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Equipment maintenance: Reduce service, 'touches'

Equipment maintenance: Reduce service, 'touches'

Q. What are the best ways to reduce the cost of maintaining equipment?

A. Providers of respiratory equipment recognize the significant revenue opportunities that come with this line of business. They also recognize, sometimes with surprise, the equally significant expenses involved with keeping their fleet of respiratory equipment in clean, patient-ready condition.

Here are five lessons we have learned in years of working with providers of respiratory equipment.

Maintain PM schedules. Much like changing the oil in your car, adhering to the manufacturers recommended schedules for preventative maintenance will save you money in the long term.

Reduce the number of service vendors you work with. Administrative costs are often a large (and often overlooked) area of equipment management. The more vendors you manage, the more problems you will have. Smart companies reduce administrative costs by working with one or two vendors who service all their equipment.

Reduce insect infestation and smoke-damage. Neither your patients nor Medicaid pay for damage to insect-infested or smoke-damaged ventilators or concentrators. Some providers simply terminate patients whose living conditions continue to damage their respiratory equipment. Others use nylon to cover the access points so insects cannot enter the equipment and make it their home.

Train your warehouse staff to reduce damage. UPS shipments often arrive in our facilities with damage caused by improper packing materials or processes. A $300 PM service turns into a $1,500 repair. Make sure your warehouse staff uses the correct boxes and plenty of bubble-wrap, and they know how to properly pack equipment to prevent in-transit damage.

Reduce the number of “touches.” Every time a piece of equipment is touched by an employee, it costs something. Examine the business process used to manage your equipment and identify ways to reduce the number of people, paper and processes involved.

All of the above will improve the operational efficiency and profit margins of your business.

Jim Worrell is chief commercial officer at Quality Biomedical. Reach him at


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