Amarillo, Texas is the largest city in the panhandle part of Texas and is situated where the southern plains meet the desert. It includes the nation’s second largest canyon; Palo Duro Canyon. From Cadillac Ranch, with its famous row of Cadillacs, nose-dived into the dirt in a field, to a highly rated botanical gardens and the Texas Air and Space Museum, Amarillo is an interesting place to visit.
In 1901, four sisters from the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio arrived in Amarillo and started a hospital named St. Anthony’s. The hospital later joined forces with a second hospital, as the population in Amarillo grew, and in 1996 became BSA Health System. BSA is an affiliate of Ardent Health Services and is the fourth largest employer in Amarillo.
The health system’s clinical engineering department is made up of 11 team members including Manager Jeremy Hendrick and Supervisor Courtney Haschke.
Department members also include Carlos Osorio, Braxton Bjork, Robert Webb, Maggie Olszynska, Wade Smith and Mario Flores.
On the imaging side of the team are radiology equipment specialists Neal O’Shaughnessy, Lucas Mosqueda and Monty Mayo.
The team provides services to a 400-bed hospital with 20 operating rooms, a 20-bed NICU, 20 labor rooms and a 42-bed ICU and step down unit. They also serve 10 outside clinics and two surgery centers. They are constantly acquiring more ventures.
The CE team has taken a more active role in the purchasing process recently.
“Over the past year we have worked to gain the trust of our leadership and the buying team so that biomed is now a part of all equipment and system demos. Any and all projects moving forward have a biomed representative at every meeting and through the entire process. We have learned that this not only saves time, but money and headaches,” Haschke says.
She says that in the past, there was a huge chasm between biomed and other departments in the hospital.
“Not a lot of communication was happening between us and the rest of the hospital. So, things were being bought and put in place without biomeds input or knowledge and there would be problems with connectivity or getting parts or even service with equipment,” Haschke says.
“So, within the last year, we have tried to build trust and assurances with the hospital staff. We encourage nurses to talk with their biomed representative and learn about better options out there for medical devices,” she adds.
She says the CE team now is invited to meetings with sales reps where team members can ask about the technical aspects of the equipment.
“So, now we don’t have devices coming in that are hard on parts, expensive to fix, or known to have massive amounts of downtime,” Haschke says.
For data collection, they use a tool called Facility Survey/CMMS and the group is working hard at bringing as much service in-house as possible and relieve the hospital of most service contracts.
There has also been an effort to bring more imaging service in-house.
“Right now, we do have a lot of our radiology equipment under a contract. Our team is working to dissolve that contract and bring everything in-house. As far as general medical devices, there are little to no contracts in place. Mostly we have service agreements that cover parts, but our biomeds take care of the needs of the machine itself,” Haschke says.
Improving the Numbers
The old expression about pulling one’s self up by the bootstraps is something the CE team has embraced. They worked overtime to improved PM stats by diligently focusing on a goal for improvement.
“Last spring, biomed received three NC1s on the DNV survey. Through a leadership shake up and team members stepping up the rest of the year, we fixed all NC1s and went from a PM completion rate that is too embarrassing to acknowledge to 100 percent type one completion for the year, and 98.65 percent completion for type 2s,” Haschke says.
“We had team members stay late, come in on the weekends and the holidays just so that we could make our goal every month. And with this past DNV inspection, biomed got no hits and the inspectors were impressed with our improvement and our processes,” she adds.
They also took a creative approach to communicate with some of their clinical colleagues and improve the environment for understanding PMs and procedures.
“We also had a hard time getting nursing services to read PM stickers and know what is going on with biomed. In January, we made posters and headed to nurse competencies and explained our processes. We were welcomed with open arms and have greatly reduced the frustration between nursing and biomed as well as helped our numbers improve since nursing now knows what to look for when reading our stickers,” Haschke says.
She says that through talking with nurses in small groups, light bulbs started going off.
“Nursing is finally understanding that the PM is important to biomed, of course, but also to our patient safety. We now get calls on equipment that is past due on the inspection and the nursing staff also has more patience and understanding when biomed needs to take something down for maintenance. We have also been invited by multiple educators and directors to attend off-campus competencies and unit meetings to teach understanding to staff outside the main hospital,” she adds.
The CE team at BSA Health System has made great strides in establishing a great rapport with their clinician colleagues and taking their game up a notch or three. They prove that setting goals to improve is the first step on the road to success.
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