On any list of the best beaches in the U.S., Florida has the lion’s share with some of those along the panhandle always mentioned. One city that is home to some of those pristine beaches is Pensacola, a city on the western-most end of the panhandle. Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key are good examples.
The city of Pensacola had a population of 52,975 in 2019 and is known for its National Naval Aviation Museum and Museum of Art in addition to its beautiful beaches.
One of the local providers of health care services in this busy beach city is Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola Hospital. The 566-bed critical care hospital operates a 24/7 emergency room also.
A related provider of pediatric health care in the area is the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. The facility includes pediatric surgical and intensive care facilities with six operating rooms.
Equipment management for both hospitals is provided by a 21-member TRIMEDX clinical engineering department consisting of Site Manager Vernon Jones and three team leads who head up biomed, lab and radiology teams.
“There are 12 members on the biomed team and four each on the other two modalities,” Jones says.
The leadership members include Radiology Senior Technician Mike Watson, Laboratory Senior Technician Don Jernigan and Biomed Senior Technician Eric Bird, CBET.
In addition to managing the medical equipment at Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola Hospital and Ascension Studer Family Children’s Hospital, the CE team is responsible for devices at Haven of Our Lady of Peace. They also support medical equipment in more than 150 clinics.
The Haven of Our Lady of Peace is a 120-bed nursing home operated by Sacred Heart Health System and Methodist Homes for the Aging. Ascension Studer Family Children’s Hospital is Northwest Florida’s only facility dedicated to the medical needs of infants and children.
The biomed team does a complete job of capturing data and knowing every device in inventory.
“When a new device is presented for entry into the database, all accompanying data is collected from the data nameplate of the device. Additionally, for network capable or connected equipment, operating system and MAC address information is collected and stored in the database. All warranty information is also collected and stored,” Jones says.
With the expansion of intensive care areas in hospitals to accommodate COVID-19 patients, the need for additional constant electronic monitoring has taxed the resources of biomed departments in expanding these resources.
“During the COVID surge in Florida over the summer, we had to assist the hospital with reallocating telemetry resources to best cover newly opened areas. Going from two adult ICUs to three, and from one PCU to three, placed a heavy burden on the monitoring capability of the hospital. We were able to coordinate viable options with the nursing leadership in order to safely monitor those critically ill patients,” Jones says.
Standing up additional adult ICUs and PCUs comes with challenges, especially when time is of the essence. The biomed team addressed these concerns using resourcefulness and ingenuity.
“Some of the challenges included the fact that many of these areas were not wired for in-room monitoring nor did they all have gases piped in for support and operation of the ventilators that are normally used in higher levels of care. O2 tanks were used in those cases and roll-around MP50 monitors were used as workarounds for these issues,” Jones says.
Another project team members addressed beyond their normal day-to-day biomed duties included lending their critical knowledge to acquisitions. They performed capital equipment planning for eight surgical suites as well as 10 pediatric ICU rooms.
“All the equipment needs had to be scrutinized to ensure that they would integrate with the infrastructure used in the rest of the campus and network to provide more cross functional utilization of nurses and staff. All the new equipment had to be inspected and entered in the database,” Jones says.
The group also was instrumental in the development of an emergency department at the Ascension Sacred Heart at Nine Mile Road facility.
“The new ER provides 24-hour emergency services for children and adults and has a separate waiting area and treatment rooms for children. It includes 13 treatment rooms and two critical care rooms staffed by emergency medicine physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists. In addition, the facility provides the services of a lab, pharmacy, CT scanner and X-ray imaging,” Jones says
In the problem-solving arena, the team updated software, taking into account considerations for maintaining uptime.
“The department performed cyber remediation on the hospital’s Philips telemetry system. This involved multiple software patches on 60-plus PIC ix, PCs and software on the servers themselves. Downtime had to be scheduled with the input of the nursing staff and was executed with very minimal disruption to patient care,” Jones says.
Away from the workplace, some members of the team are members of the Florida Biomedical Society (FBS).
The biomed team also does its part to help prepare the next generation of biomeds with hands-on training and experience.
“The department also partners with Pensacola State College as part of their biomedical course offering. Approved and vetted students intern at the facility to get a broader exposure to the biomedical field. They shadow technicians in all the different modalities to obtain valuable insight that cannot be duplicated in the classroom environment,” Jones says.
On the gulf coast of Florida, the city of Pensacola has important health care needs covered by several modern facilities and patients can be confident that the equipment will be working properly thanks to the HTM professionals that make up this TRIMEDX clinical engineering team.
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