Refurbished and Used Medical Equipment, Medical Imaging Equipment, and Hospital Equipment

Refurbishing medical equipment is an effective way of maintaining access to high-quality healthcare services for all patients. The refurbished equipment are much cheaper than new equipment. Continuous improvement of medical devices technology has advanced used medical equipment such as x-ray machines and remained competitive in healthcare services. The Healthcare technology market has been enhanced by the availability of refurbished medical imaging systems. According to Amber Diagnostics, hospitals and health systems have been able to increase accuracy in diagnosis, and upgraded diagnostic capability through the use of quality refurbished medical imaging equipment.

Good refurbishment practice

Good refurbishment practice (GRP) is a standardized refurbishment guideline of medical equipment developed to differentiate them from the repaired, used, or ordinarily refurbished equipment.  GRP optimizes ordinary refurbishment to a higher degree of quality and safety. GRP refurbished equipment functions similarly to new equipment, thus enhancing cost-effectiveness and availability.

The availability of medical equipment largely determines the feasibility and stability of healthcare systems. Medical devices such as x-ray machines are essential in healthcare systems, mainly used to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness. Innovation and advancement of medical equipment have enhanced efficiency and accuracy in the delivery of quality health care. However, purchasing new medical equipment has remained a fundamental problem in many developing countries. These developing countries heavily rely on donations. The use of GRP refurbished medical equipment is a potential solution because it offers quality used medical equipment at a fair price. Several organizations in developed countries have also provided used medical equipment as donations to developing countries.

World Health Organization (WHO) has set regulations for healthcare equipment donation to help improve poor usage of equipment in developing countries. The healthcare system is encouraged to create a plan for the effective management of medical devices. They should include:

  • Formulating a budget for the repair and maintenance of medical devices.
  • Ensuring international safety standards are observed
  • Developing a national policy of procurement and acceptance of donations.
  • Creating a training and maintenance policy.

According to WHO, good donation should adhere to four fundamental principles:

  1. Donations should be beneficial to the recipient extensively.
  2. They should be given in adherence to set recipient country policies and the wishes of the recipient.
  3. The quality of the donation should not be substandard.
  4. Effective communication between donor and recipient is crucial in formulating a donation plan suitable to both parties.

According to a donation plan, the donor must ensure the safety of the equipment and provide necessary information on installation and commissioning, manuals, and spare parts when needed.

Conclusion

Persistent barriers to the sustainability and usability of donated medical devices are continually disadvantaging healthcare delivery. Development of innovative solutions that offer technicians, engineers, and users training on managing refurbished medical devices will help maintain the devices and improve the capability to service new ones. Refurbishment of medical equipment should be done by competent personnel, and they are expected to restore the devices to original specifications. They should also provide correct equipment labels, complete documentation, and a user manual.