Introduction to Medical Equipment Inventory Management. (WHO Medical Device Technical Series)
(2011; 36 pages) [French] [Spanish]


Equipment inventory is an essential part of an effective health-care technology management (HTM) system. In order to be effective in assisting with various HTM activities, the inventory must be updated continually so that it provides at any given moment a correct look at the status of medical equipment within the health-care facility.

Update points include initial data collection; as information is updated, such as when a new piece of equipment arrives or is retired; and during annual inventory audits. The inventory of medical equipment is used in conjunction with inventories of additional supportive assets, such as consumables, spare parts, and testing and safety tools and equipment. Inclusion of equipment in an inventory is decided through a risk-based analysis in order to ensure appropriate time and resource allocation, and to eliminate unnecessary work. The health-care facility decides on the level of detail of data to be included in its inventory, in order to satisfy its own requirements and according to its own capabilities. Inventory management is done through a paper-based or computer based system, as determined by the resources available.

Once established, the inventory serves as the foundation for moving forward within the HTM system and ensuring safe and effective medical equipment. The inventory may be used to develop budgets for capital purchases, maintenance and running costs; to build and support an effective clinical engineering department, by allowing for workshop planning, hiring and training of technical support staff, and establishing and maintaining service contracts; to support an effective medical equipment management programme, such as planning preventive maintenance activities and tracking work orders; and to plan the stock of spare parts and consumables. The inventory may also be used to support equipment needs assessment within the health-care facility and to record the purchase, receipt, retirement and discarding of equipment. Facility risk analysis and mitigation, and emergency and disaster planning, are also supported by an inventory.

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