Coronavirus has revealed the great disparity in the availability of life-saving medical equipment in different regions of the world.
The current pandemic has exacerbated the already dire problem of breaking supply chains and stimulating the hoarding of goods and equipment among those who can afford them.
Health equipment is a very important supporting factor in the implementation of health services, both in hospitals and in service facilities other than health.
Therefore the condition and function of medical equipment must be good and can support health service. To achieve this condition, proper and integrated equipment management is needed including planning, procurement, utilization to maintenance.
A brief review of concrete equipment problems and various situations encountered in hospitals enabled them to be grouped under the following headings:
1. The choice and purchase of medical devices
The analysis of the current situation in hospitals and the general opinion prove that there is a gap in the level of information and expertise when choosing and the purchase of medical equipment and this is why health care equipment planners are needed.
The main consequences are illustrated by the following points:
- Purchase of more or less useful devices following a poor match between real needs and the chosen equipment. The definition of these needs can be distorted by sales pressure or the attractiveness of new devices.
- More or less judicious choice, given the lack of relevant information or the difficulty of interpreting information which is often very technical and off-putting.
- Difficulty of technical assessment of the equipment from established standards, or even absence of these.
- Purchase of defective devices caused by insufficient analysis and lack of trial periods before purchase.
- Choice of devices not suited to the need due to faulty communication between health professionals (users) and those responsible for acquisitions. The health professional is forced to adjust his needs to the possibilities of the equipment, whereas the reverse would be more desirable.
- Installation and operating costs not provided for in the financial acquisition package due to a lack of information from the companies.
- Bad purchase contracts, for lack of precise and complete information on the quality of the products and the reputation of the companies.
2. The operation of medical devices:
Several suppliers of medical devices do not provide sufficient information on the manufacture, modes of use and maintenance of their equipment, which can lead to poor or under use of the equipment, and here you need to contact hospital planners and medical equipment consultants.
Some devices are difficult to adapt to other existing systems.
The lack of robustness of a device can lead to major or frequent breakage, even when the device is subjected to a normal work load.
The incompatibility between the various components of a system can cause several waiting times, slowing down the production and the performances of the whole.
The training offered by manufacturers on the use of their devices is often overlooked or incomplete and generally only covers basic handling, ignoring the essential technical and safety aspects.
The majority of establishments visited do not systematically offer training, retraining or advanced training sessions for users of medical devices.