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From servicing under fire in Iraq to evolving under the ACA, clinical engineers rise while facing many challenges

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | August 05, 2015
From the August 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Clint McCoy

As much of the health care management technology professional workforce ages out and retires, the skills required at all levels in the field are evolving quickly. Busdicker, with Intermountain, said that more and more, all of their leadership positions require a master’s degree to be considered for the job. Grogan, at Wake Forest, stated that he is often finding the replacement staff he needs in the ranks of veterans leaving the military. “In one interview I asked a candidate how he would handle the situation if a key piece of equipment went down in the OR and the surgeon was demanding that he get it up and running ASAP,” Grogan recalled. “He told me that he had fixed tanks under fire in Iraq so he was sure he could figure out a way to meet the surgeon’s needs.

I hired him and he’s become one of my best engineers.” There were other trends noted. When asked about their workloads, most interviewed said they have had to develop strategies to keep up with staffing requirements. These tactics include: cross training staff to service multiple types of equipment; allowing flex scheduling; and in some cases adding a second biomed shift in hospitals. Most of the sources also agreed that somewhere between 10-20 percent of their imaging equipment could be considered “old” — meaning the OEM did not support it any longer.

Jennifer Jackson

This number was slightly higher for non-imaging equipment, with about 30 percent labeled as “old.” But old does not always mean the equipment cannot be made useful with commitment and creativity.
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