Time Management Tips for Medical Imaging Field Service Technicians & Engineers
General Time Management Tips
While this tip seems like a no-brainer, today’s social media and instant communications tools constantly bombard their users, making it harder than ever to maintain focus on any particular task. Research indicates that America’s knowledge workers waste as much as 25 percent of their time tracking their evolving data streams, and healthcare techs and engineers aren’t immune to the habit. Turning personal social notifications off at the beginning of the workday reduces both the focus on digital media and the attention drain it causes.
Plan ahead and stick to the plan
Establishing and following a set schedule for preventative maintenance will ensure that your machines are functioning within manufacturer specifications. Scheduling regular testing also helps your facilities remain in compliance with state and federal agencies. Planning to prevent problems is always the best practice.
Maintain focus on the task at hand
Every day is filled with both scheduled and urgent tasks and being overwhelmed by a growing to-do list makes it more difficult to maintain your focus on the process in front of you. Just knowing that the daily workload is high can be distracting, so take a moment between maintenance projects to take a breath and reset your frame of mind before moving to the next task.
Time Management for Medical Imaging Techs
Medical imaging clinics are some of the busiest facilities in the healthcare industry, and keeping those machines running can be challenging. Following these time management principles can help keep your clinic running on time:
Master the Major Maintenance Cycles
While preventative maintenance helps keep your devices humming, you’ll also want to attend to the three other major forms of maintenance:
- Predictive Maintenance
According to NASA, predictive maintenance activities identify and resolve issues that are outside the preventative maintenance sphere and can help to reduce or eliminate unexpected machine failures. With healthcare imaging devices, predictive maintenance is especially significant considering how sensitive each individual imaging device can be. Adding a predictive maintenance overview of each machine on a regular basis will ensure that the inevitable erosion of parts or processes won’t disrupt the imaging services schedules.
- Systemic Maintenance
All parts of the imaging system must function at optimal capacity, and when some of those elements are failing, the entire system can break down. At the same time, although a failed system part might stop the work of an imaging device, that failure may also contribute to the erosion of function of the device, too. Consequently, techs and engineers should screen an entire system on a regular basis, to ensure each individual part is functioning independently and as an integral aspect of the system as a whole.
- Reactive Maintenance
Reactive maintenance is as it sounds: addressing the machine and system failures as they happen. Reactive support is the most expensive form of maintenance because the causal failures often stop work and require emergency repairs, which sometimes must also wait for parts to arrive.
If your clinic’s technical staff manages its time by following proper maintenance schedules, they will reduce the losses caused by the need for reactive maintenance.
Time Management During Emergencies
Quickly resolving a machine-related issue requires identifying what’s gone wrong and knowing how to fix it. Following this resolution process can help techs and engineers get every machine back online in the shortest amount of time:
- Identify the problem
With imaging devices, any type of failure can be disastrous, and your job is to fix the problem before a patient is affected. Often, the kind of problem and type of machine will suggest where the issue arises. Intermittent problems often signal that things are going awry within the technology. An increasing number of error codes, for example, might indicate corruption or bugs in the software or programming. Components can be damaged if the machine’s environment is compromised. Many imaging machines require a constant room temperature and a steady room humidity to function at optimal capacity.
- Address both cause and effect
Once you’ve identified the cause of the issue, it is critical to ascertain the effect of the failure on both the machine and the rest of the system. You’ll need to address every issue related to the causal factor to ensure that the machine is fully functional once it gets back online.
The use of all forms of medical imaging has exploded in the past two decades, and CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) reports that the number of imaging services provided for Medicare recipients has exceeded the growth of all other physician services combined.
The increased demand continues to escalate the pressure on imaging technicians and engineers to keep those machines operating at peak efficiency. However, even the best time management skills aren’t effective if the imaging machine isn’t working properly.
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