A Day in the Life of a Biomedical Equipment Technician


Every day in hospitals around the country, biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs) ensure mission-critical equipment is accessible, reliable, and safe for patient care. They’re trained professionals who harness an array of skills to care for medical equipment, from routine calibration and maintenance to urgent repairs of life-sustaining devices. However, hospitals rely on BMETs for much more than maintenance and repair.

Biomed techs conduct meticulous testing protocols to ensure that equipment functions optimally and complies with regulations. They upgrade device software and support connected device systems, minimizing network and security issues. And biomedical equipment technicians train clinical staff on the proper use of medical devices to reduce the risk of user error.

Hospitals depend on their attention to detail, rapid problem-solving, and ability to handle pressure. Without BMETs, hospitals would struggle to manage the complex relationship between technology and clinical care.

As hospitals cope with an ongoing BMET shortage, the work of biomedical equipment technicians becomes even more important. Explore what these critical employees do each day and how they contribute to hospital operations.

It’s All in a Day’s Work

Orders coming in from the floor will always take the highest priority for BMETs. Whether it’s rebooting a device for a clinician, fixing small issues on the spot, swapping out a malfunctioning device, or completing a major repair with a quick turnaround, BMETs are always contributing to patient care. These tasks may sound straightforward, but they require versatility and ingenuity.

Emergency Response: Immediate Action Required

Like physicians, nurses, and other clinicians, BMETs must respond immediately to emergency situations. Each emergency presents a unique challenge that must be met with speed and skill.

For instance, when a sudden influx of critical care patients from another hospital arrives, BMETs have to leap into action, with all hands on deck. Alero Olomajeye, BMET III at Elite Biomedical Solutions, says she’s seen this scenario more than once. “Every time, the BMET team has to track down all available equipment in the hospital...every spare piece we have in order to meet demand. A new unit has to be set up and ready to go within hours," she says.
“There are the big emergencies, but also the smaller ones,” Greg Seibert, BMET II at Elite Biomedical Solutions points out. “Sometimes you just have to go turn [a piece of equipment] off and turn it back on. But you do have to go there right away. You might get a call from a nurse saying, ‘Hey, this device just stopped working and it’s on a patient – we need to keep this medicine going.’ You know you have to swap out that device. You’re already on your way.”

Special projects and preventive maintenance

In between patient-centered tasks, BMETs work on smaller and ongoing projects. These can include preventive maintenance (PM), or time-consuming searches to find specific replacement parts. Biomed techs keep up with OEM software updates, ensuring devices are operating on the most current framework, so they continue functioning optimally and efficiently. They also work with IT to integrate equipment into connectivity platforms and to maintain the security and integrity of device networks.

Based on specific skillsets, training, or experience, biomedical equipment technician teams or individuals may be assigned larger projects, such as setting up equipment in new hospital units or incorporating a new type of medical device into the existing fleet. This work could include installation, testing, troubleshooting, and training and more.

Saving money for hospitals

Keeping high-quality parts in stock at a hospital can prevent asset downtime caused by OEM backorders. Tracking down the ideal product has other benefits too. “If you can get a good quality replacement part at a lower price than what the OEM sells it for, you're going to not only have a really good product to give back to the patient, but you're going to help the hospital or company you're working for save money as well,” explains Seibert, “BMETs are always looking to save money,” says Olomajeye, who worked in hospitals for 20 years before joining the Elite team. “When I worked in a hospital, we were always looking for less expensive parts. It’s always in the back of my mind, ‘Can I get the same part, the same quality from it from a third party?’ That is an ongoing thing for all biomeds. It's kind of in our constitution.”

By performing timely OEM software updates, BMETs support equipment longevity, lowering the total cost of ownership. Maintaining continual device connectivity ensures that critical health and medication information is available at the point of care, reducing the risk of errors that could cause dangerous — and expensive — repercussions. BMETs also install the latest software security patches to protect devices and networks against costly cybersecurity incidents.

Keeping clinicians informed

Ensuring that clinicians understand how to operate medical equipment is vital for care delivery and safety. Hospitals rely on biomedical equipment technicians to conduct presentations and trainings. The biomed tech might also take the initiative to schedule a clinician tutorial if they notice a high occurrence of device failures due to user error.

At the end of the day…

On every shift, BMETs make critical contributions that positively impact patient care and hospital operations. Specialized knowledge allows biomedical equipment technicians to support clinicians and enhance patient safety and treatment outcomes. And by upholding the highest standards, biomed techs ensure that all medical equipment functions effectively and reliably. While they may not always be in the spotlight, BMEs’ behind-the-scenes skill and dedication are crucial for high-quality hospital care.

To learn more about how biomedical equipment technicians keep hospitals working, check out:

Top Tips For Supporting Your BMET Workforce

How Biomed Techs Can Contribute To Cybersecurity

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