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When and how to perform reventative maintenance (PM) may seem like a straight-forward topic; however, it can be very confusing.
Let’s begin by looking at what procedures the OEM requires during a PM and at what intervals. Which OEM, you may ask? That is the question as the PM procedures and intervals will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Each manufacturer has specific tests and procedures that are recommended to be completed during a PM. The intervals will also vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as whether the PM is suggested or mandatory. As an example, GE Healthcare states that for its premier platforms (the Logiq E9 and Vivid E9) no PM inspections are mandatory and defers to the customer’s discretion for PM frequency.
So, what is the PM frequency of your in-house program? This is often dictated by accreditation organizations such as the American College of Radiology (ACR) which mandates semi-annual PMs on all ultrasound systems within an accredited department. Since there are many departments within a facility that utilize ultrasound (OB, labor and delivery, urology, cardiology, vascular, radiology, breast centers, etc.), it is imperative that the systems within accredited departments are inspected twice per year using the ACR standards and tests.
We recommend using a standard PM procedure that encompasses all the safety and performance tests of the OEMs as well as ACR when performing PMs to eliminate any margin for error and maintain uniformity. We also recommend performing two PMs per year on all ultrasound systems to ensure safety, performance, reliability and compliance. These PMs take around two hours and will satisfy all accreditation organization’s standards.
A standard PM will consist of cleaning, testing and inspection. You will want to test and inspect all portions of the systems including the transducers. ACR standards include anything that can touch a patient.
Inspecting the system
Look at all portions of the system and transducers for any cracks, discoloration, loose hardware and possible cuts/breaks in the cable housing. Document anything out of the ordinary. Cables are extremely important as a bad cable can lead to a misdiagnosis.
Cleaning the system
Begin by using only approved cleaners for the plastic and the LCD panels. When performing a PM, you will want to remove cosmetics that allow access to the card cage and back end processor. You will want to vacuum all the dust form the cards in the system. Be sure to use an approved electronics vacuum to prevent any static buildup from damaging the cards. Also, use extreme care when removing and reinserting the cards to ensure that no pins are bent.
This is one of the most critical parts of the PM. Not only are you checking to ensure that the system is functioning correctly, you are checking to see what the electrical leakage is on the system. Use an approved and calibrated meter for these steps. Remember to document all the results. ACR can randomly check to insure these steps are done.
For more ultrasound technical tips and tricks, or to view technical support videos visit www.conquestimaging.com. Conquest Imaging Technical Support is available 24/7/365 at 866-900-9404.
Mike Davis is a Technical Support Specialist at Conquest Imaging.
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