West of Chicago, in the greater Chicagoland area of Illinois, is the village of Downers Grove. The village is in DuPage County and was founded in 1832.
Downers Grove is known for its bustling downtown area with convenient access to the area’s main airports. There are opportunities for outdoor activities with a visit to the local arboretum or the park.
Another benefit to living in the area is access to a Level I trauma center and certified Level III neonatal intensive care.
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital offers this level of care along with private rooms and cutting-edge technology.
Supporting this technology is the hospital’s nine-member healthcare technology management (HTM) department.
Alvin Fajardo, CBET, leads the team as site supervisor with support from multi-site director Bob Paulson. The team also includes five BMETs and two radiology service engineers. Jerry Seremak is the team’s coordinator and serves as lead technician.
Seremak manages the surgical, sterile processing and critical care departments.
Alikhan Iteshamuddin and Ryan Williams are the HTM team’s radiology engineers. They manage imaging devices, the cath lab, interventional radiology, injectors, X-ray machines, nuclear cameras and ultrasound machines.
Biomed II Issac Dunson specializes in respiratory equipment, labor and delivery, NICU and dialysis equipment.
Matt Dean is the department’s infusion pump expert. He manages patient floors and home health services.
Mustafa Hafeez is the telemetry system guru and manages the emergency department, the GI lab and ACL lab equipment.
The team supports Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital with its approximate 300-bed capacity, as well as five clinics including pediatric transport, Lemont Immediate Care Clinic, South Downers Clinic, home health services and remote central telemetry center.
Fajardo says that they also offer back-up support to 10 health clinics and numerous Advocate Medical Group clinics across the Chicago area.
“Our department oversees all clinical equipment support needs, preventive maintenance and repair services. We also assist with capital purchases and projects involving medical equipment,” Fajardo says.
He adds that the HTM corporate team manages equipment service contracts within the Advocate Aurora Health system.
“The team is composed of senior leadership, directors, clinical engineers, the business office team and contract managers. They review all the equipment at Advocate Aurora hospitals, identify where contracts are appropriate and negotiate pricing. HTM has a contingency fund to selectively replace equipment when repair does not make sense either due to age or cost. That is something that differentiates AAH HTM from many other similar departments,” Fajardo says.
He says that HIT (the system’s information technology department) and clinical engineering work together to address security issues and IT interface issues related to medical equipment.
How is data collection accomplished?
“All asset information, serial numbers and the make and model of the equipment is entered into TMS, our management database. We also capture repair, preventive maintenance information, safety alert and recall data,” Fajardo says.
Team members have been instrumental in providing input for recent projects.
“Our department has recently been involved in projects that demonstrate how the clinical engineering department can improve the function of our hospital. We had a representative involved in all phases of multiple new immediate care clinics, as well as cardiovascular/IR labs. In these settings, the whole room is constructed around the imaging equipment,” Fajardo says.
He says that having in-house radiology service engineers is an integral part of these projects as they collaborate with the clinical staff, project coordinators, information technology and electricians during walkthroughs and equipment purchases.
“Not only is our team’s involvement helpful during the project stages, but it also gives us a chance to suggest design changes before installation. This ultimately cuts down on the number of post project corrective work orders,” Fajardo says.
He says that in another project, a biomed tech was tasked with improving the nursing call equipment on a floor in the hospital to provide better access for patients. The tech designed the equipment layout and ensured the call buttons worked properly; ultimately improving patient care.
The HTM team also demonstrated its value as the pandemic brought additional challenges to hospitals everywhere.
“Like most who work in health care, the most significant challenge we’ve faced began when COVID-19 reached our hospital. Our team immediately began to assess all our medical equipment so we could provide support to COVID-19 patients in our critical care unit (CCU). We were able to move in equipment from other areas of the hospital to double the number of occupancies in the CCU,” Fajardo says.
He says that during that time, the management team activated the command center to coordinate this project.
“Our role consisted of installing medical equipment and configuring a system to allow our clinical staff to monitor patients remotely from the central station,” Fajardo adds.
Another important project the team tackled was its involvement in launching a multi-hospital, centralized telemetry center.
“Our team is also involved in the implementation of a centralized telemetry center, responsible for remotely handling patient telemetry monitoring at an offsite facility. Our job at the remote central telemetry center consists of providing on-site support for a team that handles the telemetry of three hospitals. This means collaborating with Philips to diagnose and troubleshoot hardware issues, software issues and network issues,” Fajardo says.
He says that the Advocate Good Samaritan team serves as the boots on the ground, carrying out necessary patches and repairs under the advice of Philips Healthcare and the information technology team.
“Due to our efforts, our partner facilities benefit from a streamlined workflow that allows hospital staff to focus on patient care while our team handles the logistics surrounding surveillance and routing patient data. The success of the remote CTC facility has led to plans for further expansion, with an end goal of centralizing all patient telemetry across the Advocate Aurora Health system,” Fajardo says.
Away from work, the team members keep their skills sharp and help with volunteer work.
“We support CEI, Project C.U.R.E. and some of the team members are AAMI members. All team members attended the recent CEAI conference and participated in the training provided by the vendors. At Project C.U.R.E., some of the techs volunteered to segregate and repair equipment that will go to third-world countries,” Fajardo says.
This capable HTM team in the Chicagoland area is benefitting clinicians, patients and finding time to do work that helps those in developing countries.
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