The area around the Monterey Bay in central California is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Cities like Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea attract tourists for golf, sightseeing and art galleries. Clint Eastwood used to be mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Just east of the bay sits the city of Salinas in Monterey County. The city was the hometown of writer John Steinbeck. The Salinas Valley is nicknamed the “Salad Bowl of the Nation” because of its substantial agriculture industry. It provides a great launching point for exploring the Monterey Bay area.
Serving the health needs of area residents is the Natividad Medical Center, a public health care system offering a wide range of inpatient, outpatient, emergency, diagnostic and specialty medical care. The medical center is located in Salinas.
“Natividad is a hospital and trauma center providing high-quality health care to everyone in Monterey County, regardless of ability to pay,” says Greg Marcisz, CBET, CHTM, department/account manager of biomedical engineering.
Biomed services for Natividad’s Biomedical Engineering Department are provided by Renovo. Along with Marcisz, Yessenia Ontiveros, BMET II, provides biomed services to the facility.
Renovo Solutions is an ISO that provides healthcare technology management solutions.
Marcisz says that Natividad was founded in 1886 and today is a 172-bed medical center that has more than 10,000 admissions and over 50,000 emergency visits annually. It is also the area’s only Level II Trauma Center. The hospital’s specialized personnel, equipment and services provide a vital local community service that saves lives and keeps patients close to home.
He says that the medical center also operates an accredited Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, giving the tiniest and most fragile babies the best chance for a healthy start. Through its UCSF-affiliated Natividad Family Medicine Residency, Natividad is the only teaching hospital on the Central Coast.
The small, two-person biomed team covers most areas of equipment. Marcisz specializes in cardiopulmonary equipment, patient monitoring and ultrasound. Ontiveros specializes in surgical equipment and devices in women and children’s services.
“We directly provide or facilitate full-service support to over 3,400 devices, spanning every modality. We continuously monitor all assets in order to identify predictive and proactive service opportunities, which in turn maximize equipment uptime and assure scheduled patient treatments are not hindered,” Marcisz says.
The team also keeps a close eye on managing service contracts.
“We maintain an accurate database of vendor service contracts in our maintenance management software system, so that they are kept current and can be quickly tracked for upcoming expiration dates. It is always important to review the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of service contracts, and to evaluate alternative service options that adequately meet the level of support required at a lower cost,” Marcisz says.
Biomed utilizes proprietary software to collect and store important data on their inventory.
“All service-related data is backed up into our CMMS called RENOVOLIVE,” Marcisz says.
In an age where there is cross-over into IT for many biomeds, and networks demand a growing synergy between the departments, the team at Natividad is focused on that cooperation.
“We are fortunate to have a collaborative, interdisciplinary relationship with the IT department here at Natividad. In biomedical engineering, we perform a documented security assessment for each system connected to the network using a security survey tool within our CMMS system based on NIST, HIMSS and ECRI/ACCE best practices. This also includes devices that are not connected to the network but may pose risks to HIPAA and other regulations, (or are exposed to other potential threats),” Marcisz says.
The pandemic has swelled many hospital inventories as equipment demands have required biomed departments to increase the inventory of some critical devices. “We have received an incredible influx of medical devices since the start of the pandemic. Everything from ventilators and bedside monitors, to aspirators and infusion pumps have been inspected and serviced as required to support ongoing COVID-19 efforts,” Marcisz says.
He says the team also helped with the conversion of the pediatrics unit into an isolation unit. Biomed was charged with adding advanced patient monitoring, ventilators and other devices needed to treat patients under intensive care.
“We also supported the conversion of several other areas of Natividad to support patient overflow,” he adds.
The biomed department has chipped in to help problem solve and has maintained equipment availability throughout the pandemic.
“Natividad does not currently have a dedicated asset management/RFID system in place for medical equipment. Throughout the course of the pandemic, we have had to reallocate numerous devices across the hospital to support the departmental needs, with a fluctuating patient census,” Marcisz says.
He says that initially, this was difficult to track and manage.
“But, by keeping tabs on available rental equipment from outside vendors, manually documenting when/where biomedical devices are moved, and encouraging staff to report those transfers to biomed when we are not involved, we have been able to help ensure facility resources are allocated properly and made ready again as soon as possible after use,” Marcisz adds.
Marcisz and Ontiveros are members of AAMI and the California Medical Instrumentation Association (CMIA), Bay Area Chapter.
The two-person Natividad Biomedical Engineering Department keeps the facility’s medical equipment managed and functioning. The patients in Monterey County can rest assured that the dedicated team is supporting clinicians when they must rely on medical equipment the most.
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