Texas Children's Hospital (Houston, TX) was selected as a finalist for the inaugural Health Devices Achievement Award, announced in June 2006, for its submission describing how a clinical engineering department can help build a patient-safe environment by focusing on clinicians' needs.
The Health Devices Achievement Award recognizes outstanding initiatives undertaken by member healthcare institutions to improve patient safety, reduce costs, or otherwise facilitate better strategic management of health technology. Learn about the other submissions that achieved recognition.
ECRI congratulates the applicant: Yadin David, EdD.
The objective of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Texas Children's Hospital is to administer an integrated program that provides for safe, efficient, and effective planning, selection, distribution, and operation of health technologies throughout their life cycle. In its submission for the inaugural Health Devices Achievement Award, the department detailed several initiatives that it has undertaken to help it meet that objective. Most of the initiatives dealt with typical technology considerations—reducing operator error, preventing physical damage to equipment, and ensuring adequate responses to clinical alarms. However, one of the initiatives addressed a more fundamental business issue: customer satisfaction.
The Biomedical Engineering Department at Texas Children's Hospital recognized that meeting the caregivers' needs is key to achieving the ultimate goal—providing better quality care for its young patients. Thus, the department set a goal of improving the caregiver's confidence in the technology used at the facility and in the program servicing it.
The department used its annual customer satisfaction survey to gauge its progress in this regard. The department has for the last 12 years distributed a survey to high-volume users of the Biomedical Engineering service. The focus of the survey is kept the same for periods of about three to five years so that changes in performance from year to year can be compared. After the desired improvement has been achieved, the questions on the survey are changed to focus on other areas for improvement. To increase response rates, the department provides customers with token reminders, such as miniature flashlights and pens that include the department's 24/7 help-line number; these tokens are well received by customers.
Some of the topics covered in the survey—and for which the department has received high marks in recent years—include whether preventive maintenance schedules meet customer expectations, technician response time, and overall impression of the service provided by the Biomedical Engineering Department.
In addition, the department has received commendations from the hospital administration for its contributions to patient safety. Earlier this year, the department was the first non-patient-care program at the hospital to be presented with the CEO's Award in Patient Safety.
While the breadth of the technological initiatives detailed in the Texas Children's submission helped describe a comprehensive clinical engineering program, the most persuasive evidence of the program's success can be seen in the results reported from the customer satisfaction surveys, as well as in testimonials submitted to ECRI by members of the hospital's administration. The team at Texas Children's recognizes that meeting caregivers' needs is a key step in building a patient-safe environment.