How many biomeds would dream of working in Hawaii; with the islands’ many beaches, palm trees, tropical breezes and temperate climate?
To get an answer to that question, you may need to ask the HTM professionals in the biomedical engineering department at Hawaii Pacific Health. The team of 25 full-time and three part-time members know all about it.
“We are tasked to continually identify, address and monitor medical equipment-related risks within our organization,” says Aaron Predum, director of biomedical engineering.
Other members of leadership in the department include Peter Ines, manager at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children; Keoki Fujinaka, supervisor at Pali Momi Medical Center; and Scott Shiraishi, manager at Straub Medical Center.
The health system is based in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. The main medical centers are Kapiolani, Pali Momi, Straub and Wilcox. Hawaii Pacific Health also has more than 70 other locations spread among the Hawaiian islands. The health system’s mission is to create a healthier Hawaii.
Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children is a 243-bed hospital located in Honolulu. It is Hawaiis only maternity, newborn and pediatric specialty hospital.
Pali Momi Medical Center is a 118-bed medical center located in Aiea, servicing Central and West Oahu. Pali Momi offers a full range of services.
Straub Medical Center is a 159-bed medical center in Honolulu. It has a network of neighborhood clinics, and a visiting specialist program that reaches throughout the state of Hawaii. Straub has more than 32 different medical specialties and is home to the Pacific region’s only multidisciplinary burn treatment center.
Wilcox Medical Center in Lihue on the island of Kauai is a 72-bed medical center dedicated to providing the Kauai community with accessible, quality health care. Kauai Medical Clinic is the island’s largest clinic and its only multispecialty medical group.
“Each of our Oahu hospitals has a biomedical engineer that specializes in imaging based there. They work closely to cover for one another and share on-call. Additionally, they provide on-the-job training to the non-specialized biomeds at each site,” Predum says.
“We also have recently created and filled a biomedical engineering role that specializes in cybersecurity mitigation. This individual, Timex Xayaseang, works collaboratively with IT and clinical leadership to ensure medical equipment within Hawaii Pacific Health has been properly patched and able to connect to the network for integration,” he adds.
Predum says that the department provides several services to the health system. He says that the biomedical engineers “ensure appropriate and dependable medical equipment are evaluated prior to purchase; inspect, test, and maintain medical equipment in keeping with appropriate maintenance strategies that meet all applicable regulatory requirements, and manage medical equipment risks.”
“With support of our C-suite, we recently created and filled a contract administrator position in our biomedical engineering department. This individual, Tom Taylor, is tasked with judiciously evaluating, monitoring, tracking and managing all medical equipment service contracts at Hawaii Pacific Health. Tom works with our biomedical engineers, department leadership and vendors to accomplish these tasks,” Predum says.
He also points out that while there is not an official integration between biomed and IT, there are well-established and newly created relationships that exist.
“We work side-by-side on all medical equipment purchases, integrations, upgrades, mitigation, etcetera. Coming from an organization in which IT and biomed were fully integrated for 10-plus years, the relationships between these two critically important teams at Hawaii Pacific Health are just as, if not more, synergized,” Predum adds.
Patient Safety and Cybersecurity Projects
The biomed team has been very proactive in the area of cybersecurity and even brought their insights to the AAMI 2018 Conference and Expo through a presentation. They have been involved in a medical equipment cybersecurity management project.
“After WannaCry, Petya and other hacking attacks across the world brought critical attention to the state of health care technology cybersecurity, the biomedical engineering and IT teams at Hawaii Pacific Health collaborated together to develop a comprehensive strategy and process for managing cybersecurity patches and risks for all applicable medical equipment at each hospital,” Predum says.
He says that this included talking with the C-suite and having their support to hire a specialized biomed to focus on cybersecurity.
“This biomed (Timex Xayaseang), myself and our information security officer (Alan Ito) presented a case study at the 2018 AAMI Conference in Long Beach, California about our challenges and solutions related to security reviews, vendor communication and collaboration, inventory tracking and management, patch testing, and the updating of medical equipment and their integrated systems,” Predum says.
He says that biomed has been working with the IT department over the past two years on the inclusion of medical equipment that stores PHI in their yearly security survey.
“Goals are to identify gaps that need to be addressed and mitigated to ensure PHI stored on devices is protected and secure,” Predum adds.
Other constructive projects have included addressing patient safety and bringing more services in-house.
“Through our new contract administration management process we identified an improvement and cost-savings opportunity at all Hawaii Pacific Health sites to transition the support of our medical bed, stretcher, crib and ceiling lifts from outsourced contracts to an in-house model. We told the story and the C-suite supported adding two new entry-level biomeds to implement the new in-house plan,” Predum says.
He says that biomedical engineering took the lead in working across the Hawaii Pacific Health entities to create a new wireless infusion pump, drug library policy.
“Its purpose is to outline the steps taken to ensure the drug library/data set updates are wirelessly uploaded onto all the applicable infusion pumps in a timely manner. This was identified as an important patient safety initiative for the wireless infusion pumps. Teams involved in this process range from pharmacy, nursing and front-line staff, nursing leadership, supply processing, biomed and IT,” Predum adds.
An exciting development outside of work has been the creation of a new biomed association.
“The majority of our biomedical engineering team are official members of Hawaii’s newly created (December 2017) Hawaii Healthcare Technology Management (HiHTM) Association,” Predum says.
He is the association’s current president and Peter Ines is on the board of directors. “The website is www.hihtm.com and we are passionate about providing education, training and networking opportunities to our community in Hawaii, as well as trying to use the new platform to bring back a biomedical associate’s degree program to a local university in Hawaii to better prepare for the future,” Predum says.
Along with the tropical breezes and swaying palm trees in Hawaii, there is real work being done to keep medical devices working and patients safe. That is thanks to the good work being done by the Hawaii Pacific Health Biomedical Engineering Department.
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