Have a plan to proactively manage ultrasound probe maintenance
Ultrasound probe failures always seem to happen at the most inopportune time, causing significant impact. From lost departmental revenue to patient care disruption, and often times an unplanned hit to the biomedical engineering budget, the ripple effect is substantial, but I’m sure I had your attention at, “lost revenue.” Having been in the ultrasound service business for a few decades, experience shows that approximately 70 percent of all service calls are associated with ultrasound probes. Therefore, having a proactive care and maintenance plan for probes can have a substantial effect on your department’s operating budget.
We all know that ultrasound probes are precision instruments, and having a full complement of probes is critical to delivering patient care across a variety of clinical applications. There are simple measures you can take to mitigate the risk and ensure the longevity of the probes. A good place to begin is reviewing your existing service agreements and identifying gaps that you can address with alternative service options, internal education and testing programs,or expansion of your existing service coverage.
• EDUCATE YOURSELF AND DEPARTMENT SONOGRAPHERS Work with departmental sonographers to educate them on what to look for in their everyday use of the probes. There are simple physical examinations they can do with a basic magnifying glass to look for early signs of wear-and-tear or damage. Spotting a defect early can reduce further damage from continued use, and lower the cost to repair.
• INTERNAL ROUTINE PERFORMANCE TESTING Complement your service agreement with a routine probe evaluation program that you implement through your facility’s internal biomedical engineering department. You’ll need to invest in some test equipment and training to fully implement this alternative yourself.
• ONSITE PROBE PERFORMANCE TESTING SERVICES Some independent service providers offer dedicated programs for probe evaluation testing and documented performance verification using calibrated image and Doppler phantoms, electrical leakage test equipment and the First Call Test system. These programs will verify a probe’s performance against the original equipment manufacturer’s standards. You can read our whitepaper elaborating on how to protect your investment in ultrasound probes and learn how an onsite evaluation program works: http://bit.ly/NN6Yoc.
• EXPAND SERVICE COVERAGE WITH NEWER SHARED RISK SUPPORT PROGRAMS Look for service agreements that share in the risk of failed probes (and parts), so you increase the coverage of your ultrasound equipment and gain the ability to cap costs to avoid budget expense surprises. More on that subject is here: http://bit.ly/Sh7CGT.
If you’re unsure of the best course of action for your individual facility, talk to an ultrasound service professional with expertise and experience for guidance. There are real solutions you can implement to lower the risks and protect your investment. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your department’s history of probe failures and explore appropriate options based on your individual needs.