Clinical Engineering and IT Collaboration on Capital Projects

November 24, 2021 | Evaluations & Guidance


Initiating a capital project involving clinical equipment and systems (e.g., purchasing an infusion pump fleet or a telemetry system) almost always requires involvement by the IT and clinical engineering (CE) departments. Our discussions with ECRI member facilities have revealed that often both CE and IT feel that their departments have not been adequately involved in the planning stages of capital projects. Both believe that certain problems could have been avoided or minimized if they were involved early on, rather than well into the procurement process—or, worse still, after implementation.

As systems become more interconnected, the evaluation, purchase, and implementation of equipment becomes more complicated. Because these processes affect many areas of the hospital, good interdepartmental relationships are needed, which can greatly improve the timeliness of the project, installation costs, success of implementation, and satisfaction of the end user. Such initiatives require a coordinated effort not only by CE and IT, but also by a wide variety of other groups, including nursing, physician groups, pharmacy, radiology, clinical laboratory, contracts/purchasing, medical informatics, telecommunications, infection control, risk management, and facilities.

For most projects involving major purchases, one or more individuals (perhaps project managers) should be assigned to lead the effort, understand all the relevant requirements, and oversee and approve all aspects of the project. The leader should have ready access to a member of senior or executive management for advice and support.

A questionnaire may assist IT in the procurement and planning stages. For example, the following...

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