recently updated on 20th Sept 23
A diagnostic lab is a comprehensive machine with each piece of equipment working as a cog in this setup. A well-functioning machine means each cog is maintained correctly and fully functioning. Large setups Maximize lab efficiency by heavily investing in optimizing operations and setting up policies because it affects the business. Also, the use of the latest equipment and regular Laboratory Equipment Maintenance holds equal importance.
As the healthcare industry advances, the complexity and importance of maintenance of laboratory equipment and instruments continue to increase. The extensive analytical instruments used in laboratory highlight the critical role of accuracy in their survival. Therefore, proper care of laboratory equipment is essential to Maximize lab efficiency and accuracy. Any equipment failure or undesired performance can have a detrimental impact on its business, emphasizing the need for laboratory instrument repair, strict maintenance, and calibration protocols.
The need for an excellent diagnostic lab is increasing. According to Marketresearch.com, the projections suggest that the market of diagnostic labs may increase from US$ 297.06 billion in 2021 to US$ 514.28 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 8.3% between 2022 and 2028.
A diagnostic lab’s profitability and business growth depend on efficiency and accuracy. So, this article covers the best practices on how to improve laboratory efficiency through lab equipment maintenance:
Importance of Maintenance of Laboratory Equipment in Diagnostic Labs
Medical laboratory equipment and their uses play a crucial role in providing high-quality healthcare services. However, incorrectly using or maintaining lab equipment inadequately can lead to severe consequences, including harm to human life. Therefore, medical labs must adhere to lab safety rules to ensure proper care of laboratory equipment. This further minimizes downtime and produces accurate findings throughout their lifespan.
Properly maintaining lab assets is an essential component of lab quality control and even streamlines audits. Well-maintained medical lab equipment assures consistent and reliable data. The impact of uses of lab equipment is evident in the productivity of the work.
Proper Laboratory Improvement ideas that Maximize lab efficiency and promote a lab’s success:
- Assured quality in results
- Reliable and Consistent Data
- Reduced downtime
- Increased Productivity
Assured quality in Results:
Medical lab equipment that has undergone routine maintenance produces test findings that are precise and trustworthy. Accurate test findings are essential for correct diagnosis and treatment. Regular upkeep ensures that lab quality control is balanced throughout, which maintains the business’s quality and reputation.
Reliable and Consistent Data:
The main goal of the diagnostic lab business is to deliver accurate, quality results to Maximize lab efficiency aiding doctors in diagnosing and treating their patients. The data extraction from maintained equipment is accurate. The accuracy of test results is essential to continue the referral cycle with doctors and to assist patients better. Timely maintenance of medical laboratory equipment and their uses ensures the quality of patient outcomes, helping a lab to gain better business.
Preventing equipment breakdown through routine maintenance lowers downtime. Revival after downtime may take hours or days in some cases. Any interruption to the diagnostic lab industry might have severe repercussions because delayed test results could lead to delayed diagnosis and treatments. Therefore, proper care and preventive maintenance of laboratory equipment can reduce downtime ensuring lab safety rules and operations go smoothly.
Equipment inefficiencies, such as decreased accuracy or extended processing times, can affect lab quality control. By addressing these problems, the lab can increase equipment productivity and boost lab output by speeding up test processing.
Compliance with regulatory requirements
Many of the leading regulatory bodies require routine maintenance and calibration of medical lab equipment. Since breaking these lab safety rules might result in penalties or losing accreditation, compliance is essential for the success of a diagnostic lab. As a solution, routine equipment maintenance in laboratory can ensure better compliance with regulatory lab guidelines. Thus, a laboratory equipment maintenance strategy is vital for diagnostic lab operations to succeed and to deliver high-quality services while remaining compliant.
To set up maintenance policies in your lab, let’s understand the types of maintenance.
What types of maintenance Maximize lab efficiency?
There are two broad types of maintenance for laboratory equipment.
- Preventive Maintenance
- Corrective Maintenance
Performing tasks that help inspect equipment in a Lab. The method is executed before equipment failure or to avoid failure. Preventive maintenance of laboratory equipment is the periodic and regular upkeep of assets and equipment that keeps them in good working order. It avoids expensive unscheduled downtime due to unexpected equipment breakdowns.
