With an approximate population of 191,180, Salt Lake City, Utah sits in a mountain valley, but is still 4,330 feet above sea level. The four-season city is the capital of Utah.
Serving the needs of patients in the greater Salt Lake City area is Intermountain Healthcare. The not-for-profit health care provider has 37,000 employees as well as 1,500 doctors and caregivers. It’s clinical engineering department is responsible for 23 hospitals, over 185 clinics, 2,700 beds and has an inventory of over 100,000 pieces of medical equipment in service, including more than 8,600 unique models.
To handle such a large number of assets, the department is staffed by 112 members.
The size of the department, and the scope of its inventory, has resulted in an allocation of duties and responsibilities to cover the myriad of responsibilities that come with a large system.
“The Central Depot provides repair services for all mobile medical devices and utilizes the Supply Chain System for transportation of equipment back and forth to the facilities. Also, they utilize a field service model on the repair and maintenance of surgical lasers and simulation lab equipment,” Busdicker says.
“The Imaging Service Engineers are regionally based and receive service calls from the centrally located Service Coordination Center. Calls are updated through an automated process and we track response times through this process,” he adds.
“The Hospital Operations group provides on-site support for the service and maintenance of the medical equipment for the hospitals and clinics located within their regions,” Busdicker says.
Intermountain provides services to patients in three states, including Utah and parts of Idaho and Nevada. The medical equipment in the system’s inventory is valued at approximately $800 million.
The various groups that make up the department go about their work with dedication and cooperation.
“Each and every individual in this department is awesome, smart, creative, and dedicated to providing an extraordinary care to the community we serve. As the compliance manager, and someone who became part of the organization just a couple months ago, I got the opportunity to visit most of the Intermountain facilities during the internal CE audits,” Updendra says.
“During these audits, what I came across was extremely efficient and productive CE and IES folks. Everyone in the team was approachable and willing to share information, experiences, and challenges along with ideas for improvement,” she adds.
Keeping tabs on the service requests that come from the various facilities under the team’s care is the Central Support Department, consisting of a support service manager, service coordination center, a parts inventory coordinator and two business/data analysts.
“Each of our regions within the hospital operations group has a Regional CE Director and they provide support to local facilities within their area of responsibility. Each month, scheduled work orders are electronically assigned to technicians within the region and they close them through the CMMS,” Busdicker says.
“Unscheduled work orders are created and closed within each of the regions by the local technicians. Monthly reports are generated through the Central Support Function and tracked by Clinical Engineering Leadership,” he adds.
The reputation of the clinical engineering team, and the talent within its ranks, has been seen and heard outside the walls of Intermountain facilities.
“Members of the CESS team have been invited to present at annual conferences with AAMI, MD Expo, RSNA, ACHE, HIMSS and numerous workshops across the nation,” Updendra says. “During a medical device security workshop at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, I was delighted when an eminent person told me ‘Intermountain is a model health system and an ally in the west working on remarkable initiatives providing extraordinary patient care at affordable cost.’”
The team at Intermountain has made great strides in cybersecurity with its own internal initiative.
“Currently, the Clinical Engineering group is very involved with the cybersecurity project covering medical equipment. We have developed an internal application providing the organization with a risk score for each manufacturer and model within the health care system,” Busdicker says.
“This allows the organization to focus efforts on legacy systems to implement mitigating factors and processes to reduce risk associated with the equipment. Also, the application is used in the pre-purchase evaluation for new equipment and in the life cycle management of existing equipment. The CE Department is intimately involved with the scoring methodology, mitigating factors, data protection, and data removal,” he adds.
Some of the leadership of the department are also involved in the HTM profession beyond their duties on the job. Mike Busdicker is an active member of the AAMI Technology Management Council, member of ACHE, member of HIMMS and is involved with the local biomedical association in Utah. One of the Regional CE Directors is the president of the local Mountain West Healthcare Technology Association.
Intermountain’s clinical engineering department stays on top of a mountain of medical equipment and achieves results by directing specialized teams through a model of efficiency and good customer relations.
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