The Future of Clinical Engineering
Apr 11, 2022
Fri, 4/8 2:48PM • 24:33
clinical, engineering, service, contract, supply chain, role, cmms, brian, inspire, person, organization, resource, diagnostic imaging, management, building, engineers, vision, sponsor, people, strategic
Chyrill Sandrini 00:10
Welcome to htm Insider. We’re back again today. And of course, I’m your host Chyrill with MultiMedical systems. And I’m really excited about my new friend Brian Dolan. Bayhealth Brian, maybe, just take a moment to introduce yourself and let us know your background and clinical engineering. We really appreciate that.
Yeah. So Hi, I’m Brian Dolan. I’m the as was stated at Bayhealth. In Delaware, I am the Vice President of resource management. That includes the department’s of supply chain clinical engineering and sterilization services. So my background for clinical engineering really started in the perioperative realm. I grew up in Peri op services before I jumped over into more of the support ancillary side of the world, where my first foray was really a project that was centered around anesthesia equipment, and how do we optimize that, and we were able to actually grow a group out of that response for a periodic clinical engineering department. And my love of that subject has never failed. So it’s been great progress from there, with ultimately looking at system wide programs.
Chyrill Sandrini 01:18
And it’s awesome. It’s kind of exciting to me to hear how you have really merged a lot of different service lines in the hospital into one net, so to speak, right? Yeah. So that’s exciting. So tell everybody today, your new idea that I think is kind of revolutionary, and really excited to talk to the audience about it today. What’s the title of this new role you’ve created at Bayhealth? Yeah, so
just just to back up just one second on the premise behind this, what we saw as we were coming in to this job at Bayhealth. It was originally supply chain. And so when we talked about supply chain, it felt like it was really ignoring the other parts of our team. Because yes, there’s supply chain and clinical engineering or supply chain and sterilization services. But it really didn’t capture it. And so when we looked at this, we were really revising our whole strategic direction around, how are we managing the resources and equipment, supplies, services, etc, for our organization as a whole. So in that lens, we looked at clinical engineering as a critical resource for our organization in order to deliver timely, effective and safe care. And in order to really go and reimagine what that meant for clinical engineering, that connection to the patients, it was essential for us to really inspire a new direction. And we looked at a new role, which was a strategic sourcing analyst, which would be embedded within the departments to replicate what supply chain and sterile processing I’ve been doing it for years from a quality management, agile thinking project management perspective, but bringing that home into the clinical engineering department. And our goal was to really say, how do we move from that transactional mindset of complete RPMs get through all of our service tickets, making sure that we can follow our medical equipment management plan to the tee? And how do we go from that transactional check the box mentality over into a more strategic viewpoint of how clinical engineering could operate for the future to enable the best patient outcomes?
Chyrill Sandrini 03:32
Is this one of the things that kept you up at night? Brian?
Yes, I definitely we’ll say that. Because as I was, we were coming into this new system. And of course, I’m bringing with me a bunch of ideas from what I used to do, and my old job, or what I call my past life now. Reflecting back on, on the tarot cards and the crystal ball my past life, one of the big things we realized when we came into here was that we needed to truly assess the maturity model of our current clinical engineering department in order to say that we can be the best and enable the best possible outcomes for our organization, both from a clinical and financial perspective. And so as we did that, we started mind mapping out on a big whiteboard making charts and graphs and quadrants and arrows and every shape we could pick out of the book, to start really going through and diagnosing where we had a huge gap. And so one of the big gaps we saw was this strategic mindset around what could be. And so it kept me up at night trying to figure out what’s the solution? What’s the resource we need to add to this puzzle that can tie together some of these issues we saw with missing end data, attachment to contracting processes, looking at cost but also holding our vendors accountable for service, all the things that our clinical engineers want, and wish they have time in their day to do but we really want them to focus on what their intention is every single day is make Ensure equipment is up and ready and at a level of quality for our patients. So we needed somebody else to come into the picture to help complete that full vision.
Chyrill Sandrini 05:09
So when you came up with this idea, you know, you finally went had that aha moment in the middle of the night. Did you go to leadership? And they said, What are how were they? Were they receptive? How was the rest of your leadership team thinking? Is he crazy.
