Do you need help fixing medical devices or hospital equipment?
“People helping People” can help repair devices remotely.
Did you know that much of the donated medical equipment to developing countries is unusable? The devices might very well arrive in good working condition, but after a while, the device breaks and no one is available to fix it. Many health clinics are lucky to have a healthcare professional, much less a biomedical equipment technician. So what happens? The devices form a scrapheap of dead hospital equipment. This is very frustrating to health care workers trying their best to heal the sick.
This article is meant to inform of the resources available now to help you or others repair defective medical devices. Listed below are some resources, ranging from equipment manuals to possible contacts for more service or user information.
In addition, we have the technology now to facilitate “people helping people” fix medical devices or hospital equipment, remotely.
· Healthcare workers can now use Social Media to announce they need help fixing a specific device. Then, people with knowledge and/or experience could respond and help them fix it remotely. Some examples of Social Media are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. “Groups” could be formed within Social Media sites to facilitate the sharing of information and resources on Using, Repairing, and/or Maintaining Biomedical Equipment.
· Mobile phones and other connectivity tools could allow a “Virtual Service Call”. Even someone with limited repair knowledge could be guided via voice/text to perform maintenance and repair. Video Conferencing and/or Audio Teleconferencing with multiple resources, worldwide, could allow collaboration to achieve an equipment repair and/or training.
· The devices could be remotely, and simultaneously on-site, be accessed, diagnosed, and possibly serviced, via USB or other connection means.
· More Service, Maintenance, and User’s manuals could be available to the public online, as some are now.
· Basic diagnostic, service, and maintenance skills could be taught free of charge online to anyone interested. Online training, recorded online videos, etc. could teach the basics of repair to most anyone.
· We now have the technology available to facilitate medical device repair and/or training via a remote location.
· Medical Devices no longer need to be discarded just because no one can fix them on-site.
· The very basics of biomedical equipment repair can be taught remotely. In addition, those with limited repair experience can be guided from a remote location.
For more information:
· Medical Equipment Donated to Developing Nations Usually Ends Up on the Junk Heap – “Medical equipment donations enable hospitals in developing countries to get their hands on expensive and much-needed technology. However, there is a growing concern that those donations do more harm than good. Hallways and closets often become cluttered with unused or broken-down equipment for which locals lack parts or training in how to make repairs.”
· Engineering World Health – “Provides students from around the world with the life-changing educational experience of repairing vital medical equipment in the world's most resource-poor communities. In collaboration with local partners in Asia, Africa, and Central America, creates locally sustainable training programs for biomedical engineering technicians (BMETs).”
· Frank’s Hospital Workshop – “I hope that this website can be a little support to all biomedical technicians in developing countries. Here you find all the documents about biomedical technology I have collected, all the user and service manuals I have, all training courses that I have developed and have held.”
· Biomedical Engineering Website by Reza Najafi – “This website is designed to assist Clinical / Biomedical Engineers to find manuals and information about Medical Equipment.”
· International Medical Equipment Collaborative – “Used equipment is repaired as needed by skilled technical volunteers, many of whom are retired electrical engineers and medical technicians.”
· MedWrench.com – “MedWrench.com is a resource and sharing network for users of medical equipment. You can get answers, find information and read what others think about the equipment they use. It is free to join and easy to keep informed.”
· Medical equipment partnerships programme – “As part of the Health Partnerships Scheme (HPS), THET is running a medical equipment partnerships programme which funds five partnership projects between UK and low-income country partner institutions to improve the maintenance and management of medical equipment within developing country institutions.”
· BMETForum.com – “This is the place to connect with biomedical equipment technicians, clinical engineers, and other healthcare technology management professionals.”
· Medical Equipment Tele- and Condition-Based Maintenance with Enhanced Remote Diagnostic Access (RDA) and Computer Vision – “The current medical equipment maintenance model is “on site and physical”, rather than “remote and virtual”. There is no comprehensive or standardized remote diagnostic access (RDA) capability for biomedical technicians to troubleshoot and resolve problems remotely and securely. Additionally, the current operations model is “reactive”, rather than “proactive”, in terms of early problem detection and prevention. The lack of visibility to the health of medical equipment and the need to be on site for problem resolution, coupled with frequent rotations and scarcity of medical equipment technicians, continue to cause considerable downtime of critical medical equipment densities and is detrimental to the health care support to our war fighters.”
· Maintenance and repair of laboratory, diagnostic imaging, and hospital equipment, World Health Organization, 1994 – “A practical guide to the maintenance and repair of essential laboratory and hospital equipment. Intended for use in institutions that do not have specially trained technicians or engineers, the book responds to the situation, frequently seen in developing countries, where much of the equipment is imported and adequate information on maintenance and repair is rarely provided by suppliers. With these special needs in mind, the manual aims to help staff using specific types of equipment to understand basic principles of construction and operation, adopt good working practices, avoid common errors, perform routine maintenance, and spot the early signs of defects or deterioration. Advice on equipment repair concentrates on common causes of problems that can be solved without expertise in engineering.”
Disclaimer – This article is for information only and is not medical or legal advice.