How Often Should You Check Your Laboratory Equipment?
This seems like a simple question; however, there are many factors to consider with regard to your laboratory instrumentation. To determine how frequently you “check” your lab equipment, consider your answers to these 4 questions:
- How complex or sensitive is the piece of laboratory equipment?
- Is the laboratory instrument used on a regular basis?
- How many different technicians are using the same unit?
- Do your laboratory technicians perform daily maintenance on your laboratory units?
How complex or sensitive is the piece of laboratory equipment?
Complex pieces of laboratory equipment require a great deal of care. First, you need to make sure that your technicians are fully trained on how to operate and maintain the unit. Second, these types of instruments usually have intricate parts and pieces that need to be kept in alignment, cleaned and treated with care. Third, a daily regimen of maintenance that is documented and signed off on is always a good idea with complex laboratory equipment.
Is the laboratory instrument used on a regular basis?
If your laboratory is a high volume lab processing multiple patient specimens a day, and your laboratory equipment is being used a great deal, the frequency that your laboratory equipment will need maintenance performed on it is greater. There is some daily cleaning and maintenance that should be done; however, high volume laboratories should have their laboratory equipment/instrumentation receive professional preventative maintenance every 3-6 months depending on their volume. Think of it this way; the more you drive your car, the more frequently you have to change your oil.
How many different technicians are using the same unit?
Multiple users on a piece of laboratory equipment can be tough on an instrument. Everyone works differently and it is human nature for a laboratory technician to adjust a machine to function and adapt to their work style. These continually adjustments can wear on a laboratory instrument. If your laboratory equipment is highly used by multiple technicians, you should consider not only daily maintenance but preventative maintenance conducted every 3 to 6 months by a trained laboratory equipment service company.
Do your laboratory technicians perform daily maintenance on your laboratory units?
Just like anything we own, a kitchen appliance or an automobile, how we take off an item has a direct impact on how well it functions and how long it lasts. Laboratory equipment is no different. If you want your laboratory instrumentation to last, reduce downtime and service costs, it is advised to have a procedure for daily maintenance of your laboratory units. However, daily maintenance does not omit the requirement for at least yearly preventative maintenance by a laboratory equipment service company trained on the laboratory instrumentation in your lab. Having a professional service technician do an annual preventative maintenance on all of your laboratory equipment including ancillary laboratory instrumentation is key to prolonging the life of your laboratory equipment and decreasing your downtime and service costs.
As you can see there are several factors that determine how often you should check your lab equipment. The important thing to remember is that you need to do daily maintenance on highly used lab instruments, weekly maintenance on intermittently used lab equipment, and yearly professionally performed preventative maintenance on all of your lab equipment.
Since 2002, Medical Equipment Source has been providing laboratory equipment services to private practices and independent laboratories across the country and the world, empowering them to run more efficiently while providing better patient outcomes.
From laboratory setups to lap equipment maintenance to consulting contracts, Medical Equipment Source provides a comprehensive range of solutions to physicians and practice managers looking to grow their business by offering their own in-house lab services. Medical Equipment Source provides help with lab and exam room furnishings, consumables, repair services, lab equipment and layout, and more.
Today, Medical Equipment Source is an authority in the physician-owned lab market, with clients in 49 states and 30 countries. Those clients range from physicians who have launched their own labs to lab technicians who have built their own spaces as well as hospitals, universities and reference laboratories.