So I can say, within our, in our family of resource management, people thought it made a lot of sense to be able to have this type of role. And we had bits and pieces being done in different buckets, but it wasn’t all combined into one solid picture or person to help solidify that message. So we work together to kind of build that, what that would look like, what’s that vision of the future. And we went to our Chief Operating Officer and our chief financial officer to pitch the idea. Of course, we had to sell a second born or our souls to justify the expense. But you were able to show here’s the roadmap and vision we have, because as we started mapping out and showing them that like today’s value of over reliance on manufacturers for certain things, and being really being not understanding our data to the level that we need to, and being able to make data driven decisions efficiently, was needing that strategic mindset, that person who could really be in the weeds every day with that information. And so they were quickly able to see that there was a value prop that was coming out of that. But we basically said, let’s try it, let’s do a small test of change. Let’s see what we get. And we can justify this return on investment. And I’m sure you guys will be celebrating this later.
Chyrill Sandrini 06:45
You know, that’s awesome. Now was that person then when you wrote that job description was that a be met, that you were looking for?
Actually, we were wanting somebody who had a good mixture of experience. So they needed to know enough in clinical engineering, to understand the CMMS environment, they had to have the gift of understanding procurements and contracting and how that flowed through the organization. But they also had to have the people side, the people side is a very critical piece of this, we don’t want somebody who’s just all in the spreadsheets that can’t interact with the customer. And so relationship management and being able to have that interpersonal connection to bridge the work and the customer’s needs was critical. So ultimately, you know, when you started putting all those requirements on paper, you’re like, Okay, this is somebody who has a very unique background. But ultimately, we were very lucky that we that even in the department, our administrative assistant that was in the department, actually was in a buyer before in procurement. And then had been the CE administrative assistant who worked in our, our CMMS system and had been working with GE and some of our other major suppliers for different opportunities for contracts and things just to clean the database up. And so we said, oh, well, we have this magic person. And she has the personality skills. And she, she gets along with all the engineers and has the respect. And that was so critical. Because without that somebody who’s trying to feed a change into the process wouldn’t be as successful.
Chyrill Sandrini 08:20
That’s very true. Now, when you got into the weeds with this, and you started, you know, down the road, did you start realizing money savings
we did. So as we went through, and even just in the first five or six contracts that were coming up, we were actually able to negotiate and she’s a hardline negotiator. And I really appreciate the no nonsense approach to it. And her saying is always you don’t get what you don’t ask for. And we were actually in that first year of implementing her role. She quickly saw right now about $500,000 in the first year on App roughly, that we were able to secure from cost avoidance or service cost reduction for existing contracts. So really unleashing her on some of those projects. And we did it in a very targeted way because we didn’t want to overwhelm her to start with because you know, there’s a plethora of opportunity. It really did help her get narrowed down on an actual results. And we got to see that and report it and celebrate her and our CFO and CLL. Both sent very specific written recommend recommendations and highlights to her about how they saw that work. And
Chyrill Sandrini 09:35
so that’s a huge cost savings.
Yes. And even in this fiscal year so far, and we started in July. She’s already tallied up over $800,000 worth of avoidance and service costs. So she has been, you know, tackling, she can’t leave but you know, we’re very happy for her. And but it shows that the model that we’re introducing is producing results. We know it’s an Perfect, but we know we can continue to work together. And we even had a conversation this morning about different ideas we could do to make it even better. So
Chyrill Sandrini 10:07
oh, that’s exciting. Now, was it a motivated experience? From the conversations with Amy? Like, how did that I know, Amy’s been working on this for a long time really, is to kind of, you know, elevate the profession. Right? So was that your first motivation? And is Amy seeing what you’re doing now.
So for our motivation that started off, Amy did inspire it with their maturity models, we pulled out the documents that were on the site around HTML maturity. And we saw common themes there. For us to be able to say we’re at the highest possible level based on that maturity scale of really understanding our business, being able to give a product to all of our customers. So if we’re saying we’re going to get really tied into integrating in diagnostic imaging are getting tight in the lab, the prime way to get in those doors, so you’re not just focused on nursing that surgery periodic items, is to be able to show value. And they can get value currently from their current service providers as a primary source. So if we’re saying diagnostic imaging, they might be extremely satisfied with the level of service they have with GE Healthcare. And we’re not trying to replace them, we’re just trying to provide additional value inside our environment that can be a resource. And so when we start getting involved in say, imaging contracts, or radiation, oncology related service agreements, you know, we’re able to show a value of return on that making it easier for them to get through that service contracting perspective, maybe find opportunities for modifying the service requirements and SLAs that are in the agreements, and ultimately getting to a better bottom line for them, either through pre negotiation or setting up the right contract and revisiting that. So when we look at the maturity model, again, it’s getting back into and building better connections and stronger points for clinical engineering throughout all modalities of the organization. And so this is a tool for us to be able to start those conversations, and an entry point of saying, let’s help you with understanding your service cost your capital replacement strategy, those things and then being able to expand even further. And as a result, even this last year, we were able to use this data to justify building an actual imaging engineer position here, and expanding their coverage for first looks at cetera. And now we also have somebody who’s more specially cheering in telemetry and building that out more. And it’s just inspiring more and more work. But it’s, but it’s all value added work that leads back to our mission and vision as a healthcare organization.
