching facilities often experience higher rates of articulation failures than non-teaching facilities. Addressing the range of motion during an annual PM may reduce the opportunity for a hard failure.
At its core, SafeTEE preventive maintenance services address issues that could lead to catastrophic and permanent failures before the damage occurs. For TEE probes, a PM consists of replacing high-failure components, resealing various areas of potential fluid intrusion, critical adjustments for proper operation, and overall testing for safe and effective operation as the OEM intended. The Innovatus team also supplies a full diagnostic report so clients can compare their probe’s overall physical condition, performance and safety to that of a new probe. It’s recommended that at a minimum, each TEE probe would be sent in for maintenance annually. For facilities that have high utilization, a more aggressive schedule would be recommended. The preventive work could be performed in a couple of days as part of our exclusive RapidRepair program.
The reality is that addressing probe failures through preventive maintenance is only one part of a comprehensive plan that has been proven to significantly reduce service spend on ultrasound probes. Complementing the SafeTEE PM program are webinars, in-house training sessions, and tools designed to identify and implement process improvements. The clinical experts at Innovatus have crafted educational sessions that show end-users how to identify early warning signs that may lead to costly failures. More importantly, we assist users with implementing industry best-practices designed to minimize preventable damage. SafeTEE is designed to address probe failures at the core through root cause analysis and process improvements. This new and one-of-a-kind program delivers results through preventive maintenance, end-user education and process improvement.
The facility which piloted this program owned 10 TEE probes yet experienced 28 catastrophic failures in a single year. After implementing only a few industry-best practices, the customer experienced immediate results that lead to a 50% decrease in failure rates in the first year alone. The second year resulted in an additional 31% failure rate reduction. Overall, a 44% year-over-year reduction in costs were realized in a three-year period. We’ve performed over 100 in-person sessions since the pilot, and most recently, we’ve created a virtual version of the process so that clients can perform this process themselves in conjunction with our experts.
Innovatus Imaging is not just in the business of restoring ultrasound probes and MRI coils to OEM form, fit and function, we are in the business of lowering health care costs for imaging departments and ultimately patients. Our goal is to improve access to critical diagnostic services by assuring the required devices are available when needed, operating as intended, and at costs that are reasonable.
For more information about SafeTEE, please reach out to Ted Lucidi at TedL@innovatusimaging.com or visit www.innovatusimaging.com/safetee.
– Matt Tomory is the vice president of sales and marketing at Innovatus Imaging.
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