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Downtime ... is a measure of the time that a piece of equipment is completely unusable or in an only partially unusable condition. The most logical measure of equipment downtime is the total time that elapses from the moment the equipment is considered to be in need of attention, to the time that it is available to be put back into clinical service. However, in the practical world, if the device is covered under a business contract, this logical definition is modified to take account of only the business hours (time periods when the device is required to be available for use) for which the device is covered by the maintenance contract. In some situations this could be around the clock, seven days a week, but is more likely to be 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

It is also customary for contracts to include a provision to reduce the calculated downtime if the equipment is only partially disabled and can still be used for some patient procedures. The designated “percentage down” factors may be 100% (hard down) and 50% (partially down), or some other agreed-to values. In such situations the percentage downtime calculation will have as its numerator the aggregate number of covered hours that the device was out of service for a certain time period, such as three months, as reduced by the agreed "percentage down" factor; and the denominator will be the total number of covered hours during that same time period. This fraction is conventionally expressed as a percentage.

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