by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | July 07, 2020
From the July 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
In addition to bringing more equipment maintenance in-house, OhioHealth was able to save by reducing the number of suppliers and thereby becoming a larger and more important customer to the suppliers still left in the mix.
All these decisions proved incredibly important this year when the COVID pandemic hit. Kirsop was asked to pick up HTM leadership for a time so the current director could focus on leading key virtual health work. He says the team was able to accelerate planning quickly to determine alternatives to process where needed. That resulted in not having to remove equipment, while at the same time keeping the HTM team’s exposure minimized.
“We were fortunate because of the systems we had in place and because of quick decisions from leadership. OhioHealth designated certain of our sites and units to handle COVID patients,” he says.
That kept equipment in other sites safe for maintenance and inspection. While the system was able to purchase a few additional ventilators, Kirsop says there was also strong effort to actively manage and look at utilization of units every day to make sure there were enough available to care for patients.
Creative solutions also cropped up to help maximize efforts of staff. “We took an idea from one of our respiratory managers who likes to do 3D printing and developed a little adapter for the top of an IV pole,” he explained. “The adapter holds the control panel for an invasive-capable ventilator. From there, we worked with a local university to 3D-print the adapters, got longer cables and we were able to move those control panels outside the patient rooms, greatly reducing exposure for that patient’s care team.
The clinical engineering team was also able to get ahead on equipment maintenance, meaning everything will be ready and waiting when elective procedures are humming along once more.
Work will also continue to ensure staff stays vigilant when it comes to infection control training and proper use of PPE. Everyone went through review and retraining in March and additional protocols were also created to determine proper methods to interact with equipment and patient rooms to minimize exposure.