There’s a whole range of businesses who deal with and use medical equipment every day, from dentists to GP’s, tattooists and nursing homes. There’s an even greater amount of people who are subjected to this medical equipment every day, for diagnosis, treatment and assistance.
This is why it is incredibly important from a moral, technological, medical and legal standpoint that all medical equipment is in full working order, safe to use, and calibrated to the highest level of accuracy.
What is Medical Equipment Testing & Calibration?
Medical Equipment Testing & Calibration is the act of ensuring that all medical equipment is in full working order, and is calibrated to a known standard. This is to ensure that the reading/result/functionality of the item is accurate at the point of delivery to a patient. It is your responsibility to ensure that your medical equipment is in full working order and maintained, through regular medical device testing.
MHRA Guidelines on managing medical devices states:
“A device management procedure will help to ensure that risks associated with the use of medical devices will be minimised.”
In the same way that you wouldn’t trust going past a speed camera in a car that has a dodgy speedometer, you shouldn’t conduct medical diagnosis on patients or clients using equipment that has not been calibrated.
When should you have your equipment calibrated & tested?
You should seek to have your medical equipment tested and calibrated when:
- You purchase a new or second-hand instrument, since you cannot be sure that just because it’s new, it is properly calibrated.
- When a specific time period is elapsed, since not every piece of equipment lasts as long as others.
- When a specific amount of usage (or hours used) has elapsed, for instance it may be wise to test a defibrillator every time it is used.
- When an instrument has had a shock or vibration which could have knocked it out of sync. This is especially important in portable devices, or new devices that might have been shipped or travelled long distances.
- Whenever observations appear questionable. Common sense comes into play with this – if it looks damaged or like it’s giving off readings, there’s a good chance it could be.
Why is it important?
You have a responsibility to your patients and clients to ensure that your equipment is safe, accurate and reliable at the point of use. As if this wasn’t a compelling enough reason to keep your medical equipment maintained, it’s included in a number of laws, controlling the standard of equipment. These include:
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), which states that any equipment used by an employee at work must be maintained so that it remains safe.
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), placing duties on employers and equipment providers who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment.
And of course, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Who should take out this service?
There are a whole host of businesses who use some sort of medical equipment, with the obvious being:
- Care homes
- Clinics and more
But, there are many businesses that people, including those within them, often overlook when it comes to getting their equipment tested and calibrated. Some of the lesser known places that have medical equipment include tattooists, health clubs, as well as any office or business with a defibrillator (of which there are an ever increasing number).
If you or your business use any sort of medical equipment, you should have it tested and calibrated at regular intervals.
What should the service include?
Ideally the Testing and Calibration service should go as follows:
- Book an engineer to come and visit your premises, and specify with them exactly what equipment you want testing first.
- Each piece of equipment is tested and calibrated to a high standard.
- The items receive a sticker, showing either a pass or a fail, and test certificates are completed for customers files.
- Asset labels can also be added to products, to help build an electronic asset register.
Some of the products we cover:
- Body fat monitor
- BP monitor (including ABPM)
- Cautery centrifuge
- CO meter (smokerlyzer)
- Couch (hydraulic / electric)
- Ear syringe
- Hearing loop
- Height measure
- Otoscope / Auroscope
- Oxygen regulator / flowmeter
- Pulse oximeter
- Suction pump / aspirator
- Syringe driver / feed pump
- Thermometer (all types)
- Ultrasonic cleaners
- Vision screening