Clinical engineering professionals need to continually review and improve their management strategies in order to keep up with improvements in equipment technology, as well as with increasing expectations of health care organizations. In the last 20 years, management strategies have evolved from the initial obsession with electrical safety to flexible criteria that fit the individual institution's needs. Few hospitals, however, are taking full advantage of the paradigm shift offered by the evolution of Joint Commission standards. The focus should be on risks caused by equipment failure, rather than on equipment with highest maintenance demands. Furthermore, it is not enough to consider risks posed by individual pieces of equipment to individual patients. It is critical to anticipate the impact of an equipment failure on larger groups of patients, especially when dealing with one of a kind, sophisticated pieces of equipment that are required to provide timely and accurate diagnoses for immediate therapeutic decisions or surgical interventions. A strategy for incorporating multiple criteria to formulate appropriate management strategies is provided in this article.
(Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology 2006; 40:233-237).