In this business profile, Henry Hummel, CEO, Chris Dunkerley, CFO, and Shane Landrum, senior vice president for TriMedx, discuss how a strong clinical engineering function can help organizations fully leverage their clinical assets.
Tell us a little about your organization.
Henry Hummel: Created by health care for health care in 1998, TriMedx began as a clinical engineering department at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. Nineteen years later, we proudly boast more than 1,500 associates who are focused on serving our customers at more than 1,800 healthcare sites nationwide. The company simplifies and streamlines clinical engineering processes using a cost-effective, low-risk model. By working with us, hospitals can achieve clinical engineering excellence via our comprehensive service for all modalities, including biomed, imaging, and laboratory.
We help our clients unlock the full potential of their clinical assets by providing insight into the details and performance of those assets, including what can result from higher utilization. Our equipment-management programs efficiently plan, manage, and optimize an organization’s medical equipment while documenting, tracking, and measuring service delivery performance—resulting in greater accountability, cost savings, and increased clinician satisfaction.
How does your service offering help organizations improve performance?
Chris Dunkerley: TriMedx provides a clear lens through which organizations can see hidden clinical engineering costs. Many times, these costs are some of the toughest to identify. For most health systems, the function can be severely fragmented, and the expenses tend to be spread across various departments in the general ledger. We often find that hospitals are equipment-inventory-heavy and have more assets than necessary.
Hummel: Our company converts excessive clinical engineering spend into savings on day one. Once we’ve established a client’s current spend, we create savings by examining the potential of the organization’s medical equipment assets to understand what can be reduced or adjusted. We leverage our vendor-neutral historical service cost and life cycle management data on more than 1.7 million medical devices to provide clarity around equipment utilization. This allows us to reduce spend by planning, managing, and optimizing assets in the most efficient ways. Our method gives clients a deeper understanding of their spend, enabling them to save up front, as well as over time. This lets them redeploy funds to other priorities that help them fully serve their patients.
What are some key considerations for healthcare leaders when choosing this type of service?
Hummel: Healthcare leaders should prioritize timely access to resources and focused clinical expertise above all other considerations. TriMedx is one of the largest clinical engineering service providers in the world. We have an innate understanding of our customers’ concerns, and we glean insight from them, as well as through conversations with prospective clients. Although there are other programs available in the marketplace, they are often confusing, with clients left with questions about what is covered and when, as well as why there are expensive “bill-aboves” outside of the contract. Conversely, our programs are easy to understand, and we provide hospitals with quarterly value reports detailing customer satisfaction, equipment repair data, and overall program value.
Shane Landrum: Organizations should consider a partner that is 100 percent asset management-focused and vendor-neutral. Although providing timely and reliable equipment service is critical to the success of any clinical engineering program, so is an efficient process for parts procurement and sourcing. When reviewing a potential vendor, check for their access to replacement parts and purchasing scalability.
Dunkerley: Clinical engineering cost savings are derived from many areas of operational efficiency, but a truly successful program is built on the skill of its technicians. As such, continual technician training and development where education opportunities and assessments occur regularly are critical. Also, a vendor’s employee count should be scalable to operational needs. TriMedx has more than 1,500 associates, and our clinical engineering technicians and managers can work on site in the hospital or health system, servicing and sharing knowledge for biomed, laboratory, and imaging equipment across all manufacturers. We provide industry-leading training, and we also offer ample career development pathways for our technicians and managers.
Landrum: As regulatory guidelines and technology continue to advance, it is important to integrate “smart” medical devices that securely transmit electronic personal health information (ePHI) into a hospital network. TriMedx can assess and track which devices transmit data, store them, and present a regulatory risk, keeping a hospital compliant. We also partner with hospital IT leadership to ensure alignment and offer support on these “smart” devices.
Hummel: We can also manage an organization’s mobile medical equipment. We track utilization, location, sanitization status, and maintenance needs for equipment, such as pumps, beds, and vacuums. For these mobile, high-use devices, our inventory-management approach reduces infection risk because we use a scheduled, rigorous, device-specific and manufacturer-recommended sanitization protocol. This also limits excess rental equipment by increasing the availability of cleaned and staged on-demand devices.
As healthcare organizations implement use of your service into their day-to-day operations, what advice would you offer so they can best set themselves up for success?
Hummel: The implementation of any new service or program requires a solid foundation of communication. TriMedx’s dedicated implementation team is in constant communication with hospital leaders and department managers to determine how best to fit our program into daily operations. We pursue a phased and efficient timeline that avoids patient care disruptions. In addition, our transition process provides thorough training for all hospital equipment end-users and incoming technicians before the program is implemented and after go-live.
Dunkerley: Engagement is the key to success. We closely partner with a hospital or health system by aligning with its capital budget and equipment wish list and showing how we positively affect the bottom line through detailed, quarterly performance reports. The stronger a partnership is, the more value we add and cost savings we can provide. Measuring the success of a best-in-class clinical engineering program involves determining how well the vendor not only integrates within a hospital’s scope of work, but also how it interweaves into the entire organization’s ecosystem, including supply chain, operations, capital committees, executive leaders, risk and compliance, caregivers, and so on. It is TriMedx’s calling to be the best clinical engineering partner, bringing together frequently disaggregated ecosystems to make the clearest strategic decisions that ultimately support patient care.
Are there any educational materials you would like to share to help healthcare providers learn more?
Landrum: The TriMedx website has many great resources at www.trimedx.com. I particularly recommend our 7 Stages of Clinical Engineering program analysis tool and our Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare implementation client success story. Also, stop by and see us at ANI 2017 at booth 1441.
Created by healthcare for healthcare, TriMedx understands that patients are the No. 1 priority. A United States-based company, TriMedx started as a hospital clinical engineering department focused on reducing expenses, optimizing service, and enhancing the patient experience through innovative medical equipment management programs. Today, TriMedx is recognized around the globe as a leader in medical equipment management.
Content for this Business Profile is supplied by TriMedx. This published piece is provided for advertisement purposes. HFMA does not endorse the published material or warrant or guarantee its accuracy. The statements and opinions of those profiled are those of the individual and not those of HFMA. References to commercial manufacturers, vendors, products, or services that appear do not constitute endorsement by HFMA.