If You Work in Healthcare, You Should Know About EC6.10 and 6.20

by David Scott on February 4, 2013

Several weeks ago, I briefly touched on the topic of EC6.10 and 6.20. In case you can’t recall, both are pronouncements issued by the Joint Commission (JCAHO) that define the standards for dealing with preventive maintenance of medical equipment.  If you work in healthcare, it is quite likely you have a preliminary understanding of some of the key issues around the care and use of a variety of medical devices.  With EC 6.10 and 6.20, JCAHO has not only heightened the awareness on these topics, but defined issues that will impact accreditation.  So, here are a few questions you can ask yourself (if you don’t know the answers to these questions, you should have some concerns):

  1. Does your job require you to use medical equipment?  If yes, can you describe or demonstrate operating and safety procedures for equipment use?
  2. How do you know if the medical equipment you are using is working properly and safe to use?
  3. What should you do if medical equipment breaks of does not function correctly?
  4. Within your organization, who should you call about problems (failures/malfunctions) with medical equipment?
  5. How can you tell if equipment has been inspected by the Engineering department?
  6. What should you do if patient injury is caused by equipment failure?

There are many great articles regarding EC 6.10 and EC 6.20 that you can find on the web.  One that I refer to often comes from 24x7mag.com and was written by Arif Subhan, MS, CCE.  The article intelligently addresses many of the issues and concerns.  Another source to refer to is right here, also over at 27x7mag.com.

From a maintenance management perspective, EC 6.10 and 6.20 drive a need for identification, compliance, and tracking of routine maintenance requirements.  The equipment manufacturers provide guidance related to what is expected in terms of routine and preventive maintenance.  JCAHO makes it clear that you are expected to follow those guidelines and be able to produce proof of compliance through maintenance records.  Whether or not this is an “undue burden” is no longer part of the discussion.  So, how does your organization handle these issues?

Having a system where you can formally track an asset, define preventive maintenance requirements, identify maintenance already performed, and in general track issues related to operability of a piece of equipment is crucial in healthcare.  JCAHO has defined the expectation and your organization must now have systems in place that not only allow you to meet those requirements, but to pass an inspection (called a “survey”).  If you are not sure where to start, now is a good time to get started. If you have questions, we can help.

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