From service barriers to a culture of convenience.

By Alies Hoogstra | 12 April 2018

Nurses and staff were searching for equipment, walking all over the hospital wasting time, and causing confusion because nobody knew where all of the infusion pumps and beds were located. This should be different thought Martijn de Vries, coordinator of Clinical Engineering for the hospital.

Traditionally, nursing departments were managing their own devices. If they ran short on a piece of equipment they had to make numerous phone calls to track down equipment which then had to be brought to them. This lack of equipment availability triggered procurement purchasing more equipment that was ultimately put into a storage room. According to Joop Grit, project leader of Clinical Engineering for the hospital, ‘‘Infusion pumps were bought and added every year, while 60 percent were unused somewhere next to a bed or tucked away in a storage room.’’ In addition, beds were often placed incorrectly, causing unsafe situations, noted Martijn de Vries.

Maintenance on equipment was becoming very difficult to perform. Preventative maintenance on beds is required every year. To complete this maintenance, 15 beds were inspected twice a week. This was an extremely difficult task because biomed could not find the equipment and would often have to interrupt the clinical team and ask for assistance finding the beds. These process breakdowns triggered the Clinical Engineering department to work with a vendor to develop a system that could track, trace, and automate this workflow. This system helped the hospital implement a much more efficient logistics process and ensure that the right equipment was in the right condition, in the right location and ready to use. With the use of this new technology, Joop Grit noted that they expect to be able to reduce the number of infusion pumps in inventory by 20%. The success of this process has also helped with the storage of beds and for the correct product mix available for patients in every ward.

The feedback from nurses has been a sense of relief to have a process where their time can be spent on patient care versus tracking down equipment. They feel the departments are better organized, and they are able to get the equipment they need at the right time. The technology also allows the beds to be scanned once a patient has left the facility. This triggers the maintenance department cleaning cycle and alerts if the bed needs to be exchanged for one that is already up to specifications.

The technicians from Hillrom (the bed manufacturer) visit twice a week to check and maintain their equipment. They are happy with the new system. It cuts down their time at the hospital because they know that the equipment will all be in the same place when they arrive. The dashboard that is in the Clinical Engineering department also provides an overview of infusion pumps in clean rooms per unit/department for their standard patient levels. They can see exactly which wards have a surplus and which a deficit. Every evening Clinical Engineering uses the dashboard to ensure each unit has the correct equipment for the following day for their respective number of patients.

Polsslag 2 UMCG 12 April 2018, pp 2. [pdf]