How to Write a Medical Equipment Management Plan
By Matthew F. Baretich, P.E., Ph.D.
The Medical Equipment Management Plan (MEMP) is a roadmap for healthcare technology management departments. If your organization is accredited by the Joint Commission accreditation, the MEMP is required. The good news is that we get to create our own roadmaps, as long as we stay within Joint Commission rules.
The MEMP is also a great way to communicate the good work we do — to the people we report to, to professional colleagues in our healthcare organizations, and to our future selves when we need to be reminded where we’re headed. It also gives structure to the annual Environment of Care program evaluations, also required by the Joint Commission.
My recommendations about how to write a medical equipment management plan were published as a feature article in the February 2016 edition of 24×7 magazine, which you can access for free. It’s based on my conversations with Joint Commission surveyors and my experiences as a clinical engineering consultant reading all-star MEMPs, no-star MEMPs, and everything in between.
Here are some key points:
Write for your readers. Keep in mind that the purpose of the MEMP is to tell the reader exactly how your organization complies with every medical equipment-related standard and every associated element of performance (EP). Adding extraneous material only makes it difficult for the reader to find the essential stuff.
It’s not about you. Sorry to break it to you, but the MEMP is not actually about your HTM department; it’s about how the organization as a whole complies with Joint Commission standards. If your department fixes non-medical equipment (like, say, office computers), that fact doesn’t need to be in the MEMP. If the hospital radiology department manages its own imaging equipment, the MEMP needs to say how that is managed.
Spell it out. You should include the text of each standard and EP within your MEMP, but that’s not enough. You need to include a brief description, perhaps a moderately sized paragraph, about how your organization complies with each EP. As part of the “how we do things here” description, be sure to state clearly what position in the organization is responsible for compliance, where the documentation resides, and what specific policy the reader should refer to for more detail.
One last bit of advice. When my clients are having trouble writing a description of how their organizations comply with a particular EP, I ask them to put the existing MEMP aside and just tell me in their own words how things work. If I ask, for example, how the hospital handles recall notices, they almost always respond easily with a few sentences that capture, in plain language, the essential elements of the process. Then I say, “Let’s write it down, exactly the way you just said it.” After that, with a little bit of light editing, you’re done.
© 2019 Baretich Engineering, Inc. This article was first published as a blog post at baretich.com.