Biomedical Engineering: Challenge for small and medium hospitals

June 09, 2016 2:46 PM

GP Singh Shekhawat, Co-founder & Director, Vertex Medical, expounds on the importance of biomedical engineering services in small and medium hospitals and how outsourcing can be great option

GP Singh Shekhawat, Co-founder & Director, Vertex Medical, expounds on the importance of biomedical engineering services in small and medium hospitals and how outsourcing can be great option

201606ehm58With technological advances in the healthcare, we see a number of biomedical equipment increasing rapidly in any hospital. To improve the patient care and diagnosis, all hospitals are investing heavily on the biomedical equipment.

Large multi-specialty or super-specialty hospitals

Hospitals have biomedical engineering department to manage these assets. They have invested to set up the biomedical engineering department and keep investing to meet the training demands for engineers. However, they also find it difficult to keep the biomedical engineers technologically updated and motivated enough to stop them from leaving the jobs frequently.

Small and medium hospitals

On the other hand, hospitals face the challenge to manage these biomedical equipment assets. The number of equipment is less compared to large hospital thus makes it unviable for them to have a biomedical department. It has also been observed that the well maintained and calibrated equipment can have a lifespan of seven to ten years compared to two to three years if not maintained properly. Most of the time, small hospitals are run by the doctor and not by any professional team to manage these assets. They also face challenges in managing biomedical equipment life cycle, planning new equipment, repair and maintenance, staff training etc.

Biomedical engineering outsourcing: A viable solution

The biomedical engineering service provider company can help the doctors/ owners of the small and medium hospital to manage the assets available in the form of biomedical equipment more effectively. The service provider will be managing the total life cycle of any biomedical equipment.


The service providers role starts from the new equipment planning. They will help in justifying the requirement of proposed equipment, evaluating various products, finalising specification, making comparatives of available options. This will largely help decision makers to finalise the proposed biomedical equipment in time. It will save a huge amount of time and energy to the doctors. We have seen the sales person waiting for the surgeon to come out of the operation theatre to discuss about the required equipment. In most of the small hospitals, the decision making process is taken by the doctor himself. They are not able to spend time to research the product. The service provider having expertise can do a lot of the home work before the decision maker can meet the sales person.

The service provider will be ensuring that the site requirements are fulfilled before the equipment arrived at site. It has been observed that many times the sites are not prepared as per the equipment vendor requirements. The equipment landed at site in this situation kept lying idle for many days. It defers the RoI from the equipment and keeps the capital blocked. The vendor also has the dissatisfaction as the payment to be released after successful handover of the equipment is also delayed as installation in pending. The service provider can help minimise the loss due to delay in installation.


The service provider ensures that the equipment is installed properly and the operators are given adequate training to operate the same. Operator training is important as all the equipment are sophisticated electronic devices. Service provider engineer also takes active participation in the training process. In the absence of trained operator, he can train another available staff.

The regular periodic maintenance and calibration also needs to be followed by the service provider engineers. In case of a breakdown, the service provider engineer will try to resolve the fault. In case supplier service engineer is required to resolved, the service provider engineer will initiate the same and follow up till the equipment becomes functional.

Apart from this, the service provider will help the hospital to meet regulatory requirements like AERB license. Any X-ray machine needs AERB clearance before the operation of any X ray machines. Most of the time, small hospitals are not aware of such compliances. All the documentation has to be maintained by service provider engineers to meet any future quality certification like NABH accreditation etc.

What to look for the service provider?

Service providers should have the infrastructure and trained manpower to handle the client’s requirement. Training and development of biomedical engineers is very crucial aspect of the same, as the service providers are maintaining the hospital assets through these engineers only. Regular training and skill updation is very important.

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