Chyrill Sandrini 12:38
I bet that this really took a lot of weight off your managers, your directors, I just can’t imagine because I see it across the country. There’s so much on the shoulders. Yes. So many ways, right? Yes. Tell me how they were affected and what their comments were. Yeah, so
our director managers of clinical sharing. At first, they were, you know, they loved the idea because one, they loved our embedded person that was going to be able to help establish that they had positive relationships, and they have that level of trust. The biggest thing was getting them to realize, like, what’s the vision here? And where could it go, and trying to temper and prioritize where that vision needs to be executed? Because it’s really easy to go, Okay, we’re going to do all these wonderful things get a full understanding of our capital equipment, full understanding of contract costs, our CMMS, eight is going to be pristine. Those are all big, hairy, audacious goals in this constantly changing environment. And so when we went down this road, it was really giving them a lay of the land of saying, this is where we’re going to start. And they’ve loved it, actually. And they go to that resource because it augments their management responsibilities, too. Because they’re, they have a point person now to say, Where’s What is this contract? If I need to call in service on these, how do I make sure it’s linked to the right contract, and it’s inspired them to actually change workflows and the CMMS to help integrate this person. And when they’ve asked questions with our analysts asking questions about, hey, I want to know if we have any issues with, you know, accidental damage that maybe is causing, you know, this contract to look a little bit funny or anything like that, or actually our clinical engineering manager for both of our campuses, hospital sites, he identified a way to go into the CMMS build a whole new workflow to capture that cost. And now she has another tool in our tool belt when she’s looking at analyzing the business of Clinical engineering.
Chyrill Sandrini 14:42
That’s awesome. That’s great to hear. So how long has she been in this position?
So she’s been doing this now for a little over a year. So a quick return on investment unless we secure but it really did take from an executive support perspective in my role Was that sponsor of this change? Really thinking through how to barrier best for for that role, how to help frame and prioritize work? So there’s like usually a sit down once a month or two every two months that we’re sitting down and going through, what’s your list what’s in and out? How can we really give you some focus, because it’s very easy for this to become overwhelming. So even with that short term time, and that return on investment, she’s done, we want to make sure she’s happy, healthy and sane through that change. So it’s important that we recognize the people side of this just as much as we see that return on investment.
Chyrill Sandrini 15:35
And then you said something really important there that like sponsor of change? Wow, that’s powerful. You think about it sponsor of change. So you are brave enough with those thoughts running through your head and getting out of status quo to try something different? Now, have you seen any other organizations across the United States? Maybe adopting this or have you shared it or just the first time,
so we’ve shared it in the supply chain realm to try to inspire people to have conversations, because traditionally, this type of role seems to be linked more to the supply chain discipline of value analysis in healthcare. But it has a clear value proposition in the clinical engineering realm. And so we started having that conversation a little bit with our colleagues and supply chain at the national level through the Association for healthcare resource materials management, to give them that perspective of this is a potential dialogue you want to have with your political engineering partners, and family members. But definitely, I could see this as something that can grow, because we’re even talking internally about is it more than one person’s job to do this. And because we have seen a great, tremendous amount of value. And as we’ve shown that there’s a great demand from the other departments now to going I want help with this, I want help with this. So it’s really writing. It’s writing itself, the story and as we go along, but I see this corporation, the app, yeah. And it should be advocated for by multiple professions to that’s I think, the helpful part of my role is that change sponsor is that I can speak from both the value of our overall supply chain the value to clinical engineering, we’ve seen value even in our sterilization service line with some of the contracts and things that she’s been able to work on. And so we can now tell that story. And that’s such a critical part of this element is being able to go back and tell the story about it, to keep supporting this initiative going.
