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Reinventing the biomed's equipment testing toolkit

John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | May 05, 2016
HTM Parts And Service
From the May 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

David Dallaire, vice president of sales and marketing at Acertara Acoustic Labs in Boulder, Colorado, which prototypes and manufactures specialty medical probes, echoes the sentiments of other manufacturers and biomeds. With customers focusing more than ever on complying with accrediting bodies and looking for cost-saving opportunities, his company is hoping to meet their needs. “All of our test equipment is designed to complement each other and reports can be integrated into a centralized database from which a single report can be produced,” Dallaire says. “We have long known that one in four probes on the market will have image degradation that cannot be identified through conventional testing.”

Acertara’s advanced test equipment, such as Aureon technology and its Active-Z device, identifies probes with image degradation. Dallaire says this alerts buyers to probes that need to be rejected before the user becomes responsible for the cost of a probe that never should have been sold to them in the first place.

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ECRI’s Gaev describes this kind of verification as among the most important functions in medical device testing. “Typically, the health technology department performs that type of check when equipment is received by the hospital, which is called an incoming inspection, and after a major repair. It is usually part of the PM procedures,” he says. “That ’pre-use’ check has shown to be a very effective method to ensure that equipment is safe to use on patients.”

Ken O’Day, vice president of sales and marketing at BC Group International in St. Charles, Missouri, makers of biomedical test and measurement equipment, notes that customers want comprehensive testing devices that can perform multiple tasks and be upgraded as demands change. “Nearly all of our devices have remote communication available,” he says. “This allows them to be integrated to work together for data collection and test automation. We are currently working on a software package that will do this, as well as add compatibility for test equipment from all manufacturers.

“We provide many choices for each modality so customers can purchase only what they need,” he says. “When possible, we provide a path so the customer can take their existing model and have it upgraded to the latest version available.”

Communication is key
Conley at Fluke Biomedical/RaySafe says his company spends a great deal of time talking to medical device manufacturers. He says there is very little in a hospital or X-ray room that Fluke’s devices cannot test and agrees that data collection and automatic reports are becoming increasingly standard. He also reports that hospitals are coming to Fluke and RaySafe to demand more portability and efficiency. According to Conley, the FDA and the Joint Commission are emphasizing regular defibrillator and infusion pump testing.

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