The term “medical device” is very broad, encompassing all devices medical personnel use to treat, diagnose, and prevent a medical disease or condition without chemical actions on the body. We can break down these devices into three classes. Class I include low-risk devices, such as bandages and IV poles. Class II includes intermediate-risk devices, like CT scanners and patient monitors, and Class III is any high-risk device, like pacemakers and spinal stents.
All medical facilities need a combination of devices to treat patients. If you’re starting your own practice or are a department manager stocking up on equipment, it can be hard to determine what you need. To help you get on the right track, let’s review the top medical devices you need for your facility.
All medical facilities, regardless of practice or specialty, harbor germs. This means a sterile environment should be the top priority. Unfortunately, hand washing can only get you so far. Medical equipment needs to be cleaned and sterilized thoroughly, but you may not have a sterilization and processing department at your disposal. Autoclave sterilizers use steam to kill harmful microbes. They come in various sizes to accommodate different facilities.
Scrub sinks are essential medical devices; they are critical for maintaining a sterile environment and are necessary in every medical facility. Medical staff need to wash their hands before coming into contact with a patient, even for a simple examination. Unfortunately, the average kitchen sink won’t do. Scrub sinks should be stainless steel, and medical staff shouldn’t have to touch any part of the sink to wash their hands.
Medical staff use anesthesia machines to provide a continuous flow of anesthetic gases, including nitrous oxide, oxygen, and isoflurane. These devices help medical personnel mix vapors and provide the necessary amount of gas to patients with pinpoint accuracy. A high-quality anesthesia machine should do more than deliver anesthetic gases. It should also have patient monitoring devices that allow you to keep track of the patient’s heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation.
EKGs and ECGs are both electrocardiograms with different spellings of the same thing. EKG is the abbreviation for the German spelling of electrocardiogram—elektrokardiogramm. This machine monitors the electrical signal from the heart using electrodes that medical staff place on specific areas of the patient’s chest.
This allows healthcare providers to monitor the heart for any signs of anomalies or abnormalities in the rhythm. Many patients come into healthcare facilities with shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain, which could be signs of a cardiac event. The easiest way to diagnose this issue is with an electrocardiogram.
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
Healthcare providers can use a defibrillator to restore the heart’s natural rhythm. There are three distinct types of defibrillators: implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), wearable cardioverter defibrillators (WCDs), and automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Every medical facility should have an AED at the least, as it is easy to use and comes with instructions that untrained persons can follow during an emergency.
Patient monitors are among the most important pieces of medical equipment in a healthcare facility. They allow medical staff to monitor the following vitals:
• Carbon dioxide
• Blood pressure
• Heart rate
• Respiratory rate
Not every facility needs an advanced model that tracks every one of these vitals. Smaller practices need to monitor basic vitals such as heart and respiratory rates at the very least.
Stretches and Gurneys
Although people use these words interchangeably, stretches and gurneys are two different things. There are many different types of stretchers, all of which medical staff can use to transfer a patient safely from one area to the next. Gurneys are a type of stretcher with wheels. Stretchers are ideal for emergency situations in rough terrain or when medical staff need to move a patient onto a gurney. Conversely, gurneys are best suited for indoor applications, such as a hospital setting.
Exam and Surgical Tables
Every medical facility will need either exam or surgical tables. Their difference is simple. Exam tables allow patients to sit or recline comfortably while a doctor reviews their condition. Surgical tables keep patients in place while a trained professional performs a procedure. Manufacturers don’t design surgical tables with comfort at the forefront, as patients are often under sedation while atop surgical tables.
Many medical practices, including dermatology and pulmonary medicine, use electrosurgical units (ESUs) in day-to-day procedures. Electrosurgery includes the use of high-frequency electrical currents to heat tissue. In doing so, trained medical staff can incise or destroy tissue and control bleeding quickly and easily. These electrical currents travel at such a high frequency that they do not damage muscle or nerve endings. Instead, they create heat at the cellular level.
Fluid and Blanket Warmers
Fluid and blanket warmers are simple but provide an essential service to medical facilities everywhere. Keeping intravenous fluids warm and using blankets to keep patients warm (normothermia) is important for many medical facilities. When a patient can maintain normothermia, they can recover quickly. A warm patient is a happy patient!
You never know when a patient will need help moving from one place to another. They may be too weak to operate an electric wheelchair and will need to be pushed by medical staff. Every medical facility should have non-electric wheelchairs on hand, regardless of whether elderly, disabled, or immobilized patients frequent the facility. They keep your facility inclusive and disability-friendly.
Medical facilities are fast-paced and ever-changing, which means response times need to be just as fast, if not faster. Crash carts carry essential supplies and allow medical staff to dispense life-saving medication and equipment in emergencies. This equipment shortens response time and the time between the emergency and treatment. As a result, they increase the chances of a patient’s survival. You’ll often see a defibrillator, breathing equipment, IV supplies, and common medications such as adenosine, epinephrine, lidocaine, nitroglycerin, and vasopressin in crash carts.
Now that you know the top 12 medical devices you need for your facility, let Future Health Concepts, Inc. provide you with the best equipment. With over 45 years of experience, we’re dedicated to providing you and your facility with high-quality medical devices at affordable prices. Shop new and refurbished equipment and replacement parts at our easy-to-navigate website.