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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

Then, once they have been referred, what is the best way to send information flow back to referring physicians so the best decisions are made for the patients? For us it’s achieving a rhythm, and rigor is paramount in following our strategic plan to achieve value in all our systems, including biomed. For instance, one of our strategies is to continue to restore primary care in our service area that took a hit after Katrina. Primary care is key in achieving the goals under the ACA and it needs a good functioning HER as well as integration with an HIE. Clinical engineering has a key role in creating that functionality. It is a biomed issue, but it’s really the same issue for every department – there can’t be silos to meet the challenges that lay ahead.

Patrick Harning

Patrick Harning, CHI – Everyone has to be on the same page about what is available on the EHR, which helps clinicians do their work efficiently. I think redundancy of information is important to make sure the info is always available to them in the event we have to shut any system down. The clinicians in the tech-heavy departments, such as in the OR and cath labs, are also counting on biomed to be savvy with smart new technology – including handheld devices - as a tool to help improve their workflow.

HCBN – What is the state of the relationship between HTM managers and clinical managers?
Purna Presad, Stanford Health Care
– Three years ago Stanford adopted LEAN as an enterprise-wide methodology to optimize work flow. Every day from 7:30 to 9:30 all calendars are blocked off so that the hospital leadership can make rounds in the hospital. On every unit, a biomed representative makes rounds with the manager to make sure that equipment is operating properly. In nursing units, ORs and cath labs, biomed prepares the equipment for use at the beginning of every shift change to make sure it is functional. This whole system approach has created a really good working floor not just between biomed and the clinicians on the floor, but all the ancillary departments, because it is the standard that our leadership models and expects.

Izabella Gieras

Izabella Gieras, Huntington Hospital – For the first time, those of us in health technology (HTM) are launching hospital-wide initiatives in order to achieve the device integration and information sharing that the bedside caregivers need and want. At the same time any change is stressful, so it’s part of our job now to help calm anxiety on the floors by being available to educate and consult as we go through a device conversion. But once the caregivers get used to the workflow improvement the devices bring by communicating with the EHR, we get called pretty quickly if they have to go back to the old way of manually charting because something is not working right. So this has changed the relationship for the better – biomed staff are much more visible and appreciated on the floors.

Jennifer Jackson, Cedars-Sinai – We all have the same job – to help the patient. It can be easy to get distracted from this point so we have to have confidence working together to pick the right strategy. Clinical managers want us to help optimize their workflow and we’re in a good position to support and help them. The first question is always: Is technology the answer to a problem? Because sometimes it isn’t. But the relationship has evolved where we can more easily have those kinds of discussions.

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