Promoting sustainability in the medical device sector
reLink Medical—an Aurora, Ohio-based company—came on the scene in 2014 to streamline and improve the medical equipment disposition process for healthcare facilities across the country. Below, reLink President and COO Jeff Dalton sits down with 24×7 to discuss his thoughts on existing disposition processes and options. Don’t miss out.
24×7: How does a facility go about removing excess medical equipment?
Jeff Dalton: There are many different channels that a hospital can utilize, including auction houses, scrap yards, OEM trade-ins, and donating to charity. However, there are very few companies that can provide a holistic approach that includes all products and related services.
The current marketplace can be cumbersome, requiring facilities to contact multiple companies for each piece of equipment. In addition to finding the right company, facilities often have no standard in place for the disposition of medical equipment when it is removed from service. Some facilities may have informal and inconsistent programs in place, but very few actually have any sort of standardized process. In fact, many facilities simply store excess equipment because they don’t know what to do with it.
24×7: How exactly does a disposition process benefit a hospital?
Dalton: Put simply, it helps hospitals from a time, space, and money perspective. In regards to time: The upkeep of equipment requires year-round preventative maintenance and repair in order to remain patient-ready. By removing excess equipment, the technician is no longer tied up in maintaining unused equipment.
In addition, it takes time for facility personnel to manage individual disposition processes. Utilizing a company with a holistic disposition approach streamlines the process and frees up time otherwise spent making phone calls and arranging repairs on equipment that is no longer needed.
Regarding space: Hallways, shops, and warehouses are overflowing with out-of-service medical equipment—and a disposition process allows facilities to free up space. And, finally, regarding money: Unused equipment that sits around in a facility does nothing but gather dust. By utilizing an efficient disposition process, the facility can earn benefits for their excess equipment. Depending on which company acquires the equipment, these benefits can be cash, parts credit, equipment credits, or OEM trade-ins.
24×7: From an environmental perspective, why should hospitals avoid trashing used medical equipment?
Dalton: It’s absolutely not environmentally safe to throw any medical equipment in the trash. Many medical devices have components such as batteries, tubes, oil, and biohazardous material—all of which can be dangerous to the environment and require proper disposal methods. However, if the appropriate measures are not taken, most of these components end up in landfills. W
hen selecting a disposition company, it’s important to choose a Responsible Recycling Standard—aka: “R2”—certified company with a zero-landfill policy, in order to protect the environment from these dangerous materials.
24×7: Suppose a facility wants to donate used equipment to those in need? Then what?
Dalton: Many organizations offer an option to donate, as there is always a need for used medical equipment both domestically and abroad. From local nonprofit clinics to facilities in developing countries, equipment is always needed and in demand. When donating equipment, make sure to choose a donation program that verifies that it’s patient-ready and in good working condition prior to sending the equipment to organizations in need.
24×7: What other advice would you give HTM professionals about medical device life-cycle management?
Dalton: Ask questions. Every facility has different needs and objectives that influence the type of disposition process necessary. Selecting an environmentally friendly, holistic solution that offers many different disposition channels—such as cash, donation, and zero-landfill scrapping—will give you the ability to fulfill any need with one point of contact.