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Maintaining defibrillator readiness costs hospitals time and money, but how much? Four "readiness activities" were identified: the user defibrillator check, preventive maintenance checks, service and repair, and battery maintenance and replacement. A questionnaire was distributed to 5 hospitals, and information was gathered pertaining to the 4 readiness activities identified. The data gathered were used to calculate the annual time spent on readiness per defibrillator and the annual cost. It was concluded that, on average, a single defibrillator consumes approximately 76 hours of nursing and clinical engineering time annually. This translates into approximately $2,622 per defibrillator per year. The user defibrillator check accounts for the largest percentage of time and cost (97%). Newer defibrillators equipped with self-test capabilities that reduce the time spent on the user defibrillator check can be expected to reduce the overall cost of ownership.