More United States hospitals are responding to the influx of connected medical devices by reorganizing legacy patient care networks and traditional IT and Biomed departments, placing clinical engineers and IT specialists under the same department. These hospitals recognize that reliable medical device networks require Biomedical and IT departments that work effectively together to leverage digital tools that proactively scan the network for anomalies.
Frost & Sullivan’s virtual think tank, Best Practices for Managing Patient Monitoring Networks Across the IT and Biomedical Departments, aims to understand what best practices successful hospitals were following to keep these critical pieces of infrastructure functional and focused on supporting patient care.
Software solutions that can help to proactively monitor these growing and increasingly complex networks should be part of every facility’s strategy for reducing the impact of outages and data loss. The results of the survey include:
• All respondents reported that maintaining a patient monitoring network was extremely important, but were experiencing serious medical device network glitches and failures on a monthly basis.
• Half of the panelists reported the Biomedical department was responsible for maintaining medical device networks, a quarter reported it was the IT department’s job and the remainder indicated other entities were responsible.
• 35% to 40% of hospitals have aligned their clinical engineering department under the IT department in the facility’s reporting structure. Consolidating the two departments under a single executive is one way to help reduce “turf war” conflict, but shared leadership and incentives are not a substitute for communication and planning.
• In 2011, 2017 and 2018, the ECRI Institute identified failures in medical device and other IT networks were among the top 10 health technology hazards.
“This dependency on information makes the network one of the most important pieces of health IT infrastructure. Consistent network functionality allows providers to interact with clinical information faster, thereby expediting patient care,” noted Charlie Whelan, Transformational Health Vice President of Consulting. “As organizations continue upgrading their clinical networks and introducing a greater number of medical devices to their digital environments, managing clinical networks will become increasingly complex.”
The following industry thought leaders participated in this virtual think tank: Laura Groselle, Manager of Clinical Engineering at Cleveland Clinic; Richard Straub, Director of Clinical Engineering Biomed Services at UPMC; Christopher George, Biomedical Engineering Supervisor at Lancaster General Hospital; Ricardo Ortiz, Biomed Manager at United Regional Medical Center; Tony Alongi, System Director of Clinical Engineering at Rochester General Hospital; and Lou Kowatch, Senior Director of Healthcare Digital Service at GE Healthcare.
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About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare (gehealthcare.com) is the $19.8 billion healthcare business of GE. As a leading provider of medical imaging, monitoring, biomanufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies, GE Healthcare enables precision health in diagnostics, therapeutics and monitoring through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services. With over 100 years of experience in the healthcare industry and more than 50,000 employees globally, the company helps improve outcomes more efficiently for patients, healthcare providers, researchers and life sciences companies around the world.