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

Tips to Ensure a Seamless Turnover During the Final Stages of a Healthcare Facility Construction or Renovation Project 

Bringing a healthcare construction or renovation project to life during the installation and activation of medical equipment is an exciting phase of the project – and a critical one for the medical equipment planner. 

Any issues that arise at this stage – for instance, if equipment doesn’t arrive on time, or issues occur with the installation – can jeopardize the project opening date. And of course, a delayed opening can result in millions of dollars of lost revenue per day. 

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

Here are best practices to follow to ensure success during this critical project phase. 

[DOWNLOAD THE FULL GUIDE: Attainia’s Guide to a Successful Medical Equipment Installation and Activation 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, and get the right people in place for each action item. 

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, be sure to layer in and account for the following: 

  • Work closely with the facility’s environmental services team to understand the terminal clean schedule. 
  • Also take into consideration phasing. Will specific floors or departments start opening to patients during the installation/activation phase in other areas of the facility? The equipment planner will need to prioritize those areas to be completed first, and then plan routes to avoid those areas after they open. 
  • Are any equipment vendors coming on site for installation or calibration?
  • Make sure the contractor has a team on hand on the appropriate dates to help with the installation of small fixtures, like glove boxes, sharps dispensers and hand sanitizers. 
  • Designate and schedule a clinical team member who will provide final sign off on all equipment and its location prior to the move team leaving. 

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: 

  • The appropriate number of staff required at any given point in time, and that all functional areas are represented. 
  • A plan for removal of bulk packing materials and other garbage created during the move-in. 
  • Instructions for the clinical staff who will be moving into the space. Do they need to go to a specific location and pick up the boxes of their office items, or will those be delivered to their new space? What do they do with the boxes after they have unpacked them? 
  • Directions for any steps the staff needs to take with the security team to get badge access within the appropriate areas of the new facility. 

4. Establish a secure staging area to receive, organize and set up equipment.

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 prior to deployment. 

Many stakeholders will need to enter the staging area to access, and potentially “borrow,” the equipment for setup. 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, it’s important for the equipment planner to have a plan to keep track of the equipment so that 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 for how to address any equipment- related issues that arise.

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: 

  • Equipment is broken or damaged upon receipt 
  • Equipment is missing 
  • The wrong equipment is received 
  • A utility is needed, such as a new electrical outlet or data drop

6. Coordinate a mock move to determine the fastest—and least disruptive—routes.

The entire activation team should be included on a trial-run of the move process, where 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 that is 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 seeing patients or will be open to patients at any point during the installation, the move team will have to create routes to avoid any floors or areas where patients are present and set up restrictions to keep patients and staff away from the route. 

7. Make sure you know the rules of the hospital’s receiving dock.

The equipment planner is responsible for coordinating any equipment that is 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 a detailed system for tracking the status of equipment.

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

Attainia’s powerful equipment planning platform makes this process easy. With Attainia: 

  • Equipment planners can attach purchase orders to each item in their equipment list for a quick reference of an order’s details and quantities. 
  • When a shipment arrives, the equipment planner can look at the shipment ticket and mark in Attainia that items have been received. 
  • Equipment planners can also note and track orders that are only partly fulfilled. 
  • A planner can also quickly note and track if an item is damaged. 

Ready to transform your medical equipment planning process?

Attainia’s industry-leading medical equipment planning platform supports the nation’s top healthcare, architecture, engineering and design organizations through all phases of the medical equipment planning process. If you’d like us to assess if Attainia is right for your organization, please request a customized demo.

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The Attainia Team