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5 tips to keep your patient monitors in top shape

by Diana Bradley , Staff Writer
From the July 2012 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

Industry experts Doug Rabkin, president of Buck Eye Medical; John Gladstein, sales manager at Medical Device Depot Inc.; and Andrew Bonin, CEO of Pacific Medical LLC, dished out their tricks of the trade to help end users ensure their patient monitors (and savings) last longer.

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  • Always use the correct power supply.

  • Using an improper power source will damage the power supply and possibly other PCBs in the unit.

  • Power off the monitors when not in use.

  • When a monitor is constantly running, it generates heat, which eventually can damage the components on the circuit boards of the monitor. Constant running can also cause “screen burn,” or a lasting image on the screen.

  • Know when to replace.

  • One common issue is bad accessories, which can lead to shorts in pulse oximeters, EKG cables and old BP hoses.
    But even top-of-the-line, brand new accessories regularly need to be replaced. BP cuffs and hoses are made of rubber and should be replaced at least once a year. EKG leads are also subject to wear. They are thin and delicate and over time, can cause faulty readings. These should be replaced every six months to a year.

  • Calibrate.

  • A monitor should be calibrated at least once a year to insure proper blood pressure performance. If dealing with anesthesia monitors, end users must have a service company or facility on-hand to properly calibrate the gas analyzer. Calibration equipment is expensive and a lot of companies do not invest in this equipment.

  • Purchase new and save in the long run.

  • If an end user does not have funds available to purchase a new gas analyzer, then it is wise to purchase one that is as new as possible. A used model costs around $4,500 and if the gas module goes out, a repair runs $2,500 – pushing the cost upward of $7,000. Keep in mind, a brand new one would cost $9,000 or $10,000.

  • A Velcro strap may be the answer to damaged finger probes.

  • Finger probes for the pulse oximeter get banged around quite often, coming loose from the patient and hitting the gurney. Securing a Velcro strap on the finger probe may prevent this from occurring.

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