Jun 6, 2023 | Article

Maximizing ROI: Why a Usage-Based Maintenance Plan Supports SPDs

  1. Learn how to develop a preventative maintenance program tailored to specific SPD needs.
  2. Understand how to use preventative maintenance reporting in an instrument tracking system to increase the longevity and quality of your instruments.
  3. Identify the difference and benefits between managing maintenance based on time or usage.

Developing a solid preventative maintenance program for your instruments is a bit like going to the dentist. For most people, they know it’s important and likely could be better, but they aren’t exactly looking forward to the experience of creating a plan or revising one that’s already in place.

But, the good news is that preventative maintenance programs done right have huge benefits for healthcare facilities and sterile processing departments (SPDs). And it doesn’t have to be painful. With the right tools and processes in place, your team can utilize the benefits from a well-established program.

For one, your maintenance plan will increase the return on investment of each instrument by increasing the longevity and quality of your instruments. For another, the right plan will add efficiency to your instrument trays and improve outcomes in the operating room (OR). Plus, it helps keep your department compliant with national standards.

There are many different ways to approach preventative maintenance, but with the right tools and processes in place, you can ensure your team adopts a maintenance plan that fits into your schedule and processes instead of upending them.

Let’s look at how to navigate and maintain a schedule, the most effective way to set one up, and how you can use instrument tracking software to prolong your instrument life while supporting your day-to-day preventative maintenance tasks.



There are two ways to set up a maintenance schedule: time or usage. Which one you use depends on your specific needs. But we believe that you’ll have a better return on the investment of both your instruments and your maintenance schedule by following a usage-based maintenance plan. Let’s talk about why.

First, a time-based maintenance schedule is very easy to set up. You choose a frequency (maybe 30, 60, or 90 days). Then your preventative maintenance vendor inspects each instrument in the set. Seems easy, right?

Sure, it’s easy, but it means that instruments and trays that may not have been used in that time period are receiving maintenance, even though they don’t need it. And it treats every instrument the same. A laparoscopic cholecystectomy tray could have the same maintenance schedule as an open cholecystectomy tray, though one would have been used much more frequently than the other.

Surgical instrument maintenance needs aren’t an “apples to apples” comparison, because each tray is used differently. For example, a lap chole tray could get used ten times in a month, whereas an open chole may get used ten times a year. Setting up a maintenance schedule that meets the needs of your instruments will help save time and create a more efficient process across all aspects of maintenance.

A usage-based maintenance schedule will allow your team to develop maintenance processes that are tailored to your facility and help prolong the life of your instruments.



Want to know where to start to set up a usage-based maintenance schedule? There are a few ways to set your team up for success.

First, know your trays.

Know what’s getting used, how often, and how that’s impacting maintenance schedules. Using a tool like CensiTrac allows your team to do that automatically once you’ve established the parameters. Then, each time you scan an instrument or tray, you’ll be automatically notified when maintenance is needed.

Train your team.

Another important step is to train SPD technicians to recognize damage and empower them to pull and flag trays for service. This way everyone is proactive about keeping instruments in the best condition. Having rotational packs of instruments that need regular maintenance, like scissors, helps SPDs pull those that need maintenance without interrupting the flow of trays and systems your team already has in place.

Understand tray usage.

Track high-impact trays and low-impact trays. See which of your trays are used most often and train your teams to recognize the small steps they can take to prolong the usage and life of those instruments. Like lubricating instruments with milk, it can help cut down on repairs and decrease rust and staining on instruments.

Use CensiTrac reports.

CensiTrac provides your team with all the information you need right when each item is scanned. This makes it easy to establish and follow a preventative maintenance plan that seamlessly fits into your current workflow. And you can pull reports to know which items require maintenance, what items will soon need preventative maintenance, and what instruments are out being repaired. Deep insights you can get from your preventative maintenance documentation will save time and money, ensuring that the right items in their best condition are delivered where and when they’re needed.


Ready to get started? Talk with us today to learn how CensiTrac can help you establish a preventative maintenance program that will work within your already established processes and ensure you’re getting the maximum ROI on your instruments.


Take the Quiz to Receive Your CE Credits!