Only a handful of universities enjoy national prominence and immediate name recognition. Stanford University is among that small group.
In 1968, the university purchased Palo Alto-Stanford Hospital Center, and it was renamed Stanford University Hospital.
In November of 2019, Stanford Health Care’s new 824,000-square-foot and state-of-the-art Stanford Hospital opened.
Although the hospital and university share a name, and leadership work in partnership, the two are separate legal entities.
A cutting-edge, high-tech health care network can only be supported by the best in medical equipment technology management. That job falls to the enterprise’s biomedical engineering team.
“At Stanford Medicine and the larger Stanford University family, the biomedical engineering program is leading and pioneering the advancement of optimized patient care outcomes at Stanford Health Care (SHC) through the management of healthcare technology and digital solutions,” says Adam Alkhato, director of biomedical engineering.
He says that biomedical engineering at SHC is an integral and strategic vertical of Stanford Medicine’s Technology and Digital Solutions (TDS) organization, reporting directly to Chief Technology Officer Christian Lindmark.
“Stanford Health Care provides care as a Tier 1 Trauma Academic Medical Center which is known for innovation and research. Stanford Health Care delivers care services to patients with the highest levels of acuity and treats cancer, heart disease, brain disorders, primary care issues, specialty care and other patient services,” Alkhato says.
“Our biomedical engineering program is built by the pursuit of excellence of the foundational pillars of HTM and is fueled by the advancement of our discipline through continual self-refinement and development at the intersection of medicine and technology. Every day, our biomeds are embedded and are leading the vetting and implementation of new innovations, integrations and patient facing technologies and systems,” Alkhato adds.
He says that as part of the TDS organization, the biomeds are cohesively connected to the infrastructure, networking, integrations, applications and data report teams, delivering the best-of-class and comprehensive medical technologies and digital solutions to their clinical business partners.
The Stanford Health Care Biomedical Engineering Department includes the Palo Alto team.
“The SHC Biomedical Engineering Department is comprised of 68 members, supporting the enterprise of Stanford Medicine’s inpatient and outpatient hospitals and clinics throughout Northern California,” Alkhato says.
The team also supports the new high-tech Stanford Hospital.
“Designed with the patient experience in mind, the new facility features 368 single-patient rooms, a 76-bay trauma center and 20 state-of-the-art operating rooms. Enterprise-wide, the department supports over one thousand beds in Northern California,” Alkhato says.
Among the biomed team’s leadership are Alkhato, Senior Managers Michael Kozuma, CBET, and Darwin Fontanares, MBA, CHTM, BS-BMET, CBET; and Assistant Managers Dean Peterson, CHT; Jerrell Cooper, John Bassler, CBET; Richard Engdahl, CBET; and Suruj Narayan.
Other members include Senior IT/Biomed Project Manager Divya Pandya, PMP, CPHIMS, CHTM; IT/Biomed Clinical Applications Eben Kermit CCE; Business Systems Analyst Marco Salvaggio; and Program Project Coordinator Charlene Phifer.
The department’s technicians round out the staff.
The biomedical engineering team supports Stanford Health Care’s enterprise network of facilities, which includes three inpatient hospitals, four multi-pavilion medical office buildings, three ambulatory surgery centers, 80-plus clinics, affiliate offices across Northern California and the Tri-Valley and over 770 licensed patient beds.
“We’re proud to again be recognized as one of the top hospitals in the country,” said David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health.
Stanford Health Care receives support from talented biomeds.
With standardization of procedures across the system, the biomed department has been able to win the confidence of clinical staff while advancing a clearly defined service model.
“Aside from our repertoire of technical skills, the SHC biomedical engineering department takes great pride in incorporating the customer service experience into our work ethic. It’s important for us to resolve medical device issues for our clinical staff, but it’s as equally important to ensure that our customers are satisfied with how that service is delivered. A few years ago, after SHC had acquired Valley Memorial Hospital, now known as Stanford Health Care ValleyCare, the hospital had gone through a series of equipment maintenance programs by well-known service companies,” Fontanares says.
He says that frequent changes over the years decreased the quality of equipment maintenance.
“Service was adversely impacted, including the confidence of clinical staff members to receive the biomed support they needed. Executive leadership made the decision to establish a SHC biomed team in-house, (an extension of the biomedical engineering department from our main campus in Palo Alto). Using our CI-CARE customer service model, which is an acronym for ‘Connect, Introduce, Communicate, Ask, Respond, Exit,’ we were able to successfully standardize a process for all interactions with clinical staff members, vendors, colleagues and patients alike,” Fontanares adds.
He says that this communication tool has been biomeds’ compass in promoting positive interactions from beginning to end.
“One by one, this business model significantly helped change the perception of biomed for our clinical staff members. A testament to this was a recent surprise visit in our biomed shop from none other than our SHC ValleyCare CEO, who personally thanked us for not only improving the quality of biomedical device support during our tenure, but for creating a positive cultural change within the entire hospital. We not only regained the confidence of our customers, but we are also able to positively influence and motivate other support service departments to improve the quality of the services they provide,” Fontanares says.
Systemwide, the department has even gained the admiration of the organization’s top technology leader.
“I’ve been working with health care organizations for over 20 years and the biomedical engineering department at Stanford Health Care is, without a doubt, one of the best biomed teams I’ve seen anywhere in the country. Their work is vital to providing our patients with the best patient care available. I am very proud of the entire team and their commitment to excellence in support of our caregivers and patients,” Lindmark says.
Is there a better compliment for a team that manages medical device technology within one of the most technology-savvy health systems in the world?
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