preventative Maintenance

Implementing a comprehensive ultrasound preventative maintenance plan in your veterinary organization is an important step to ensuring you have a safe and functional machine. Without regular service, you risk endangering patients and providers, as well as significant expenses related to repairs or premature replacement.

If you have ongoing issues with your ultrasound equipment and have not secured a contract to keep your machines in prime condition, here are five reasons to put that task at the top of your priority list.

1. Keep Patients Safe

Ultrasound systems are critical tools for diagnosing and treating the animals in your clinic, but when they malfunction or fail, the results can be devastating to the quality of care. Without ongoing maintenance, there’s a risk that the machines will produce low-quality and unclear images. Not taking care of the device can also cause power failures, damage the probes and transducers, and cause other issues that affect safety.

Using damaged probes and transducers puts the user and the patient at risk for burns, electric shock, and cross-contamination. Regular upkeep ensures high-quality care and reduces the likelihood of injury during imaging procedures.

2. Support More Accurate Diagnoses

An accurate diagnosis is the first step in delivering good pet care, and faulty ultrasound equipment can result in a misdiagnosis that could put an animal in danger. Normal wear and tear on the machines can cause problems with various parts that control image quality, resulting in black lines on the screen, areas with shadows or extra light, or fuzzy images. While most technicians are aware of the effect that damage can have on the image quality, sometimes these issues develop slowly and aren’t immediately noticeable.

Relying on images from a faulty machine can cause an inaccurate diagnosis and treatment. Ultrasound imaging is a critical tool in identifying health concerns like cancer, obstructions, and abdominal disorders, as well as monitoring the progress of a condition.

Preventative maintenance ensures providers work with the most accurate information and support the best outcomes.

3. Extend the Equipment’s Lifespan

Most vet practices plan to replace their ultrasound equipment every three to five years, but that doesn’t mean the machines don’t require regular care. Ultrasound machines have many delicate components, and over time they can start to degrade and affect performance. Although they are meant to be reasonably rugged, when you consider that many machines have to withstand a great deal of wear and tear — and techs might not always treat them gently — it’s no surprise that many require replacement sooner rather than later.

Scheduling regular professional maintenance ensures that small issues don’t become major problems and helps keep the equipment in good working condition for as long as possible.

4. Avoid Expensive Repairs

As mentioned, most veterinary offices replace their point-of-care ultrasound equipment every few years. That doesn’t mean they won’t ever have issues with existing equipment and need to pay for repairs. However, major repairs can be expensive, and in some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace the machine rather than spend money on fixing the current one, which can have significant effects on the budget.

Investing in ongoing, regular maintenance is less expensive than repairing or replacing imaging machines. Catching minor issues right away prevents the agony of a more disruptive failure in the future.

5. Reduce Current and Future Costs

Avoiding repair costs isn’t the only way that preventative maintenance helps keep costs in check for veterinary care providers. Neglecting to clean, inspect, and test the machines increases the risk of a breakdown, which means potentially lengthy downtime in your practice. Instead of providing comprehensive point-of-care service, providers may need to delay or repeat tests or even outsource general imaging to another provider or facility, which can divert revenue from the practice.

Providers cannot overlook the costs associated with misdiagnosis and injury, either. Misreading imaging tests can sometimes lead to devastating results, and a bad reputation can certainly negatively impact your practice’s revenue.

How to Protect Your Medical and Veterinary Equipment

Keeping ultrasound machines in good condition is a collaborative effort between staff and professional maintenance providers. Ultrasound technicians are responsible for using equipment correctly, following the recommended daily care protocols, and reporting issues with the machines as soon as they appear to ensure prompt attention.

Investing in an ongoing preventative maintenance contract ensures that devices are safe and reliable. Techs follow an exhaustive checklist to extend the life of the system and prevent expensive failures that can cause safety concerns and extended downtime. The checklist typically includes:

  • Cleaning external surfaces, transducers, keyboards, trackballs, and filters
  • Inspecting probes, transducers, system controls, power cords, and cables for damage and wear
  • Performing electrical safety checks on the system and the transducer
  • Inspecting the system and power supply fans
  • Checking and clearing error logs and running diagnostic tests
  • Recalibrating probes to ensure image accuracy
  • Replacing and testing  the backup battery
  • Testing lamps, keyboard, controls, backup system, and peripherals
  • Testing the overall functionality of the system

Every equipment manufacturer has its own standards and specifications for equipment maintenance, so the specific checklist may vary somewhat. Regardless of the specific services, the technician will provide a detailed maintenance report to keep for future reference.

Put Your Medical Equipment in Good Hands

Choice Medical Systems, Inc. in South Pasadena, FL, is the premier provider of preventative maintenance for veterinary practice ultrasound systems. We match — and usually exceed — the quality of service provided by original equipment manufacturers and help organizations save money and eliminate downtime with detailed, quality work. In addition to working on equipment from all top manufacturers, including Siemens, Toshiba, Phillips, GE, and more, we sell new and refurbished equipment.

If you want to prolong the life of your expensive and vital medical equipment, give us a call today at (727) 592-5668 for details on our affordable service contracts.