8 Best Practices for a Successful Medical Equipment Installation and Activation Phase

Installing and activating equipment is the final phase of new healthcare construction and renovation projects. Even in this late stage, there are challenges that can derail a budget if they aren’t avoided. For instance, if equipment doesn’t arrive on time, or doesn’t fully meet the needs of your facility, it could delay the opening date, costing millions in lost revenue each day.

Patient safety and satisfaction are also at stake. How can clinicians provide the highest level of care to their patients if they don’t have all the necessary equipment and tools, placed exactly where they need them?

Follow these best practices to ensure success during this critical project phase:

1. Assemble a Cross-Functional Activation Team

The activation team is a group of clinical staff that is fully integrated in the overall planning of the project. This team works closely with the facility project manager and the equipment planners throughout the project to be in-the-know on project details, familiar with the floor plan, and well-versed on the equipment. They may also help with the actual move into the new or renovated facility, depending on the size of the project.

2. Manage a Detailed Equipment Schedule

The equipment planner should stay close to the overall project schedule throughout the project planning process. Schedule reviews typically occur in monthly project planning meetings that include the owner, architect, contractor, and any subcontractors required based on the current state of the build — and may become more frequent as the turnover date approaches. In preparation for installation and activation:

3. Create an Activation Responsibility Matrix

As the activation stage nears, create a separate activation responsibility matrix to outline who is responsible for each activation task, and to make sure the right team members are lined up for the appropriate times to complete those tasks.
The activation responsibility matrix should also identify:

4. Establish a Secure Staging Area

Having a secure staging area enables the project team to receive and inventory the equipment, take care of any possible equipment assembly (such as setting up IV poles or putting the legs on exam tables), and get the equipment ready to go.

Many stakeholders will need to enter the staging area to access, and potentially “borrow,” setup equipment. For instance, biomedical engineers may need to take equipment that requires testing prior to deployment, and contractors may need access in order to install large items, such as refrigerators and freezers. For this reason, the equipment planner needs to have a way to keep track of the equipment so it doesn’t “walk away” from the staging area and go missing before installation. Equipment planners should also leverage the staging area to evaluate the equipment and determine if anything has been damaged in transit.

5. Make a Plan to Address Equipment-Related Issues

All projects will encounter equipment issues of some kind. Having a plan in place to quickly communicate, address, and resolve the problem can help mitigate disruptions to the project schedule.
When identifying the workflows for equipment issues, consider the following scenarios:

6. Coordinate a Mock Move

The entire activation team should be included on a trial-run of the move process, during which the team will create and step through routes for moving the equipment. This will ensure that your team has adequate access to the receiving dock (or wherever the equipment has been delivered), elevators, and anything else needed to move the equipment to its final location.

For projects operating in facilities that are already open or partially open, the mock move also gives the team a chance to validate that their routes take the equipment through the fastest and least disruptive pathways. If a building is open to patients at any point during the installation, the move team will have to set up restrictions to keep patients and staff away from dangerous areas.

7. Know the Rules of the Hospital’s Receiving Dock

The equipment planner is responsible for coordinating any equipment received at the dock. This includes notifying the dock team that the delivery is coming, and making sure the team knows who is responsible for retrieving the equipment.

Also, make sure you are aware of the rules of the dock. The dock likely has a rule that deliveries can’t sit at the dock for more than 24 hours, or overnight. Have a plan — and people — in place to promptly relocate any equipment off of the dock to its appropriate location.

8. Establish an Equipment Tracking System

In the weeks and days leading up to the move, keep a detailed inventory of equipment as you receive it: what items you have received, the quantity of each, and if anything is damaged or broken.

Attainia by Revalize is a powerful equipment planning platform that makes this process easy.

With Attainia equipment planners can:

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