This type of maintenance is a process to identify, replace, or repair equipment when equipment malfunctions. Corrective maintenance strategies rectify problems and make operations smooth.
Now that we know the importance of maintenance of laboratory equipment, the next step is setting up lab policies.
How to set up Lab policies for the maintenance of laboratory equipment?
Planning carefully and considering various lab safety rules are necessary while setting up maintenance strategies for a diagnostic lab. Here are some laboratory guidelines you can use to create a lab equipment maintenance plan:
The first step is to identify the devices and instruments used in laboratory. Make a list of every piece of equipment and note any crucial devices that require regular maintenance.
Prepare a maintenance schedule to Maximize lab efficiency:
Outline routine Maintenance and calibration of Medical equipment after identifying the them. When making the schedule, consider the manufacturer’s instructions and regulatory obligations.
Assign certain employees or a team to manage the equipment maintenance in laboratory. Assign a team to maintain equipment or certain personnel in charge of particular equipment.
Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs):
Create SOPs for the regular calibration, cleaning, and troubleshooting of each instrument therefore properly maintaining lab equipment and assets. Include detailed instructions and standards for resolving crises and unexpected maintenance requirements.
Document and track:
To Maximize lab efficiency, it is crucial to maintain detailed records of all maintenance activities, including planned and unscheduled maintenance and repairs. One way to achieve this is through tracking software, which can help document who carried out the maintenance, the completion time, and any issues identified during the equipment maintenance laboratory processes.
Review and Improve:
The lab equipment maintenance policy should be regularly reviewed and improved to keep the policy updated and effective. Pinpoint areas that require improvement, make the necessary modifications, and review the maintenance schedule, SOPs, and tracking system. The importance of maintenance of laboratory equipment ensures that the equipment runs at peak efficiency, producing accurate test results, less downtime, and increased throughput.
The maintenance policies include various steps depending on the lab’s size, operational capacity, etc. The basic maintenance practices to get you started with the maintenance of your lab may include the list below.
Standard Procedures to include in the Maintenance Plan of your Lab
The medical lab must maintain equipment regularly to ensure accurate and trustworthy results and prevent equipment failure. Furthermore, typical procedures for laboratory equipment maintenance include the following:
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions:
When it comes to the Maintenance and calibration of Medical equipment, you should always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. Doing so decreases the danger of equipment damage or inaccurate findings. Always keep the manual or guide of the equipment accessible.
Maximize lab efficiency by Creating a maintenance schedule :
Establish a maintenance plan that covers laboratory instrument repair, routine equipment cleaning, calibration, and inspections. A schedule for equipment maintenance in laboratory will ensure their good working order and condition.
Maintain Lab Records:
Document every equipment’s maintenance and repairs in great detail. Detailed records help to follow the history of the equipment and find prospective issues.
Train Lab Employees:
Ensure employees have received the necessary training to operate the medical lab equipment and perform routine maintenance activities. Training of employees will ensure precise findings and help prevent equipment damage.
Use suitable & quality cleaning agents:
Use cleaning agents per the manufacturer’s instructions to clean the equipment. Appropriate & quality cleaning agents prevent damage to the equipment.
Regular Lab Inspection:
Inspect the equipment routinely for wear and damage, including cracks, corrosion, and loose parts. A well-planned lab safety inspection can lower the risk of equipment failure and guarantee genuine outcomes.
Have a strategy for Laboratory Instrument Repair:
Prepare a plan for repairs if the equipment breaks down or malfunctions. To do this, you should keep extra parts on hand, coordinate with a service specialist, or have a backup plan in case your equipment breaks down.
The above list may include many other points depending on the operational requirement of your lab, following these practices will directly Maximize lab efficiency. The topics discussed already come from the expertise of management teams that help employ lab guidelines for larger laboratories.
With equipment maintenance laboratory plans and policies in place, a lab should also focus on setting up strategies for the Calibration process for the appropriate and latest equipment. The calibration process is another vital aspect of maintaining the lab’s throughput. The calibration in the clinical laboratory is as necessary as maintenance.
Stay tuned for another informative blog focused on the Maintenance and calibration of Medical equipment and best practices.