HTM Discussion Group

Looking for numbers

  • 1.  Looking for numbers

    Posted 08-17-2018 10:17
    ​Hello everyone,

    We are having a discussion in our Biomed shop about Biomed completing repairs and PM's on Patient beds. One of the technicians I work with posed a question of how many Biomed departments around the country take care of the Patient beds as opposed to facilities Maint. So please chime in and let us know who takes care of them in your facility. He believes the number will be low I feel it is at least 50% of Biomed dept. take care of them.

    Joseph Deater AAS
    Munson Healthcare
    Traverse City MI
    (231) 935-5074

  • 2.  RE: Looking for numbers

    Posted 08-17-2018 11:36
    Hello Joseph,

    Here in Bermuda at The Bermuda Hospitals Board, our beds are serviced by us in the Biomed department. Quite a few years back they were serviced by the facilities department when they were more mechanical wind up beds. As more electro-mechanical and micro-chip electronic technology features were added to the beds, troubleshooting became a little more complex for the facilities department and Biomed became the next best choice for what was perceived as more complex servicing. Today we manage all maintenance and repairs for our beds. As we are located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and don't have immediate access to rapid parts delivery, our items are shipped by boat or come by plane. With this reality our having a parts inventory of the more frequently used parts is almost a must.

    Edward Smith CBET
    Biomed Department
    The Bermuda Hospital Board KEMH & MWI
    (441) 239-1259

  • 3.  RE: Looking for numbers

    Posted 08-18-2018 21:31

    Our HTM Program, 28-hospitals across the country, does perform maintenance on beds.  Your coworkers are still thinking like the "olden days."  They are correct in that beds used to be a facilities maintenance responsibility, but today, beds are high technology and have a significant impact to the patient outcome.  Unfortunately, the technology packed into the patient bed, especially an ICU bed, is chock full of high technology.  There is an integrated scale typically that the clinician uses to make decisions about the appropriate volume of medication or to monitor intake and output.  The bed might be integrated into the nurse call network or the patient EMR where such things as the bed rail position is monitored or the patient weight is automatically entered into the EMR.  The bed might have a specialized surface on it to ensure the integrity of the patient skin or prevent ventilator acquired pneumonia.

    I am not sure your average facilities management team is ready to take on that kind of technology.  In our situation, the facilities management department was buying service contracts across the 28-hospitals.  The cost was several million dollars annually.  The average HTM team could make a huge dent in that expense by taking on the responsibility of bed repair.  There is lots of opportunity in bed maintenance to demonstrate the value of HTM to senior leadership.  

    I hope you get a good volume of responses to your question.  I hope my peers realize the value opportunity for their employer and the patients they serve, by performing bed maintenance.

    Chris Nowak, CBET, CHP, CSCS

  • 4.  RE: Looking for numbers

    Posted 08-19-2018 10:43
    Dear All:

    Back in 2007, my colleagues and I analyzed data collected by Thomson Healthcare (formerly Solucient and now IBM Watson Health) from 253 acute care hospitals in 2006.  The results were published in the J Clinical Engineering (Wang B. R.W. Eliason, S.M. Richards, L.W. Hertzler & S. Koenigshof, Clinical Engineering Benchmarking An Analysis of American Acute Care Hospitals, J. Clin. Eng., 33:24-37, 2008) and they showed that ~40% of CE/HTM departments were responsible for beds at that time.  While I did not have the opportunity to analyze more recent data, I tend to agree with Chris that bed maintenance, especially the more sophisticated ones, are increasingly been transferred from plant engineering to CE/HTM.  In my view, the biggest challenge is not technological but space, as the CE/HTM shops are rarely big enough to accommodate them.  I have even seen the use of automobile lifts to save space.

    Best regards to all,


    Binseng Wang CCE ScD
    Cornelius NC
    (704) 896-9014

  • 5.  RE: Looking for numbers

    Posted 08-20-2018 09:41
    We do use a bed lifting storage system in one of our facility HTM offices.  Here is a link to such a system:

    Real estate is definitely the issue when it comes to bed maintenance.  Most of our facilities have a dedicated bed storage area, in an effort to get unused beds off of the floors of the hospitals.  "Unused" beds you ask, yes, when you have a patient that requires a specialty bed, perhaps requiring fluid therapy or significant rotation, there is a need to get the typical bed out of the room and insert the specialty bed product.  And of course, there are spare beds in the inventory.

    For departments wanting to enhance the HTM value proposition for their employer, I would suggest bed maintenance is a great opportunity.  Look at your employers current costs for bed maintenance.  Service Contracted?  Time and Materials?

    A quick story about value...  One of our facilities, prior to HTM doing bed maintenance, had a full service agreement.  The hospital purchased new beds to replace a group of older devices in their fleet.  The new beds had significant maintenance issues, mostly relating to inflation of the mattress.  The nurses hated them.  Patients sunk deep down into the mattress.  Our OEM service engineer had no problem coming in weekly to 5 to 10 failed beds.  He thought nothing of it.  HTM got involved when our new HTM program (HTM was outsourced prior to coming in-house) director intercepted a service contract request.  HTM gathered the service history of the contracted and warranted bed maintenance by the OEM.  HTM questioned the failure rate of the new beds.  Had to escalate the request after the local OEM service engineer had a poor response to the failures - "just buy a service contract and then you do not have to worry about it."  The issue escalated to the OEM corporate offices.  OEM sends a manufacturing engineer out to our facility in Texas from North Carolina.  The OEM manufacturing engineer finds a defective plastic part, air pressure manifold, and traces the issue to a bad lot of parts from their supplier.  OEM replaces all plastic manifold pieces, without cost, and the problem goes away!  No service contract was purchased after this fix.

    The point of the story is that the OEM service engineer would have been happy coming in weekly to service 5 to 10 beds a week under contract or under warranty.  He did not care about the patients receiving poor therapy or the caregivers frustrated by "broken" beds.  It is the HTM professional, YOU, that makes the difference and  brings tremendous value to your employer and the patients.  Take ownership of your inventory and the experience for your patients that come through your front door.  Make sure your patients have a great experience.  Do not let technology you are responsible for ruin that experience.

    Chris Nowak

  • 6.  RE: Looking for numbers

    Posted 08-20-2018 10:04


    I would pose a secondary question of how many Biomed departments are covering sterilzers, washers and sonic cleaners.

    Our Biomed department traded central sterile coverage for bed coverage at the beginning of this year. I think it was a good trade. Beds are computer controlled with a myriad of sensors installed and if you stick with the traditional definition of clinical equipment being therapeutic or diagnostic, the patient bed fits that definition. Additionally, there is almost no time sensitivity with the bed repairs whereas the central sterile equipment is almost always a stat repair need.

    Interested in the results of your poll!

    Joe Howe

  • 7.  RE: Looking for numbers

    Posted 08-20-2018 10:16
    Our system has 3 major campuses. In the two smaller campuses, Maintenance repairs the beds, calling us in Biomed if there's a problem they can't solve. But at our largest campus, we in Biomed repair the beds. I've been to the TotalCare and VersaCare service schools myself.

    Raymond Brown CBET AS
    Freeman Health System
    Joplin MO
    (417) 347-4889