CHIME: Devices can drive better leadership collaboration

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SAN ANTONIO—As more and more medical equipment comes into use, technicians who understand both the technology and the clinician applications, are in greater demand. A biomedical engineering department is the answer for Baylor Health Care System in Dallas. Two leaders from the organization spoke about this at CHIME11, the Fall CIO Forum.

Baylor has more than 57,000 biomedical devices with a purchase price of more than $570 million, according to Kenneth Maddock, vice president of clinical engineering and telecom services. His department is focused on “a strong clinical and technical background with a focus on patient safety and customer service.” It’s a small team, he said, but has a big budget, scope and responsibilities.

Clinical engineering (CE) can help other departments, Maddock said, if they include the CE head in leadership meetings. Others also can learn from CE’s customer service skills and cost-savings ideas, and take advantage of its medical equipment management database.

He said that employees can help the CE team with managing their database, developing more effective processes, managing projects and financial management.

David Muntz, senior vice president and CIO at Baylor, provided his perspective as well. He explained that biomedical engineering and information services had a history of working independently, sometimes competitively, until unifying in 2006. The department has evolved along with the devices that have become smarter and more networked.

At Baylor, the role of the CIO has evolved as well, Muntz said, from not knowing what the biomedical department even did to seeking out ways to work together. Now, the organization maintains separate networks for biomedical equipment and data. Departments have worked together to put a wireless policy in place that impacts behaviors in areas with medical devices.

The speakers offered the following advice for management of shared organizations:

  • Deliberate and managed interactions; and
  • Asking “What can I do to help you be more effective?”.

Also, they recommended that facilities determine whether they are integrating processes and technologies for:

  • Governance;
  • Budget management;
  • Professional development;
  • Supply chain processes;
  • Help desk functions;
  • Escalation procedures and policies;
  • Project management; or
  • Recognition programs.

    “Convergence must be real and deliberate rather than an illusion,” was Maddock and Muntz’s take-away message.