During the majority of human lifetimes, most people will come into contact with some form of medical equipment, from incubators when a baby is born, to X-ray machines when we fall over as children. Medical technology is constantly developing. Medical equipment can be separated into one of two categories: home based equipment and equipment which is used in professional medical facilities. Both of these categories include different sub-types, including diagnostic equipment, monitoring equipment, therapeutic equipment and life support equipment. All of these types of equipment work together to try to enhance the patient’s medical experiences and this equipment may ultimately be used in an attempt to save the lives of those who need to use it.
When people first become ill, or begin noticing the symptoms of an illness, they usually turn to a medical professional for assistance, and this is where medical equipment first comes into play. If the problem is not immediately obvious at first, the doctors will start to use diagnostic equipment such as X-ray machines, CAT Scans, MRI machines and Ultrasound equipment. Diagnostic equipment helps to paint a clearer picture of what is wrong, and once medical staff have a better idea about what is wrong, they have a better chance of being able to provide the successful medical treatments that the patient requires. If a patient must stay in the medical facility, they will usually come into contact with diagnostic equipment, such as ECG machines and blood pressure monitors, which are designed to help medical staff keep track of their patients’ health, to see whether they are improving, staying the same or getting worse. Therapeutic equipment such as infusion pumps, medical lasers and surgical machines are used to try to treat a patient’s medical problems. In some more severe cases, patients will need to use life support equipment, which may include ventilators, anaesthetic machines or dialysis machines, which are designed to help keep the patient’s body functioning as normal.
Most hospitals employ a highly qualified biomedical equipment technician, who is responsible for the care and maintenance of the facilities technical equipment. They will be fully trained to make sure that the complex range of equipment is working at the optimum level, whilst also being completely safe for the staff at the facility to use.
Home-based equipment has been developed to try to improve the quality of life of patients who are either aging, or have a chronic illness which would otherwise prevent them from going about their daily lives with ease. The term home medical equipment can actually cover a wide range of things, from inhalers to portable dialysis machines. Medical professionals often recommend the use of home equipment to people who would otherwise have to spend a lot of their time going in and out of medical facilities, or who have minor but easily treatable problems. If patients are able to get home equipment on their insurance, it can also help to cut the costs of extended medical treatment at a potentially overstretched medical facility.