The art of device maintenance
From picking the right manufacturer to training your staff to preventive maintenance, Priya Chaphekar highlights the various components of cosmetic machine care.
It’s all about the small things – emptying the water container of your machine every week, vacuuming the vents, keeping the treatment room temperature as low as possible and having your system serviced annually from well-trained technicians of a reputed company. The checklist seems long, but it’s sure to give your equipment a longer life by eliminating frequent repairs. Owning an aesthetic device is synonymous with buying an expensive car. Maintaining it regularly will not only reduce running costs, but also keep your equipment in tip-top shape.
Each device usually comes with a warranty period, in which the manufacturer takes responsibility for anything that might go wrong. This grace period can be anywhere between six months to two years. It’s a good idea to sign up for an annual contract with a reliable and reputable cosmetic laser equipment repair company for regular preventative maintenance.
There are two types of maintenance involved in medical devices. Preventive (PM) is aimed to increase the life of the device and reduce failure rates as per manufacturers guidelines. Corrective (CM), on the other hand, restores the function of a failed device and puts it back into operation as per original specification parameters and meeting safety and efficacy norms. Device makers provide all the necessary training and guidelines for proper and safe use of equipment on regular basis, along with concise and detailed operating instructions and a planned preventive maintenance schedule based on usage of the equipment. After the warranty period, an option of an AMC or CMC is also offered,” explains Bharat Sachdev, Managing Director – South Asia, Leader Healthcare India.
Buy from the best
“If the devices are US FDA-approved and are manufactured by an American company, they can be extremely expensive. For instance, one hair removal laser in my clinic costs about INR 55 lakh. So, the maintenance of such devices is imperative. Also, you have to really handpick your distributors. While bigger companies are never an issue, one can face problems from the local distributors as they might not be as helpful,” shares DrJaishree Sharad, Celebrity Dermatologist and Director at Skinfiniti Aesthetic Skin and Laser Clinic.
Medical devices are assets with considerable investments, and it is important to have a proper maintenance programme to keep them safe and secure. “If there is an improper maintenance of the device, it can cause safety and performance issues, which may adversely affect the operator and/or the patient. It can also reduce the life of the asset, increase failure rates and as a result increase the life cycle cost of the device. An adverse event resulting for the poor maintenance may cause negative publicity, issues with regulatory authorities, and can have legal consequences,” highlights Sachdev.
Stitch in time
Medical machines are extremely delicate to begin with. Just a pinch of dust is enough to spoil the laser or cartridge. “Things like inadequate water level and improper cooling are bound to affect the laser system and cause a breakdown. In case of breakdown, there might be overheating and burns or scarring may happen if the cooling is not monitored. Sometimes, if a part is broken or stops functioning and is not available in India, it needs to be ordered from the US or from wherever it was manufactured. The whole process can get tedious and expensive, so it’s better to take care,” warns Dr Sharad.
According to Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar, MD Skin, Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Trasi’s Clinic & La Piel, a reputed company provides their support staff within 24 hours once machine breakdown complaint is launched with the company. “The engineer who visits the breakdown call must be able to solve the issue and if not, company must provide the standby instrument till the breakdown issue is solved,” she points out.
Train the staff
The staff at your clinic has to be well-trained by the company to keep the device clean after every use. The training sessions have to be repeated. “There should be a smoke evaculator in the room while using lasers, so no particles enter the laser and spoil the lens. Some devices need regular filling of water, cleaning of tubes and refilling of powders – all of this has to be done manually and on a regular basis,” says Dr Sharad.
Things to remember by Dr Trasi
- The clinicians must handle the machine with care by regularly cleaning with spirit or Sterillium once procedure is done.
- Check all the attachments of the machine including power supply cable before switching on any machine.
- Maintain proper gap between two procedures for longer durability of the machine.
- Place the machine on standby mode when not required.
- UPS connection must be installed in the respective treatment rooms.
- Power supply cable must be attached and checked properly before switching on any machines.
- Power supply cable must be inserted in UPS power supply point only.
- Switch off the machine once the procedure is done.
- Maintain the desired room temperature as required by the machine during the procedure.
Dos and don’ts for clinicians
- Prepare the site as per manufacturer guidelines and take care of environmental requirements such as temperature, humidity, UPS and airflow.
- Get the staff fully trained and certified to operate the equipment.
- Read the manuals thoroughly and strictly follow the safety and efficacy guidelines.
- Do not overuse the consumables beyond the recommended guidelines.
- Keep a log book on usage of the equipment and any errors/alerts on the device.
- Maintain a clean and hygienic work place and make necessary arrangements to manage medical waste.
- Do not ignore any noise or unusual behaviour of the device; report immediately.
- Keep the emergency contact number of the vendors handy.