You wouldn’t wait until your car’s engine seized up to take it in for an oil change. You wouldn’t wait to brush and floss until you got gum disease. We do these mundane things to prevent problems. Likewise, while preventive maintenance (PM) of medical imaging systems is time consuming, it helps avoid serious issues in the long run.
This is the second article in our series of essential PM advice for those responsible for servicing and repairing Siemens medical imaging devices. First, we discussed PM for Siemens radiography systems. This time, we’ll review the importance of preventive maintenance for Siemens fluoroscopy systems such as the Luminos Agile and AXIOM fluoroscopic systems.
Siemens’ fluoroscopy systems are very similar to its radiography equipment. They use the same generator cabinets, X-ray tubes, and detectors. Of course, the main difference between the two modalities is how fluoroscopy creates a moving X-ray image for healthcare providers, generating a live view of what’s happening inside the body.
When and Why Should Fluoroscopy System PM Procedures Take Place?
The preventive maintenance schedule for Siemens fluoroscopic equipment should take place on a two-year cycle, involving about 16 hours’ worth of work in total. However, some field service engineers (FSEs) and healthcare organizations may choose to break that up into one full day per year or four hours every six months. Any option is acceptable, as long as a routine PM schedule is set and followed.
While fluoroscopy PM can feel like a nuisance, and it may keep healthcare organizations from scanning patients on that equipment for a day or two, investing the time and resources into doing it well is vital.
Unplanned downtime of a fluoroscopy system will end up costing a hospital much more than scheduled maintenance. And, as an FSE, if there’s a service call for equipment that just went through PM, it raises suspicions about the quality of work from that engineer and the service organization. Preventive maintenance is supposed to reduce the need for service calls. If you’re doing your job right, it’s unlikely there will be any issues for a while. So, make sure you’re paying attention to details and providing your best work.
Before Preventive Maintenance Begins
Get in the habit of visiting the site where the PM will take place ahead of going through the checklist of procedures. Talk with the customer, or the imaging director, about any known issues and concerns with the equipment you’ll be servicing.
Familiarizing yourself with the equipment before the PM also allows you to identify replacement parts and supplies you’ll need to order ahead of time. This helps avoid delays caused by the need to order a Siemens replacement part after you’ve started the PM.
It is extremely important that you have the manufacturer’s documented preventive maintenance procedures on hand and follow them to the letter. OEMs such as Siemens, GE, and Philips have different requirements and various modalities have unique steps and checks. Using the manufacturer’s documentation ensures you don’t miss a step and remain compliant with regulations.
Don’t Skip the Small Stuff
Because preventive maintenance of fluoroscopy systems is tedious and time consuming, it may be tempting to skip steps that seem less important. That’s a mistake.
Check circuit boards for damage, look for bad connections near hand switches and foot switches, wires may have pulled loose from a power plug, faulty fuses may need to be tested, and you should check and tighten hardware. Leave no stone unturned, and no screw loose.
There are some FSEs who improperly clean and lubricate components during PM. Failing to lubricate components, however, increases the effects of wear and tear on the equipment, reducing its life expectancy and increasing costs for the healthcare facility in the long run … all because the FSE wanted to save 15 minutes of time.
Be aware that adding too much lubrication can also cause issues. That’s why it’s extremely important to follow directions for cleaning and lubrications exactly as they are written in Siemens’ documentation.
The bottom line is, cutting corners will come back to bite you, eventually.
The “Hat and Coat Check”
As you’re nearing the end of preventive maintenance and have reassembled the fluoroscopy device, you’ll go through a series of tests and calibrations to ensure everything is functioning as it should.
This complete operational run-through is often called the “hat and coat check,” and it’s even referred to as such in Siemens documentation. Make sure moving parts are operating smoothly and as they are expected to move.
One of the final steps during fluoroscopy PM is a simulation of a patient scan. Using phantoms and imaging software, you’ll evaluate the quality of the image. The hat and coat check is crucial because it ensures the next time a real patient is up on the fluoroscopy table, the system functions as required. The last thing you want is the inability to scan a patient because of something seemingly small you failed to do or reset.
How PM Kits Make Fluoroscopy Preventive Maintenance Easier
DirectMed Imaging is here to provide Siemens medical imaging expertise as you go through standard PM procedures, and as you encounter complicated challenges. We offer PM Kits for fluoroscopy as well as other modalities, including radiography, CT, and angiography.
PM kits provide imaging engineers with essential Siemens medical imaging replacement parts and supplies for preventive maintenance and can save you the hassle of ordering everything separately. Call us at 1-855-463-3727 for more information.
In between PM procedures, when you’re trying to troubleshoot more complex issues with Siemens medical imaging systems, the experts at DirectMed Imaging provide free 24-hour support. Even if you’ve never ordered a Siemens replacement part from us before, we’re happy to walk you through the problem and help in any way we can.
For healthcare organizations looking to make the most of in-house talent, including biomedical engineering technicians (BMETs), we also provide in-depth, hands-on training on Siemens medical imaging equipment in our state-of-the-art facility. View the current training schedule for fluoroscopy training and sign up today.
You can also get other preventive maintenance tips on our website.