1980s

Medical Equipment Advances. During the 1980s medical equipment became more sophisticated. Designers utilized de­vices, techniques, and technologies that had been developed and then filtered down from NASA and military contract work and also focused more on safety. Included were ultra­sound imaging techniques, charge-coupled devices (CCD) first used in spy satellites now used in endoscopic cameras, solid – state electronics, integrated circuits, denser multilayer board packaging, microprocessors, and dedicated computers. Health care became more equipment-dependent. The number of med­ical devices purchased increased, and sophisticated medical programs and procedures grew in number. The services that the clinical engineer was requested to provide expanded from just maintenance, repair, and safety testing of medical equip­ment to include activities now considered to be part of an equipment management program, namely patient incident in­vestigation, medical device regulation reporting, equipment planning, and new equipment acquisition. This further in­creased the demand for clinical engineers.

Modification of Inspection Requirements

As the economics of health care started to change and funding became more scarce, the JCAHO modified its PM inspection frequency requirement, reducing it from quarterly to semi­annually. This was done to reduce the cost of compliance to health-care institutions. In 1988 JCAHO introduced risk – based management. This allowed institutions to create more realistic PM programs. Gone was the requirement that all electrically powered equipment had to be tested regularly. AAMI and NFPA electrical leakage test parameter specifica­tions also became less stringent.

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