Today’s medical facilities are using more advanced devices and components than ever before. While the technology being used delivers an unheard of level of patient care, there are also many safeguards that must be put in place. This includes a thorough review of the compatibility of all medical devices being used in a given procedure. Here’s what you need to know about medical device compatibility from US Medical Systems, a leader in biomedical repair, medical equipment, and surgical services.

In many clinical settings, medical devices are grouped by systems, sets, or suites by their function according to medical specialization. The level of compatibility that allows different units to work together is possible because of standardization. Manufacturers use standardized connections, mountings, interfaces, specifications, and data protocols, just to name a few. Some standards are more or less universal, while others are country- or area-specific.

To a great degree, compatibility is also manufacturer-specific. Some manufacturers explicitly state that their devices are not compatible with other manufacturers’ products, while others claim compatibility with certain devices or certain characteristics. In reality, no device is absolutely autonomous. While compatibility may be supported on the accessory level, it may not be supported on the critical unit level. With the current level of mergers and acquisitions in the medical equipment industry, it’s only logical that there should be a growing trend towards compatibility. And if compatibility claims are made by a manufacturer, they must be supported by relevant testing that demonstrates safe and unimpaired performance of a device combination.

Another compatibility aspect that must be considered is electromagnetic interference from other devices that may be used in close proximity. Electromagnetic compatibility is extremely important because a medical device’s vulnerability and susceptibility to different types of electromagnetic energy can compromise its safety. MRI compatibility stands as a separate issue due to the well-known risks associated with this procedure. The presence of magnetic materials can turn devices into deadly projectiles and a scanner’s magnetic fields and radiofrequency energy can interfere with the other devices’ functions. In turn, a device introduced into an MRI environment can alter the scanner images and affect the scan results.

Medical equipment service companies like US Medical Systems deal with these types of compatibility issues on a daily basis and a have a deeper understanding of this problem on a component level. Biomedical repair services, including part replacement, should take into account several compatibility aspects, including software version compatibility, hardware compatibility, and EMI. Since we work with different device brands, we often have more experience with and knowledge about the compatibility of devices from different manufacturers.

To learn more about the compatibility of your medical equipment call US Medical Systems at our Fort Mill, SC office. We provide biomedical repair services and surgical services with an unmatched attention to detail and focus on device safety.