Chyrill Sandrini 17:33
So, obviously, you’re an in house program. Yes. So how could this maybe be unleashed into that third party, clinical engineering relationship? That can be beneficial? Because there’s sometimes there’s a gap there, right? We hired you to do x, and we expect you to do X for X amount of dollars. Right? That is very true. Did you? Can you foresee that or? Yeah, no,
I definitely can. Because as I’ve you know, in my time doing this work, I’ve been both engaged with some of these third party vendors, either from that strategic, you know, G Phillips kind of model that’s coming in and helping to work with you. But also you see a gap there from this strategy beyond just the scope of work. And then you see hospitals and bringing in these consulting companies to look at cost management and efficiency management. And so then you have these, you have to have now two to three to four to 567 different resources that are outside your walls having to come in and work with you. I think third party companies, if they look at this model and adapt it, this could be a value generation and return on investment tool that should be offered either from a business part of our standard offering, or even a value added service that can be bolted on. But I definitely see the ability for them to be able to say we can not only just transact this stuff for you. But we want to help you make sure that you can transform the way you’re providing care through more data driven decision making, when it comes to how clinical engineering really is a lifeblood component of how they were enterprises operating.
Chyrill Sandrini 19:13
Yeah, it was a I really believe passionately that we are all stewards of healthcare and healthcare dollars. 100%, right. And we all we all use the system ourselves, and our families use the systems. We’re not committed to be the sponsor of change, or growth. Or even sometimes it’s even just a personal you want things to be better. Who’s gonna do it?
Yeah, and that’s the thing is that you have to really have that advocate that wants to think outside the box and change the picture. And one of the things that we’ve really honored ourselves and with our clinical engineering department is we’re not just about again, completing what’s regulatory required in us. It’s truly going what’s next, what else? What’s the next thing we need to be looking at? And so even within this role that’s embedded in our department, we found opportunities just beyond even beyond cost, where right now she’s actually working on a project for us, and coordinating with the engineers and helping them organize their thoughts and documentation and everything for how to deploy mobile telemetry. And our clinical engineers, you know, when we get that equipment, and we make the decision to acquire that equipment, they’re like, Okay, I know how to, I know how to manage it, I know how to get it. In functional status. I know the vendor contacts, I know all those critical components to actually make it operate. But then we started saying, how do we How does clinical engineering guide the deployment of that the development of the procedures, the value prop to say, we should expand or contract this program and measuring it. And so bringing that like that business minded person into the mix, she’s able to project manage, and help ensure that we have all of our stakeholders involved that we’re getting through and actual value driven projects, that will actually not just save us efficiency and cost and things like that for our system. So we can be more agile with a mobile solution, but also eliminate a ton of waste and what people are having to endure today, just because they didn’t think to ask the question, should we have a mobile telemetry? And then how do we use it the right way?
Chyrill Sandrini 21:17
Cuz I think we do a lot of status quo, right? If it’s working, don’t fix it, don’t break it, you know, leave it as it is. Everything’s fine. We’ve always done it that way. So it sounds to me like you’ve really gone from transactional to transformational. Yes. Right. And that’s really inspiring. Brian, I really liked this. I really think we need to get that out there. And would you be open to talking to other people in the industry? If they want to give you a call and say, Hey, Brian, how’d you do this?
Very much. Our team is always open to share and help contribute to the greater health care network.
Chyrill Sandrini 21:54
Do you attend any of the conferences like MD Expo? Amy?
I have been go I have been to those in the past. Yes, I am not sure if I’ll be able to go Amy this year. But I have a lot of other conferences ready to get to. But definitely love to stay connected with everyone in the network.
Chyrill Sandrini 22:10
Yeah, we really appreciate you coming on today. So we always like to end each one of our podcast with the WoW word, your Word of Wisdom, it can be more than just one. You could add two, three, or four or a sentence. But if you want to leave everybody today that tuned in with your words of wisdom, what would it be?
I would have to say, every time I always think about this myself, and this is what kind of helps me inspire this type of change. But I would have to say never be satisfied. And always keep your eyes on the TrueNorth
Chyrill Sandrini 22:43
Oh, that is really special. That almost made me tear up a little bit. That was good. I might need to put that on the shirt.
Merchandise is now available on my page.
Chyrill Sandrini 22:56
I like it, I like it. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. And we’ll put your contact information out with this podcast. And you know, I hope people reach out to you and be right that sponsor change.
Definitely happy to help let me know.
Chyrill Sandrini 23:12
Thank you, Brian.
Thank you very much.
Chyrill Sandrini 23:21
htm insider listeners. Follow us on your favorite podcast locations including iTunes Spotify, and we look forward to hearing your comments and your input. Thank you again and have a great day.