Jim Cheek is president of Crothall’s Healthcare Technology Solutions (HTS) division. He has worked in healthcare managed services for more than 35 years, including the past seven years at Crothall. In this Q&A with Jim, he discusses the value HTS brings to its clients.
Q. What does the Healthcare Technology Solutions division do?
In its simplest terms, we perform preventive and corrective maintenance on all of the medical equipment and devices in a hospital. These include computer tomography (CT) scanners, electrocardiogram (EKG) machines, MRI and X-ray machines.
Q. Ok, that sounds simple enough. But how do you have an impact on the hospital and its patient care?
Look at it this way. Medical equipment is one of the single largest expenses in any hospital. On average, it makes up 25 percent of an average hospital’s capital budget. So, by prolonging the lifespan of their equipment, it allows them to use funds to invest in other items, such as new technology for patient care. Our ability to maintain the equipment is a tremendous financial victory for our clients.
Q. Do you help hospitals control and drive down costs?
Yes. We want to provide the highest service in the most efficient way, so that means helping hospitals drive down costs and save money. And we have some built-in advantages. A hospital may contract with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to service their diagnostic imaging equipment, but the OEM doesn’t have any technicians at the hospital. But we do. We put people on site that can work on high-end imaging and other medical equipment.
Q. What other benefits do you provide?
We play a significant role in protecting hospitals from a cyberattack. In many cases, all of the medical devices in a hospital are connected to a central network. If that network is attacked and goes down, the hospital can’t perform surgeries or other important work. Our technicians work with the hospital’s Information Technology department to make sure its software is updated and can identify where any problems could occur. In addition, all of our technicians are certified by a third-party organization that gives them the skills to integrate their work with IT.
Q. Anything else?
We feel we are part of the clinical team that helps deliver quality care to patients. Unlike our counterparts at Morrison, we may not be delivering food service and having daily conversations with patients. But we make sure clinicians have clean, safe, reliable equipment. And that gives them more time at the bedside to provide care. That’s not only good for the patient, but increases job satisfaction for nurses and clinicians.
Q. You joined Crothall seven years ago to run the Healthcare Technology Solutions division. What changes have been made to improve quality and care?
Our organization has grown in recent years, partly because of the client referrals from Morrison and other Crothall divisions. Because we are larger, we have created a new organizational structure for our diagnostic imaging team to provide better service. To my earlier point, this means our clients don’t need to call the original equipment manufacturers to service equipment – they can call us.
Our expertise has also grown, enabling us to provide more information to clients about their capital spending plans. This helps them make better purchasing decisions that can have a long-term impact on the hospital. They are often planning equipment purchases five years out, so the more we can help them make good decisions, the more money they will have to run their operation.
Q. How do you demonstrate your technical prowess to current and potential clients?
One way is to seek industry and third-party certifications of our skills. For example, we renewed our ISO* 13485: 2016 certification. While this designation may be a mouthful, it’s an international standard that sets the requirements for an organization’s quality management system specific to medical devices.
Our recertification provides a tremendous benefit to our hospital and health system partners who can be reassured that we have the policies, practices, and procedures to deliver consistent quality in repair and support services. Few of our competitors have achieved this certification, and it should give hospital leaders confidence that we can service every part of their medical device’s life cycle.
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