A Heartfelt Endeavor

MarcheseA General Motors advertising campaign some years back labeled Chevrolet “The Heartbeat of America.” At the height of that campaign, Chevy trucks, especially, promised the latest technology and performance in personal transportation.

This month another heartbeat is preparing to be heard around the Heartland with the scheduled opening of the all-digital Indiana Heart Hospital, near Indianapolis. This venture — a partnership involving the Community Health Network, its cardiovascular physicians and GE Medical Systems — also promises the latest technology and performance, this time in the medical arena. (See “Indiana biomeds hold conference, tour hospital,” p. 6.)

David Veillette, Indiana Heart Hospital CEO, introduced the hospital to an audience of Indiana biomeds at the Indiana Biomedical Society’s 12th annual conference held one cold, but sunny, Saturday last month. With heart disease the “Number One killer in America,” he said, there was plenty of need for a specialty heart hospital. Couple that need with the realities of healthcare hiring and the availability of information technology to resolve some of those realities, and the all-digital hospital is a natural, he said. “We have to find more efficient ways to take care of three times as many patients. The only way to do that is with information technology.” Indiana Heart Hospital will open “100 percent filmless” and “85 percent paperless,” he said.

Among the several carloads of biomeds to tour the hospital was Steve Erdosy, an experienced clinical engineer who was the brand-new hospital’s brand-new hire for its clinical engineering department. (Erdosy was so new the day of the tour, in fact, that he had no office or phone. The tour was on a Saturday; his first day as an Indiana Heart Hospital employee was Thursday, two days earlier.)

Kelly VanDeWalker with Community Hospitals, who will be Erdosy’s backup, was also the one who helped recruit Erdosy for the job. VanDeWalker said Erdosy instantly came to mind because he is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about traditional biomed concerns as well as up-and-coming biomed matters, like computers and networking.

“I’m loving it,” exclaimed Erdosy, after having been on the job a full two weeks. “It combines my love of biomed — my job, with computers — my hobby.” It’s giving me the opportunity to learn from people for whom this [technology] is their life. They’re the experts, and I’m working under their watchful eye.”

When we talked a couple of weeks after the conference, Erdosy was immersed in a project to network bedside monitors to the hospital backbone. But that’s just one element. Also under way is an overall effort to link the Heart Hospital, built on the campus of Community Hospital North, with its neighbor. Erdosy mentioned a Heart Station, which will enable physicians to monitor Heart Hospital patients from either facility. The Centricity information system from GE Medical Systems Information Technologies is driving the hospital’s filmless, paperless environment.

As Erdosy sees it, the biomed-information technology connection is the wave of the future.

“We don’t have any choice but to work with IS,” he opines. “It’s a merging of the two departments,” and the entity that results is yet to be seen, he adds.

But Erdosy is not only ready for the merger; he’s helping shape it. You could say he has his heart in the project.

And his head is in the right place, too.

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