Why does every hospital need a medical equipment maintenance programme?

Why does every hospital need a medical equipment maintenance programme?

Hospitals use various medical equipment throughout the different department pathways, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. The proper functioning of this equipment is severe for healthcare providers whose spending on maintenance is significant. Medical device maintenance is essential for an effective and safe medical facility.

Patients expect high-quality care in decent diagnostic and treatment facilities. So, evidence-based maintenance is necessary for periodic monitoring of equipment performance. This is the responsibility of biomedical or clinical engineers to make the best use of resources. Medical equipment maintenance is divided into two categories: planned maintenance and corrective maintenance.

Medical devices directly impact human lives. They require significant initial investments and frequent maintenance. A well-planned and managed maintenance program can keep medical equipment reliable, safe, and effective for diagnosis, therapy, treatments, and patient monitoring. Moreover, such a program extends equipment life and reduces equipment ownership costs.

Health facilities should take the initiative to improve six areas or dimensions of quality. According to the WHO Quality of Care (QoC) framework, healthcare should be effective, efficient, accessible, patient-centered, equitable, and safe. To ensure all of these, a sound maintenance strategy is essential. A maintenance strategy includes inspection, preventive, and corrective maintenance procedures.

Performance inspections ensure proper operation. Safety inspections ensure patient and operator safety. And preventive maintenance (PM) aims to extend equipment life and reduce failure rates. A scheduled inspection may also reveal some hidden issues. However, monitoring equipment only ensures that it is in good condition during the inspection and does not eliminate the likelihood of future failure. Most electrical and mechanical components are susceptible to failure at any time. Corrective maintenance (CM) restores a device's function and allows it to be re-used.

Components of a maintenance programmeFigure. Components of a maintenance program



Patient Care and Cost Control

Medical devices directly impact patient care and often mean the difference between life and death. A maintenance program reduces costs by reducing the need for new devices, also by keeping equipment safe and reliable.

Developing a Medical Equipment Maintenance Plan

Medical equipment plans are created and enforced by hospital administrators. The equipment management policy and procedure should include:

  • Create a register of all medical equipment used in the facility
  • Obtain manufacturers recommendations for maintenance
  • Confirm the credentials of companies and individuals tasked with maintaining equipment
  • Take note of high-risk equipment that requires 100 percent compliance.
  • Create procedures for inspection
  • Aim to extend the life of medical equipment and reduce failures with preventative measures
  • Equipment function can be restored with corrective maintenance.

Implementing a Medical Equipment Maintenance Plan

An effective maintenance plan has three tiers – planning, management, and implementation. Proper operation of the program is key to ensuring ideal equipment functionality.


When creating a maintenance management plan, financial costs, human resources, and physical logistics must all be considered. When putting a plan in place, these factors must be managed. So those finances are balanced, and resources are delegated in order of priority.


The management department can continuously examine how well sound plan elements are working.


Administrative and management departments must collaborate and communicate seamlessly once a plan has been confirmed and allocated resources. As a result, all aspects will be implemented in a timely and adequate manner.

Preventative and Corrective Maintenance

The hospital must decide whether corrective and preventative maintenance is performed by in-house engineers or outsourced service engineers.

All details can be found in the medical equipment maintenance programme overview - WHO Medical device technical series.

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A healthcare setup must have

  • A medical equipment maintenance plan
  • Inventory management
  • A preventive maintenance timetable for every device
  • Simplifying workflows
  • Maintaining compliance with national and international guidelines

Specific test equipment and devices are required for a medical device maintenance program. (WHO Medical device technical series: Medical equipment maintenance program overview, Appendix F; 2011)

­­Test equipment per medical device category 

Medical device category

Test equipment required

Electrosurgical units

Radiofrequency electrosurgical analyzer


Defibrillator analyzer

All electrical equipment

Electrical safety analyzer

Anaesthesia machines, ventilators

Test lung

Anaesthesia machines, ventilators

Ventilation analyzer

Heart-lung machines, hyper/hypothermia machines, warming
pad pumps, dialysis machines

Fluid flow meter

Anaesthesia machines, ventilators, CO2 insufflators, vacuum regulators, air-O2 blenders, lasers

Gas flowmeters

Physiological monitors, intra-aortic balloon pumps, defibrillators, EEG machines, EKG machines

Physiological simulators

ICU monitors, EKG machines

Arrhythmia simulators

IV pump, surgical irrigation pump

Graduated cylinder

Radiographic and fluoroscopic equipment

Ionization chamber/radiation analyzer/kVp meter

Surgical and ophthalmic lasers

Laser power meter/laser thermal imaging plates

Most electronic equipment

Multimeter/oscilloscope/function generator

Radiographic, mammography, ultrasound, CT, MR


Air-O2 blenders, anaesthesia machines, medical gas systems

Oxygen analyzer


Pacemaker analyzer

Scales, traction units

Scales, spring scale, floor scale, balance, weights

Ventilators, heart-lung machine, anesthesia machine

Pneumatic tester, pneumatic flow meter

Medical gas systems, insufflators, lasers, hemodialysis machines, suction regulators

Pressure meter

Incubators, infant warmers, laboratory ovens

Temperature probe/thermometers

Infusion pumps, traction units



Photo or contact tachometer

Electrical outlets

Receptacle testers

Isolated power systems

Isolated power tester

Non-invasive blood pressure monitors

Non-invasive blood pressure simulator

Dialysis machine

pH/conductivity meter


Variable resistance box, variable capacitance box


ISO 13485

ISO 13485 is a global standard that establishes regulations for the medical device industry. This standard was developed to be applied by companies across the medical device life cycle, from manufacturing to post-production, including decommissioning and disposal. ISO 13485 can, however, be used by third parties, such as accreditation bodies, to aid in the certification process. Organizations can use ISO 13485 as a tool to design and maintain efficient operations. This standard will assist organizations seeking continual development by allowing them to deliver safe and competent medical equipment.


Providing high-quality medical care requires effective resource management and planning. Achieving this requires a compromise between the price of purchasing new equipment and the costs of maintaining it. A clear policy in the field, technical direction, and practical tools for maintaining the operational parameters of pre-function are all required for proper usage and maintenance of medical equipment. It will be feasible to considerably increase the quality of the medical act and the efficiency of such a service by employing functioning medical equipment. Consistent management methods in this area will improve healthcare efficiency.

Pico Labs Limited can help with any medical equipment maintenance needs you may have. We provide cost-effective services delivered by specialists who are technically qualified and trained for medical device maintenance.