By K. Richard Douglas
The BSW-McKinney healthcare technology management team, clockwise from top,Manager James Swandol, BMET II Alan Nicewarner, BMET I Charlotte Threlkeld and Senior Tech Scott Gillett.
Thirty-two miles north of Dallas is the city of McKinney, Texas. The city is just one of many that surround the Dallas-Fort Worth “metroplex.” The city sports a historic district, a performing arts center, farmers market, breweries, parks and trails.
McKinney also has the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-McKinney; a campus of Baylor Scott & White (BSW) Health. It is just one of 46 hospitals that make up the large Texas health system.
The healthcare technology management (HTM) team at McKinney includes Director Carol Wyatt, Manager James Swandol, Senior Tech Scott Gillett, BMET II Alan Nicewarner and BMET I Charlotte Threlkeld.
The team of biomeds have caught the attention of leadership at McKinney.
“The HTM team at BSW McKinney is known around campus as highly competent and reliable. Not only are they quick to respond and identify solutions; they do it with excellent customer service,” says Kimberly Bones, MBA, vice president of finance at McKinney.
“The team has developed strong relationships across the hospital and continues to identify opportunities to provide helpful education to departments that not only results in better care of our equipment, but cost avoidance for unnecessary repairs,” Bones says.
“BSW McKinney is extremely fortunate to have this team supporting our campus. They truly exemplify our organization’s core values of serving faithfully, acting honestly, never settling and being in it together. Each team member is greatly valued and appreciated,” she adds.
The team supports three facilities including the McKinney hospital – currently 143 beds and in the process of expending to 191 – and two specialty heart hospitals located in McKinney and Denton. On-call, they support eight hospitals and one remote emergency department.
Swandol says that the team of biomeds is like family.
“We work hard together and play hard together. Every day we eat lunch together and talk about things besides work. From Christmas parties to going out shooting clays at the range, we make sure we have fun together. We huddle three times a week with our other campus to go over PM updates and repairs,” he says.
He says that they share in PMs – even if they are assigned to another tech.
“We will also go to another campus if they require assistance or share test equipment. We pride ourselves on our teamwork and do not let each other fall behind. We each work to our strengths so that we can work on our weaknesses. This allows us to improve as techs every day,” Swandol says.
In order to collect data, the department has recently transitioned to a new database system.
“HEMS/EQ2 is our new database for equipment maintenance. Over the past year, we have been adjusting EQ2 to meet our growing needs as well as expanding the everyday capabilities such as regular PM scheduling,” says Brian Lauer, MBA, MS, HEM, director of operations/ECEM for Carrollton, McKinney, McKinney Heart, Plano Heart and Plano Regional, Baylor Scott & White Health.
“We also intergraded our PO (purchase order) system into EQ2/HEMS. Now when we need parts or service for a unit, we can open a PO from the work order instead of having to go through our purchasing site. This has helped us track costs since the PO is tied to the work order. We have added inventory so that every tech can keep up with their on-hand parts. With the PO integration, parts can be consumed accurately thus providing a more complete cost of service,” Lauer says.
The team’s approach to service contacts begins with gathering data for the facility first.
“We then reach out to other hospitals in our system to verify a system need. Once we have identified a system need, we escalate all the data from the facilities to HTM leadership,” Lauer says.
Members of the BSW-McKinney HTM Department are seen at a team building event.
Big Projects and Problem Solving
In addition to its regular duties, the team has participated in some large-scale projects.
“Our largest project to date has been the opening of our Baylor Scott & White – The Heart Hospital McKinney. Before we broke ground, we were involved in planning, budgeting and evaluating all equipment for the heart hospital. We started by having a new IR room built on the McKinney side. Once completed, they moved on to the building of the heart hospital. After the outside walls were up, we began coordinating vendors for the installing of new equipment like telemetry and nurse call. We played equipment shuffle with the three cath labs during this time as well since they also upgraded each cath lab one at a time while Heart was being built,” Lauer says.
He says that when it was closer to the opening date, the team changed asset tags on equipment that moved from McKinney to Heart and repurposed beds and stretchers from other facilities that no longer needed them.
“We tagged, inspected and input the remaining new equipment in our database system. We trained the staff on new equipment like our temperature monitoring system,” Lauer says.
Another project involved planning to open a new floor.
“McKinney is expanding by an extra 48 beds by opening the fourth floor, which is now just a shell space, to expand Ortho, ACU and dialysis capabilities. Biomed will assist in the equipment needed and location of equipment for the project,” Lauer says.
The team has had to put their collective thinking caps on and problem solve.
“A common problem many departments have experienced is missing or damaged patient cables. EKG, SpO2 and NiBP cables, for example, are constantly being lost, damaged or ‘borrowed’ from other departments. Our biomed department was asked to secure these cables to each patient monitor so that no more cables could inconveniently disappear,” Lauer says.
He says that their first solution was using braided, manually crimped cables. But, he says, these proved ineffective because they are difficult to replace and possible to be cut with trauma shears. It was also time consuming.
“Recently a more effective method has been found, using Voytek Cable Locks,” Lauer says.
He says that these cable locks have a tougher, thicker braided cable that will make cutting much more difficult.
“They feature a molded block that splits in half for easy cable securing or replacement, and it is secured shut using a security star wrench. The cost at first may seem steep starting at $75 each for the most basic three-hole model and going up to $135 each for the longer five-hole model each. But, when a single patient cable can cost $100+, a Voytek Cable Lock can pay for itself after saving one cable,” Lauer adds.
Lauer says that the HTM team is one of the highest performing teams at BSWH-McKinney.
“Not only are they highly competent in their field, but their reliability and personability takes them to the next level. This team truly embodies Baylor Scott & White Health’s core values: we serve faithfully, we act honestly, we never settle and we are in it together. Regardless of the situation or the time of day that you call on one of these team members, you can always count of them to answer the call and greet you with a smile,” he says.
What more can you ask for from an HTM department?
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