Background: In the current economic climate, hospitals and academic institutions demand that medical departments function in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Detailed business plans are necessary to build new clinical programs, and institutions have learned that new programs are associated with significant costs for purchasing and maintaining equipment. We report our experience with repairs to equipment before and after starting our interventional pulmonary (IP) program, and with the effect of an educational program on reducing these costs.
Methods: We retrospectively studied the costs of equipment repair in the 3 years preceding and in the 5 years following the development of an IP program in our institution, a university-based tertiary referral center. We also studied the effect of an educational program that was designed to enhance the skills of physicians and technical staff in handling the equipment.
Results: The cost of repairs to the equipment during the 3 years prior to the development of the IP program was $42 (US dollars) per procedure. In the initial 3 years following the start of the IP program, the yearly average cost rose 21% to $51 per procedure. After the introduction of the educational program, the yearly repair costs decreased by 84% to $8 per procedure. Based on our experience, we estimate that a reasonable budget for the cost of repairs is $50 per procedure.
Conclusions: An educational program was effective in dramatically decreasing the costs of equipment repair after initiating an IP program. This is the first study to offer budgetary guidelines for equipment repair in an IP program and to demonstrate that an educational program can effectively reduce costs.