In the greater Cincinnati area, the Christ Hospital Health Network has been treating patients for 125 years. The main hospital campus, Christ Hospital, is located in the Mt. Auburn district of Cincinnati. The hospital has been nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report among large metro hospitals. It has also been awarded Magnet recognition for nursing excellence.
The hospital’s clinical engineering team lives up to their health network’s stellar reputation. The department began in October of 1979 and was briefly outsourced for a few years. Now it is back to an in-house model and the group has submitted a request to change the name of their department from Clinical Engineering to the contemporary moniker Healthcare Technology Management (HTM).
“The Christ Hospital Health Network (TCHHN) consist of the main hospital, 555 beds not-for-profit acute care facility; one Medical Office Building; seven Ambulatory Outpatient Centers (AOC); two Surgical Centers; one Urgent Care; and with a new hospital/medical center slated to open in 2018,” says Gregory Herr, MBA, CCE, CHTM, director of clinical engineering.
Herr’s department also consists of two managers, one supervisor, one biomedical lead (senior), three CVIS, four CE-IT biomeds, 13 biomeds (including two co-ops), six imaging specialists and a business operations supervisor.
The manager of CVIS/CE-IT/vascular tech is Douglas Wolff, BSEET, MIS. Janell Conner, BSBME is the manager of clinical engineering. Megan Haussler, BS, is the supervisor of Business Operations. The department reports to the Executive Director, Shared Clinical Services and Indirectly to the Chief Operating Officer.
CMMS is used for data collection.
“All service events, purchase order, purchase price, warranty and contact information, and technician hours are documented,” Herr says. “Reports, documentation for Joint Commission, Ohio Department of Health, etcetera are reported out of this CMMS.”
Each BMET/specialist has a tablet or laptop, which they carry whenever possible.
“Documentation is started with the call to the dispatch line and completed by the assigned person,” Herr adds.
One of the unique features of the department is its cutting edge internal IT sub-team. Herr points out that the group is part of clinical engineering, and is separated from the organization’s IT department.
“This CE-IT team covers the gray area between what is traditional in CE’s realm and IT’s realm. CE-IT is staffed with clinicians and engineers that have years of clinical experience but whom are also IT and tech savvy and are the liaisons between clinical staff, IT supporting clinical informatics systems, and device integration with Epic,” he says.
“However, our CE-IT team integrates with the hospital’s IT department in regards to computer owned hardware, hospital switches, and hospital interfaces. We encourage and try to develop a close working relationship with IT, and depend on them for key services. HTM calls going to IT help desk get referred to HTM, as well as IT calls to HTM,” Herr adds.
Responsible for an inventory of 22,393 assets, the department was “re-invented,” in Herr’s words, in 2012 when it was brought back in-house and resources for imaging and CE-IT were developed to minimize contracts. CVIS had been in-house all along.
The department handles budgeting and the managing of service contracts for medical devices.
“CE has two cost centers; one for hospital division and another cost center for physician division,” Herr says. “Contracts are aligned in these two groups based on ownership.”
The group has had its collective hands full the past few years with a number of projects.
“Since 2012, four Ambulatory Care Centers have been built, with CT, MRI, ultrasound, echo/vasc, cardiac, nuclear, digital rad, and mammo,” Herr says.
“Each AOC has new physician offices either created or relocated. In 2015, a second outpatient surgery center was developed in one of the AOCs. HTM acted as equipment planner and (handled the) installation of systems. HTM works with IT each time the EMR is upgraded, to test and update interfaces/integration between systems. A new Joint Spine Center at the main hospital location was completed in 2015. Having its own in-patient beds, OR and central rooms, imaging center, outpatient physical rehab and more,” Herr adds.
Herr says that the department acted in the capacity of equipment planners, coordinating purchase, installation and final check-off. And, he is already trying out the new proposed department label.
“Each year projects to replace systems, or expand, are scheduled, e.g. oncology, ED, etcetera,” he says.
Since 2012, when the department returned to an in-house service, the inventory has increased from about 8,200 devices to over 27,300. In 2012, the Christ Hospital had two physician offices and today there are over 160.
With some of these recent projects out of the way, the department got busy on a new set of projects in this current year.
More recent projects included the replacement of defibrillator/monitors, vital sign monitor replacement and integration with EMR, replacement of 900 IV pumps and integration with EMR in the next year – this is a CE project and most of the services provided were from the clinical engineering team members. The team is also tackling enterprise replacement of ICU and moving telemetry monitoring systems to a new platform and an upgrade of eICU A/V servers.
The rest of 2017 won’t offer much opportunity for putting on the brakes.
“Currently, we are building another medical center/hospital to be opened in January 2018 and estimate another 2,200 devices. We also act as the equipment planner for the medical equipment in this project,” Herr says.
The team also helps with the addition and on-boarding of three to five new physician practices a year. They have also assumed responsibility for UV-C cleaning robots and assisted radiology in bringing up dose monitoring system for CTs and have expanded the EKG system from cardiology to an enterprise system including physician offices.
Resourcefulness and the newest technology allowed the department to comply with a recent Joint Commission request. Herr says that they “designed and 3D-printed an antenna grommet for the ceiling to comply with a Joint Commission request to close a 1/8-inch gap. Over 200 were printed.”
The Christ Hospital Health Network Clinical Engineering Department certainly embodies their network’s tagline “Founded in Compassion. Driven by Excellence.” With a diverse skill set among it’s contingent, the department deserves to be recognized as “HTM,” as it continues to bring the evolution of HTM into its daily procedures and practices.
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