August 13, 2013 | | Comments 1
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Hey, how about that new app(liance focus during TJC surveys)?

I don’t know that it represents a significant focus change or if it’s just one of those blips that one might encounter when you hear about survey results, but there is a little groundswell relative to the management of appliances (basically everything that is not clinical equipment, which it appears could extend to utility systems equipment, but there’s no clear sense of that just yet).

I think we can agree than the healthcare environment is chock-a-block full of all manner of devices and appliances from toasters and microwave ovens to refrigerators; from desk lamps to radios and who knows what else. So in that great expanse of possibilities, there have been at least two recent surveys in which the process for managing these types of appliances/devices have come under come scrutiny, resulting in some RFIs for folks.

Now, there are no specific standards or EPs that speak to the management of these appliances/devices, but it appears that where opportunities in this realm are being funneled is our old friend EC.02.01.01, generally a “there was no policy or risk assessment in place to indicate how the risks associated with…” (quotes are mine as I am paraphrasing the general concept). Not that long ago we talked about how far one might need to go when it comes to the ever-present specter of the risk assessment process, and I guess the short answer is: Here’s another instance to flex the ol’ risk assessment muscles.

And so I ask of you: How are you guys managing these pesky appliances? Incoming functional safety inspection (you turn it on and presto, it works) with periodic visual inspections during surveillance rounds? Regularly scheduled preventive maintenance (PM) activities? Re-inspection when something gets busted and is repaired? Inquiring minds (as they are wont to do) await your input!

Entry Information

Filed Under: Environment of careThe Joint Commission


Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at

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  1. Hi Steve,
    One of our satellite laboratories reported the following after a TJC inspectior of the clinic:

    She asked to see the eye wash and our records of flushing it weekly. She ran the eye wash for several minutes to ensure the water was tepid.
    She liked the design of turning on when you pull it over the sink. Note to Safety Team, she said we should flush for 5 minutes each week (not 3).

    Is the 5 minute vs 3 minute flush a recommendation or a requirement?

    Anita L. Iwanski, MBA, MT(ASCP); Lab Manager: Toxicology & Manual Chemistry Lab; Dermatopathology Lab
    UW Health – UWHC University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, Room D4/248
    Office: (608) 263-9006, Page: (608) 265-7000, Pager ID# 8048, Tox Lab: (608) 263-7029 DP Lab (608) 265-1682

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