The five-man clinical engineering department under the leadership of Aramark’s John Shore, CBET, at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton, Georgia, plays an important role in delivering quality health care to residents of west Georgia and east Alabama. The crew serves several medical facilities within about a 60-mile radius from its headquarters just a few blocks from the historic Carroll County Courthouse.
The Tanner system is comprised of several facilities including the 201-bed acute care facility in Carrollton, a 40-bed acute bed hospital in Villa Rica, Georgia, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Bremen, Georgia, and Willowbrooke at Tanner, an 82-bed inpatient behavioral health facility serving adults, adolescents and children in Villa Rica.
Tanner also operates Tanner Medical Group. The group is made up of more than 25 medical practices located in Carroll, Douglas, Haralson, Heard and Paulding counties in Georgia and Randolph County in Alabama. The health system includes a range of other services.
“We have two acute care hospitals, one critical access hospital, and one behavioral health facility. These total to be about 350 beds within a 20-mile triangle,” Shore said. “We also have about 30 practices and urgent care facilities that we successfully maintain.”
“We have 5,500 pieces on inventory. This includes seven CTs, four MRs, three complete labs, etcetera,” Shore added.
It is a large system serving a diverse population with more than 300 physicians representing 34 medical specialities. The Tanner system boasts more than 2,800 employees making it one of the largest employers in Carroll County, Georgia.
The vastness of the health system is matched by its dedication to quality and service. Twice in the past three years, Tanner has been named one of the Top 15 Health Systems in the nation by Truven Health Analytics.
Shore is quick to praise the work of his Aramark team and credits them for the clinical engineering department’s outstanding success through the years. The “superheroes” on his staff are Eric Dotson, CBET, Ted Harris, Michael Bachelor, CBET, and Josh Statham.
“We have been at this facility for 34 years and have collectively 112 years of experience, more than half of which is at this hospital,” Shore said. “My philosophy has always been that we will do our best to serve the needs of our hospital and everything else will take care of itself. This also includes taking care of our employee’s needs. We have had 0 percent turnover for the last seven years, a benefit of Aramark’s focus on enriching and nourishing lives.”
The department’s work does not go unnoticed. It is common for a clinician to contact Shore and praise team members for their work. The valuable working relationship the department has with its vendors is another strongpoint it has cultivated.
“We consistently receive very high marks for our customer service, it is probably our greatest strength,” Shore said. “We work hard to have a partnership with the hospital and our vendor service reps. This has helped us out of many a jam late at night.”
“As a four-facility rural health care system, we rely heavily on our Clinical Engineering Team,” Melissa Robinson, Director of Nursing at the Carrollton facility said. “They are responsive and an effective part of our Tanner Team. Without their help and support we could not provide the quality care our institution strives to accomplish.”
Debra Moshiri, a Philips Patient Care and Monitoring Account Manager, agreed.
“I have worked with the clinical engineering department of Tanner Health Systems for nearly 15 years,” Moshiri said. “The knowledge base of John, Eric, Ted and Josh regarding Philips monitoring allows us to work together to develop the best solution for the hospital. They are dedicated, reliable and eternally upbeat regardless of the pressures at hand. At a recent ICU installation where a mounting/cabling solution became an issue, they worked all day to resolve the issue and assist with an ‘out of the box’ solution to ensure that the end users were happy. It is a pleasure to work with a customer in a collaborative manner where we all can focus on providing better patient care and patient experience.”
Being an Aramark crew also has its benefits and helps the five-man clinical engineering department bring additional value to the Tanner system.
“We have access to our own intranet of approximately 500 hospitals to network with. We also enjoy some savings through this that we can pass along to our hospital,” Shore explained. “For instance, we purchase our CT glass on a program with the manufacturer that provides a huge savings over a straight purchase. We also have subject matter experts to rely on in different modalities. Lastly, we have an equipment management program that is proven to meet the needs and requirements of the facility and The Joint Commission.”
The department has a sizeable training budget and that helps the technicians stay up to date on the latest trends.
“We normally try to get schools included with equipment purchases. Within the last four months we have had people attend schools on a CT, anesthesia machines and IV pumps,” Shore said. “We also had a tech attend a school on the CRES certification. We have been very involved with the North Carolina Biomedical Association and receive training and great networking at their annual symposiums.”
Shore also recently attended the MD Expo in Nashville.
“I have been attending the NCBA symposium for 35 years and thought it was tops other than AAMI. I think (MD Expo) has to be in my rotation from now on,” he said. “(It is a) great show with great value.”
“It has been many years since I have been to a show other than the NCBA,” he added. “I connected with quite a few people I haven’t seen in a long time. I saw a solution at the AIV booth to a problem we are experiencing. I believe we are actually about to purchase several dozen of them.”
The five-man team is also very active in the bigger picture at the hospitals that they serve. Shore said they are active in equipment acquisition and work closely with the IT department.
“We are very involved with equipment acquisition,” Shore explained. “Two months ago, we started working on a new five-year plan.”
He said it is great to be a part of the planning and to work with leaders who see the advantages of foresight and spending money when it is the best course of action.
“Tanner has an extremely sharp administration,” Shore said. “They have taken care of things. They don’t spend money if they don’t have to, but they are not scared to spend it if they need to.”
Shore’s team is crucial when it comes to cost savings for Tanner.
“One of our department’s objectives every month is to keep a list of eight examples of cost savings on a spreadsheet and to keep up with it,” Shore said.
One example that Shore shared was when the department searched for alternative sources for parts and generated cost savings of about $250,000 over six months.
Ted Harris shared a story that summed up the clinical engineering team at Tanner Medical Center. He said a group of vendors were visiting from Tokyo. They were taking a tour and getting a better idea of everything the clinical engineering department does for the health system.
“They said, ‘If we can take this shop with us, we will sign the contract today,’” Harris said.
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