Health care technology management viewpoints - Clinical engineers speak out

Health care technology management viewpoints - Clinical engineers speak out

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | May 09, 2015
From the May 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Purna Prasad

Skip Smith, CHI – We have three university hospitals in the CHI system, so we have a real demand for new technology. We have to balance this against the reality that capital spending is very surgical right now. We visit our hospitals every three years to set priorities for new equipment. All this is done working in tandem with the hospital administrator. To reduce costs, we’re also increasing training to develop in-house expertise to service equipment, rather than relying on OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer).

Jennifer Jackson, Cedars-Sinai – As I said, we’re interested in equipment that will integrate well across the EHR (Electronic Health Record). But we’re also just the right size with enough specialties to be able to have an opportunity to test new technology, such as some of the advanced imaging being created in CT. So this creates new demand for biomed services. Something we think has potential is using information from across the EHR to make computer-assisted predictive decisions about health risks, such as cardiac events.

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HCBN – How will HTM help hospitals and physicians achieve the goals set in the Affordable Care Act, such as value-based purchasing (VBP)?
Jim Keller, ECRI
- It’s always been the role of clinical engineering to help the hospital management to make good decisions about whether to buy a particular technology, so that hasn’t changed under ACA. But I do see more and more hospitals forming interdisciplinary VBP committees. Clinical engineering has an important role in these committees. These teams take a more evidence-based approach to decision making than perhaps has been done in the past – it’s not so much about what a particular doctor might want to purchase, for example. There is also a lot more emphasis on patient safety (a key focus of the ACA). So more review of the recall history or other safety matters for devices being considered for purchase will be an important part of the VBP process.

Paolo Zambito, LCMC Health – Our focus is on the patient experience and outcomes, so one of the things we’re looking at is how do we increase information access for patients? Because we have so many specialists and subspecialists, how do we make it easy for patients to make decisions about the doctor they need to see, down to making an appointment?

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