Pittsburgh 2012 Annual Biomedical Conference

May 16, 2012 - Penn State New Kensington 
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This is the Capital Equipment Replacement Formula that will be presented at the conference.

Please help us by testing the formula and giving us feedback.


A research project to benefit clinical engineering department managers is being conducted by the Biomedical Engineering Technology Department of Penn State University, New Kensington campus by instructor Myron Hartman and student Garry Weber. The project is attempting to develop a formula to project the useful life of a (capital) medical device for budgetary purposes.  To assess the utility of the proposed formula, we are seeking input and comment from members of the medical equipment management community. We welcome all comments and especially your criticism as we attempt to refine the formula’s accuracy and functionality.



Preparing a medical device replacement budget is one of the central tasks of a clinical engineering department manager. This replacement budget must accurately anticipate the useful life of medical devices some years into the future. The American Hospital Association (AHA) provides a table listing the useful life of medical devices; however, this listing is only a rough guideline. The AHA recommended useful lives cannot take into account the variety of uses, and the shifting regulatory and technology environment that may significantly affect the useful life of a medical device.


Your Participation

The formula (see “Explanation” below) under development attempts to account for these factors. The formula has been incorporated in an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet and survey information are available at: http://pittsbiomedconference.com/Formula-Project.php 

The spreadsheet is at the bottom of the page, click on “EquipmentReplacementCalculator.xls” and it will open.


To test the formula we ask that you to apply it to an: ECG Monitor, Infusion Pump, X-Ray Room, and Defibrillator. We would like to know how the results of the formula match the results you would expect from your own experience.


After trying the formula please complete the short survey on the right side of the same web page. With your assistance we hope to create a formula that will allow managers to quickly and accurately project their budgetary needs and to present an empirically based assessment to the hospital’s C Suite. 


As we continue to improve the accuracy of the formula, the results will be presented at the Fall 2011 MD Expo in Orlando Florida.


Please note:

Except for the yellow data input cells, the spreadsheet is locked.


Disclaimer and Confidentiality

1. The formula is unverified and at this time is in no way suitable to provide guidance with respect to a hospital’s medical equipment replacement requirements.

2. We request that you keep all these materials confidential except for the purposes of providing comment and input to the researchers.



The “Equipment Replacement Calculator” uses the AHA table to provide a baseline useful life.  This baseline is then subjected to several adjustment factors derived from variables that most affect a medical device’s useful life.


To calculate the values of the adjustment factors, the department manager scores the device on a rubric assessment; for example, how well the device meets the standard for patient care.  The cumulative affect of the adjustment factors is to adjust the baseline up or down in order to provide a projection of the useful life of the device as it is employed by the hospital.




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The formula used is:

(AHA – YearsSvc)(AU)(ME)(SR)(PC)(T)




AHA Guide useful life


Number of years device has been in service

Adjustment Factors


Application and Use


Maintenance Expense (Cumulative amount of money spent to maintain device to date.)


Safety and Risk


Patient Care