Choosing a Surgical Repair Vendor

by Anne Reed

Instruments, cables, scopes, containers, power pieces, and more. It’s a huge variety of equipment that requires constant attention to keep it all functioning soundly. The typical Central Sterile Processing department is charged with the responsibility to monitor and maintain thousands of different items used in surgery, and it’s a task that can drive any conscientious manager to distraction.

If not maintained carefully and correctly, surgeons complain, O.R. managers protest, and the C. S. manager is accountable. So, among the myriad of decontamination and sterilization duties already incumbent upon a busy C. S. Director, he or she must proactively oversee a system of preventive maintenance that anticipates problems and stops them before they grow into serious issues.

It can, indeed, be an imposing challenge. Unfortunately, however, when looking to repair sources, it’s all too common to look for the closest or cheapest source, and that habit can be the beginning of a costly and lengthy nightmare, with disastrous results. The choice of one’s repair vendor is every bit as important as the choice of vendors for expensive capital equipment purchases, but the options need to be examined closely, because the levels of expertise and integrity differ greatly among the many repair vendors in the industry today.

With surgical equipment inventories averaging in the millions of dollars, and replacement costs on the rise, supervisors are obliged to ensure these assets are protected. It is a fact, though, that instrument and equipment repair is an emerging market. The industry is flush with inexperienced and/or untrained technicians who can represent a serious threat to the life of one’s equipment. To avoid problems, insist that your repair vendor meet a series of minimum standards.

Minimum Standards Check List for All Repair Vendors (including on-location)

Additional Minimum Standards Check List for On-Location Instrument Repair Vendors Only

Making Your Repair Responsibilities Easier

It’s important to recognize that the proper repair of surgical instruments and equipment requires skill, experience, and a significant capital investment. Because your inventory is too expensive to gamble with, investigate carefully the repair vendor you empower to maintain it. A poor choice can cost you time, money, and needless frustration. A sound choice, on the other hand, should bring you the peace of mind of knowing that your equipment is always being serviced and maintained correctly.

Reprinted with permission of Infection Control Today magazine.