When you think of Ohio State University, you might think first about Buckeye football, Woody Hayes, Archie Griffin or the fact that the university is one of the top-20 public universities in the country. The university has a storied past, along with impressive academic credentials.
The university is based in Columbus, Ohio with satellite campuses in six other locations across the state. The main campus provides academic programs to more than 59,000 students.
On the medical side, the university has some impressive credentials as well. The Ohio State University College of Medicine is among the top 40 medical schools in the U.S.
The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center offers major programs in critical care, heart, neurosciences, cancer, transplantation and imaging. Between the hospital, and its affiliated network of care centers, more than a million patients a year are served. University Hospital is the flagship patient care facility within the group.
It takes an elite team of HTM professionals to live up to the reputation and demands within this prestigious environment. The Department of Clinical Engineering Services at Ohio State Wexner is made up of 56 team members and oversees the medical equipment maintenance program for seven hospitals — cancer hospital, heart hospital, brain and spine hospital, med/surg general hospitals, community and mental health — and 60 plus ambulatory sites. Within these facilities, there are 1,368 total in-patient beds.
Leadership within the department includes Anthony McCabe, associate director of biomed and radiation therapy service; Richard Eldridge, associate director of imaging service; Richard Roettger, service manager of biomed; and Susan Brokus, office manager.
Team leads include QA Coordinator Polly Oberman, QA Coordinator David Criss, Senior Clinical Engineering Biomed Specialist Robert Passwaters, Senior Clinical Engineering Imaging Specialist Warren Olds, Senior Clinical Engineering Lab Specialist Fadi Alawad and Linear Accelerator Engineer Trey Divelbiss.
“Other that the practical design and workflows of patient care areas in both inpatient and outpatient settings, we’ve been heavily involved with linear Accelerator vault designs for second-floor mass installations including a trio suite of Linac, MRI and Brachy suite; Hybrid ORs, alarm fatigue initiatives, IHIS integrations of equipment, training and simulation labs for critical care up to linear accelerators, deep brain stimulation research, cardiovascular research, MRI safe equipment design and implementation, burn patient equipment design and implementation, and development and maintenance of a laser safety program,” McCabe says, summing up an enormous list.
The linear accelerator vault design project offered some unique challenges.
“We worked closely with the architects, vendors, clinicians, and physicists on the design of the vault for patient flow and practicality with all of the new technologies,” McCabe says.
“Our organization took the department from four Linac vaults in the basement, and designed/built their new department on the second floor of a 21-story building. This presented a lot of new and unique problems with design as now we had to worry about all six sides of the rooms for radiation, but also how to get into the rooms for cable runs, both temporary and permanent, and try to future proof the design as much as possible as new technologies come out that could be added,” McCabe explains.
He says that this also allowed the department to assist with research opportunities into new technologies.
“We also were heavily involved with the complexities around having a configuration of a linac vault, CT Sim room used for Brachytherapy procedures with an MRI room in-between to accommodate workflows from either with all safety precautions in place,” McCabe adds.
Like many health systems, the modern operating room is a location in the hospital that demands the skills of technologically savvy biomeds.
“We just went live with another hybrid OR project where we took the leadership role of facilitation and worked to make sure everything in the room had integration to meet the needs of our clinicians. Working with multiple vendors and making sure that everything is coordinated to get the best output with best technology available,” McCabe says.
As mentioned earlier, the issue of alarm fatigue is another area of focus for the group.
“We sit on the Clinical Alarm Steering Committee, and are helping identify and standardize on alarms across the organization for all medical devices that produce alarms and have adjustability,” McCabe says.
“We bring the vendors to the table to provide their recommendations and capabilities, and then the task force that reports to the steering committee does the leg work and studies to get data to set new standards to personalize to our patient population,” he adds.
The team has always been involved with the laser safety program; with it actually being a part of clinical engineering’s role for laser operators and laser safety officers completely at one point. Now they share the responsibility for the laser safety program oversight with a more diverse team in Hospital Safety, having one of two of the laser safety officer deputies in the department and they work on improvement initiatives and standardization with clinicians.
Away from the hospital, two of the team’s management staff serve on the HTMA-OH board, and some members of the staff are part of the organization. McCabe is on the board for the Radiotherapy Service Engineers’ Association (RSEA).
As Ohio State continues its tradition of excellence, the CE team is holding up their end and maintaining the good reputation on the medical side as well.
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