Alan Pakaln is a clinical engineer, concerned about how The Joint Commission (being the largest of four hospital accrediting organizations) oversees medical equipment maintenance in health care facilities – specifically their procedure for calculating periodic maintenance compliance. I have 30+ years experience overseeing the application of medical technology in New York City hospitals.
I have participated in Joint Commission surveys, and have previously written about this subject in a professional journal (AAMI). I have also contacted the Joint Commission regarding this issue.
I have been contacting what I consider appropriate individuals in healthcare about this issue and so far I have received very few responses. Which does and does not surprise me, given the following: This is not a sexy issue: it does not cry out that “lives will be saved,” nor does it lay bare some impending doom.
However, poorly maintained equipment can be involved in incidents, or contribute to confusion during procedures causing increased risk and delays in treatment.
It is also difficult confronting The Joint Commission. Most of the time, administrators and clinicians are just trying to survive in a competitive environment. The Joint Commission is a huge bureaucracy, and not always willing to listen to complaints.
On the other hand, the issue of accurate and meaningful patient care record keeping is something everyone acknowledges is critical to successful outcomes (and then there’s ethics).
So tell me where I am wrong, challenge me on the relevance, but do not turn away if you cannot argue a contrary point of view.
Manager, Clinical Technology Projects, New York Presbyterian Hospital, NYC
Associate Director, Biomedical Engineering, Mount Sinai Health System, NYC
Assistant Director, Biomedical Engineering, Bellevue Hospital, NYC
Supervisor, Test Department, Electronics For Medicine, Pleasantville, NY
Article Citation: Alan Pakaln (2004) The Three Critical Issues I’ve Learned in 23 Years in Clinical Engineering. Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology: March 2004, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 119-121.
Article Citation: Alan Pakaln (2006) Proposed: A Standard Clinical Engineering Review Procedure.
Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology: July 2006, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 315-318.