During the fall, the 460-acre campus at the University of Vermont (UVM) is adorned with a kaleidoscope of color. It may be the only thing more striking than the university’s architecture, which includes many historic buildings. Founded in 1791, UVM is located in the city of Burlington. The 225-year old institution sits on the shore of Lake Champlain, just a portion of its 587 miles of shoreline.
The campus includes a Medical Education Center and a teaching hospital. The UVM Medical Center works in alliance with the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Handling the needs of the medical equipment at the Medical Center, along with regional community hospitals, clinics, and private practitioners is the Technical Services Partnership (TSP), which is a not-for-profit shared service division within the University of Vermont covering facilities in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.
TSP’s inception was in 1973 and was originally borne out of the work of a UVM graduate student who conducted a needs assessment of all hospitals in the state of Vermont. The program blossomed after the Universities of Maine and New Hampshire got involved and grant money was secured to launch the new partnership. The grant funding continued through the fall of 1976, at which time hospitals picked up remunerating the services.
“Technical Services Partnership is a department of the University of Vermont with 54 staff members including biomedical technicians, clinical engineers, supervisors and administrative support staff,” says Michael W. Lane, MBA, CMQOE, CHTM, associate director of TSP.
“We serve 30 hospitals in Vermont, New Hampshire and Northern New York along with more than 300+ clinics,” Lane says. “The University of Vermont Medical Center and Health Network covers five hospitals in the network.”
“All of our clinical engineers are certified through ACCE. More than 60 percent of our staff are certified through ACI as CBETs and two of our supervisory staff are certified as CHTM,” he says.
“The TSP University of Vermont program delivers high-quality online education for healthcare technology managers. TSP is dedicated to the profession locally and globally hosting international clinical engineering interns from across the United States, Peru and Columbia year round,” Lane adds.
The TSP team includes technicians who specialize in anesthesia, laser and biological safety.
“TSP provides services that cover the entire life cycle of healthcare technology management including planning (assessment, budgeting, acquisition and replacement services) and management (education, compliance, maintenance and safety),” Lane says.
“TSP is actively involved in the integration of medical equipment at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Integration efforts include physiological monitoring, ventilation [and] SPO2,” Lane says.
“We manage service contracts through our program called CAPP, which is a centralized management program for all sites,” Lane adds.
“We evaluate the service contract and identify the optimum terms and conditions through consultation with the department manager. The selection of the service vendor, terms of service and coverage is agreed upon. The information is entered into our CMMS including scheduled PMs. All information related to the service contract is reviewed annually,” Lane explains.
Constant internal improvements are achieved through data collection and process refinements.
“Clients can request work online through an online portal. Data Collection is performed by the healthcare technology management staff at the time of service in the field,” Lane states.
“Standardization is accomplish through Best Practice routing to standardize equipment inventory information. A Best Practice team made up of biomedical technicians, clinical engineers, administrative staff and supervisors review ‘bright ideas’ submitted by staff monthly to take action to improve our data management and collection process,” he says.
“TSP aims to address the unique challenges of today’s Healthcare Technology Management challenges with unique and thoughtful solutions. Successful work along with challenges encountered along the way are published through our bright ideas submissions and elsewhere. These include challenges related to mentoring, certification, AEM planning and more,” Lanes says.
As mentioned, the group has brought creative thinking to readers though AAMI’s Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology (BI&T) Bright Ideas column over the past eight years. For instance, in the Spring 2015 issue, an article titled “Group’s Deep Data Dive Helps Optimize Medical Equipment Maintenance,” described how the TSP team undertook an initiative called the “Comprehensive Preventive Maintenance Frequency Adjustment Project.” The department utilized three years of data collection to optimize risk-adjusted scheduling of PMs.
An earlier Bright Ideas article discussed the group’s new hire orientation and how, through a five or six year process of fine tuning, they created a three-step process that makes new hires feel more welcome, imparts new training and assessment and real-time mentoring, along with spending an entire day at a client site. The entire process became very methodical and well-planned and included a scheduled follow-up checklist with each new hire. The TSP team will be offering up yet another bit of their shared wisdom with an article in 2017 titled; “PM Procedure Development Process to Meet AEM.”
Buttoning down medical devices and networks from cyber attacks and breaches is another project the group is busy with.
“We are working greatly on a project to develop the cybersecurity management process for medical device security,” Lane says. “This project is focused on defining a Risk Management Program for our entire inventory related to information security risks, developing protection and threat analysis strategies. The process is based on the IEC 80001 standards and guidance from NIST.”
TSP is also supportive of the HTM community outside its doors through presentations at the annual AAMI meeting, and through committee participation.
The TSP team continues to be a thought leader in HTM, along with its unique structure and history. Along with its management team, technicians and engineers, the partnership benefits patients in three states and biomeds nationwide.
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