Health technology (team!) management

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 03, 2020
From the May 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HTM normally stands for health technology management. But for Dustin Telford, clinical engineering manager at Children's Hospital & Medical Center Omaha, the “T” could also readily stand for team.

Telford manages seven-and-a-half full-time staff, with administrative support supplied through IT. His team’s day to day primarily revolves around making sure the organization’s medical equipment and healthcare technology is up and running, ready to serve patients. He also takes projects to integrate certain technologies with other technologies and spends a significant chunk of time evaluating risks around patient safety, working to minimize or eliminate those risks.

To keep the workflow flowing, the team uses a computerized maintenance management system. “We use it to track most of our projects, whether scheduled or unscheduled, our corrective maintenance, and those programs we get involved with when we assist other departments on multidisciplinary teams,” he says.

Most of that work is done using a dashboard feature to provide clear visibility on where projects sit. Telford says the organization is also rolling out a capacity management system soon that will help him and his team deliver better predictions regarding the bandwidth they have available to take on additional projects.

The team manages a robust menu of equipment. Telford says it’s a fairly short list for what’s outsourced. “It’s high-end imaging modalities because of the nature of the modality or because it’s a unique system,” he says. “So we outsource our MRs currently, although that’s under review. We outsource our nuclear medicine system, a unique system we’re installing later this month, which would be the first in the state of Nebraska. We also outsource a few of our lab devices primarily because of the contractual agreements we’ve developed. Lastly, in surgery we outsource a few higher-end devices, where there may not be a very good solution to training my staff or bringing in a third-party.”

The in-house work is accomplished even in the face of the reduction of manuals and other documentation from many vendors, which according to Telford, have become increasingly harder to obtain, even in pre-purchase agreements.

Telford says the primary decision about whether to add new equipment to the in-house maintenance list rests primarily on the expertise already held by his team and the prospects of educating them if more knowledge is needed, “So if there’s not a technical school available, that’s a very limiting factor,” he says.

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