Table of ContentsDefinition / general | Need and technology assessment | Justification for new technology | Request for Information | Site visit | Horowitz's criteria for new equipment acquisition | Request for proposal (RFP) | Selection | Contract to purchase or lease | Equipment maintenance
Cite this page: Horowitz R. Equipment management. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/managementequipment.html. Accessed December 3rd, 2021.
Definition / general
- The practice of pathology is uniquely dependent upon complex and sophisticated laboratory equipment, which is continuously upgraded, augmented or rendered obsolete
- Successful laboratory administration requires knowledge, experience, and judgment in the selection and maintenance of multiple technologies which are integral to our practice
- Capable equipment management also requires prudent interaction and communication with a variety of non-laboratory experts including biomedical engineers, service personnel, purchasing agents, administrators, contract attorneys, and even vendor representatives
- Equipment acquisition consists of establishing a need (from the strategic plan), technology assessment, justification, a Request For Information (RFI), a Request For Proposal (RFP), one or more site visits, selection and finally a contract
- The continuing quality of laboratory operations is, to a large degree, dependent on equipment maintenance
Need and technology assessment
- Clinical Utility
- Does the technology make a difference in patient management or outcome?
- Do the clinicians want or need the new technology?
- Is the technology accurate, sensitive and reproducible?
- What are the operating characteristics of the new technology?
- What are the costs? (to be expanded in subsequent chapter on Budgeting)
Justification for new technology
- Necessary to meet governmental requirements
- Necessary for patient or employee safety
- Replace old equipment in order to continue operation
- Provide marked improvement in patient care
- Enhance productivity or reduce costs
- Improve patient or employee satisfaction
- Improve operating efficiency
- Improve quality
- Bottom Line Essentials
- Improved patient Care - obtain clinicians' corroboration
- Increased productivity, decreased cost
- Cost savings in the system, e.g. decreased length of stay
Request for Information
- Sent to potential suppliers to:
- Define your needs
- See what is available
- Specify rules and timeframes for the acquisition process and determine who receives an RFP
- RFI should answer the following:
- What equipment is available?
- What are the operating characteristics?
- How much does it cost?
- What training is provided?
- Installation requirements?
- Service and Maintenance
- Guarantees and warranty
- History of Vendor
- Number and duration of installations
- Should include a pathologist, laboratory supervisor, administrator and a technologist who is slated to run the equipment
- Questions for pathologists and particularly for the technologists using the proposed equipment:
- Problems with delivery or installation?
- Availability of training?
- Reliability, unexpected downtime?
- Verify operating characteristics
- Vendor service and support?
- Do the technologists like it?
- Do the Pathologists like it?
- Availability of service, parts and reagents?
- Problems with computer interface?
- Would you buy this equipment again?
Horowitz's criteria for new equipment acquisition
- Has it been on the market for at least 5 years?
- Is it simple with few moving parts?
- Is there a local parts warehouse and repairman?
- Are reagents cheap?
- Is it compatible with existing equipment?
- Is it inexpensive enough to buy two - so if one breaks down there is an immediately available back-up?
Request for proposal (RFP)
- A publication of detailed requirements by a prospective buyer in order to receive vendor proposal
- RFP is also known as request for bids or request to tender
- Sent to top vendors (from the RFI and site visits) for competitive bidding
- Key Sections of RFP:
- Statement of Need
- What is expected of Vendor
- Specific performance & operating characteristics
- Detailed deliverables: hardware, software, training
- Contractual requirements
- Payment requirements, incentives, penalties
- Proposal format
- Evaluation criteria and award process
- Selection of the winning proposal made on the basis of site visits and review of the submitted RFPs
- Selection made by the site visit team with administration
Contract to purchase or lease
- Written by Pathologist with Purchasing Agent and Attorney
- Includes complete specifications:
- Equipment description
- Performance and operating characteristics and standards
- Incorporates vendor's RFP response
- Requirements for Installation:
- Code requirements
- Computer compatibility
- Cost to purchase or lease or reagent rental
- Delivery, liability, replacement
- Acceptance testing
- Penalty and lemon clauses
- Warranty and Maintenance contract
- Maintenance is scheduled and preventive
- Repair is unscheduled after failure
- First Line Maintenance is performed by machine operator and consists of frequent inspection, cleaning, disinfecting, lubricating, simple replacement, calibrating and adjusting
- Usually done by Lab Personnel
- May be done by Biomedical Engineering
- Must be recorded in a Maintenance Log
- Second Line Maintenance is performed by manufacturer's field service representative and consists of more complex replacements, alignments and adjustments
- Third Line Maintenance is major overhaul usually performed in the factory
- Maintenance Contracts should include:
- Detail of scope, terms, equipment covered
- Type of service: routine and emergency
- Availability of service technicians and parts
- Availability of loaners
- Response time: Hierarchy of response
- Costs: Parts, labor, travel out of pocket
- Average cost: 10% of purchase price per year
- Maintenance Records
- Documentation required by CAP, JCAHO, CLIA
- Need manuals and records of maintenance of each piece of equipment in the laboratory
- Generally maintained in each section or sub-section of the laboratory