Why qualified service repair is essential

Dec. 6, 2010

By Ron Appel
Vice President and General Manager
Repair Business Group, Henry Schein, Inc.

As a health-care professional, your top priority is to provide the safest, highest quality care to your patients. Providing this level of care requires that all the equipment and instruments in your office are safe and in optimal condition.

Although many pieces of equipment and instruments are truly medical devices, in many instances, they are treated as consumer products and practitioners allow uncertified service entities to repair them. Many repair service providers are not fully qualified nor do they have quality standards. Using these providers leaves the health-care professional and his or her patients open to the risk of less than optimal care, and in some cases, the risk of injury from malfunctioning equipment or instruments.

It is critical to make sure the repair service company you are utilizing for your handpieces, sterilizers, small equipment, and other critical components are qualified, legitimate organizations who carry the proper authority to service these items. Why is this so essential? Only fully qualified service providers:
* Are authorized by the manufacturer to service their products.
* Have a quality system in place which is appropriate to service medical devices.
* Have adequate liability insurance to cover any potential liability.
* Have the necessary diagnostic and test equipment.
* Have access to genuine manufacturer parts.
* Are trained on an ongoing basis by the manufacturer.
* Are audited on a yearly basis to ensure their quality systems are functioning appropriately.
* Have basic regulatory policies in place.

These protections are essential to ensuring that the equipment that you rely on to provide state-of-the-art care to your patients is properly serviced and operating optimally and safely. Any service organization which does not meet these standards should not be permitted to work on any of the medical devices located in an office.

How do you know that the repair service provider you have chosen is qualified, legitimate, and carries the proper authority to service your critical components? Before you allow any service provider to work on your equipment or instruments, here are some questions you should ask:
* Is your repair entity compliant with original manufacturer procedures and policies in regard to repairing equipment?
* Are they trained by the manufacturers of the various products and do they utilize their protocol?
* Do the companies have the appropriate liability insurance which would protect you in the event of a liability or claim?
* Does the company have an ISO certification or other quality certification which covers an overall quality process strictly adhered to during the repair process?

Ensuring that the repair service provider you are using is qualified and capable of repairing your equipment minimizes any risk to you, and most importantly, will enable you to meet your number one goal: to provide the highest quality care to your patients.