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Maintaining hospital equipment is a crucial part of keeping patients healthy and safe. There are many types of maintenance approaches that may affect cost, productivity, ROI, and overall efficiency.

How does your hospital manage maintenance on medical equipment?

Let’s review a few types of routines.

Preventative Maintenance

Maintenance activities are performed on a regularly-timed basis.

This type of maintenance is performed while the equipment is still working so that it does not break down unexpectedly. This can be compared to an annual physical check-up. Technicians perform these tasks when everything is still running smoothly in order to prevent future breakdowns or emergency maintenance issues. 

  • Pros: Keeps equipment in reliable working order. 
  • Cons: Does not optimize cost-effectiveness.

Predictive Maintenance

Equipment is monitored so maintenance occurs right when needed. 

Although this approach is similar to preventive maintenance, this activity requires particular preset conditions. If technicians discover that a particular piece of equipment suddenly performs outside normal parameters, they trigger a predictive maintenance protocol to conveniently schedule a repair or prevent future breakdowns.

  • Pros: More cost-effective, creates maintenance schedule based on need.
  • Cons: Requires regular monitoring, timing could be off.

Both Preventive and Predictive are designed to increase the reliability of assets and reduce the amount of reactivity to failures. Just as eating right, physical activity, and wellness exams all play a role in physical health, both preventive and predictive maintenance have an important place in a strategic facility maintenance program.

But we also have…

Reactive [run-to-failure] Maintenance

A corrective approach that occurs after a piece of equipment has malfunctioned.

  • Pros: Eliminates excessive maintenance.
  • Cons: Ineffective without careful planning and execution.

Run-to-failure should not be confused with neglecting a piece of equipment until it fails; it involves a deliberate plan for remedial actions to be taken post-breakdown. Organizations of all sizes intentionally practice run-to-failure maintenance on non-critical assets that don’t impact productivity because it’s more cost-effective in the long run.

Reliability-Centered Maintenance

Identifies the maintenance methods best suited to different pieces of equipment to optimize reliability, productivity, and costs.

  • Pros: Increase productivity of assets while optimizing costs.
  • Cons: Difficult to measure short-term ROI.

Cost wise, RCM has high upfront costs that decrease as equipment-specific maintenance procedures reduce inefficiencies.


Overall, RCM analysis reveals the most suitable approach for each piece of equipment. In some instances, more than one approach is suitable and can be used on a particular asset.

Looking for more information about medical equipment maintenance and how EquipSystems can help?

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