Laboratory Equipment Maintenance Program – Penn State Hershey Medical Center

>>[Music] Our lab is involved in looking
at the initial changes in cancer, so how a normal cell becomes a cancer cell.>>All throughout the College of Medicine
at Penn State Hershey researchers are hard at work looking for those small discoveries
that may eventually lead to cures for any number of diseases. Just as a carpenter relies
on his hammer and saw, researchers need their lab equipment for their experiments. Devices
like incubators and centrifuges, autoclaves, and biosafety cabinets.>>Before this process, every laboratory in
the college was an island to it self.>>Actually about 350 islands. That’s how
many labs are spread across several buildings using thousands of pieces of lab equipment.
Because each lab acts independently, there was never a system put in place to help inventory,
maintain, and track all of these tools of the research trade. That created waste and
inefficiency.>>We didn’t have a good idea when we first
started this program about how much equipment we really did have, and, yeah, it’s over 4,000
pieces of equipment are in our inventory right now, and that’s quite a lot.>>So we had a hard time wrapping our arms
around all of the dollars that were being spent.>>So a small team in the new Research Quality
Assurance office took it upon themselves to develop a new approach, one that would allow
researchers to spend less time maintaining their equipment and more time researching.>>Principal investigators have a lot going
on. I mean, they’re doing their experiments, they’re working on funding. This is one other
thing that we could take from them that they wouldn’t have to worry about.>>With so much equipment spread across so
many labs, that was easier said than done. The team set out to create a defined inventory
system for all 4,000 pieces of equipment.>>Now, this is what the RQA program is all
about, which is the inventory of the equipment, and in this case it’s a biological safety
cabinet.>>Now all lab equipment is properly tagged
and tracked, and when equipment is due to be calibrated or serviced, researchers can
simply reach out to the RQA team rather than having to manage that process themselves.>>It leaves me time to do more of my research,
less of maintaining the equipment. So it’s been working out well.>>Over the last two years we’ve seen our
repair costs decrease, we’ve seen the maintenance schedule get less, and, you know, in other
words, we’re not having as many service calls.>>Not only have repair costs dropped, overall
lab maintenance expenses are down by more than 10%. The initiative is winning praise
for saving both time and money.>>When they presented this, there was…
we weren’t all sure how it was going to work, but I really feel in the past couple of years
it has come together, and I think we really appreciate them taking the initiative to get
it started.>>The program has been so successful, the
RQA team has been invited to present their work at conferences so that other research
centers can learn how to implement a similar inventory and maintenance system.>>It’s rewarding. It’s something that we
know is helping the institution, and that’s what we really wanted to do.>>We work hard every day, but we don’t always
get to see a program of this type develop as a result of our work, and it’s… it feels
good. That’s my reward at the end of the day.>>There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t
enjoy coming here. [Music] Sounds a little cheesy, but I mean that because there’s just
so much good research going on around here. [ Music ]

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