In today’s changing healthcare environment, hospital spending is being closely monitored. With so much attention on the bottom line, allocating funds for new equipment is not something that is taken lightly. Often a committee of members from various disciplines is used to make purchasing decisions.


Let’s take a look at the key players that are likely to be involved when it comes time to purchase new portable suction equipment.


Trustees and Hospital Financial Administrators

The financial staff are going to be the ones who have an understanding of the hospital budget and will  guide the decision-making process with regards to available money. What are the hospital’s long term goals? What improvements will bring the most benefit to patients? What is the most cost-effective way to do this?  


Risk Management Staff

The goal of a risk manager is to reduce adverse patient events. Have previous suction products malfunctioned, and did it result in patient harm? Has suction been unavailable to patients at crucial times? Through risk management, reports of incidents such as these can be tracked, so that new equipment is purchased to mitigate similar risks.


Biomedical Engineering

When medical equipment is not functioning properly, it goes to Bio-Med for repair. For this reason, biomedical engineering can address how often previous suction equipment broke down or needed replacement. What were the most common malfunctions? How much did it cost to repair? On average, how long were the medical suction machines out of service? These are important factors to keep in mind when deciding upon new equipment.



Physicians are generally regarded as the leader of the clinical team, and as such, their opinions tend to be more focused on quality of care. How can a new suction device help in a code situation? In what areas of the hospital could we use these devices?  Physicians and other clinical staff members are less likely to be swayed by the cost of a machine and more likely to be influenced by its relative benefit to patients.


Nurses and Respiratory Therapists

As the primary end-users of portable suction machines within the hospital, nurses and respiratory therapists can provide a wealth of valuable information when it comes to buying new equipment. They can personally speak to issues that have arisen while using suction machines:  Was the suction difficult to regulate when going from an adult to a child? Was the battery life inadequate?


Nurses and respiratory therapists are also an excellent source for pointing out gaps in education that need to be rectified. What is preventing our fellow co-workers from using portable suction effectively?  What features of the equipment are hard to understand?  This will help guide the selection of user-friendly equipment, and these knowledge gaps can then be addressed while in-servicing employees on the new suction machines.


Investing in new medical equipment requires a careful balancing act of both administrative and clinical sides. Patient care remains the ultimate priority, and through careful consideration and compromise, well-informed decisions can be made.