In 24×7’s e-newsletter the Weekly Jolt, we reported on the introduction of neuroArm—a new MRI-compatible surgical robotic system (see the May 1 Weekly Jolt). Developed by neurosurgeon Garnette Sutherland, MD, and his team at the University of Calgary/Calgary Health Region, Canada, the device has a planned summer debut for patient use. According to Sutherland, they are not just building a robot, but a medical robotics program with a goal of global use of the neuroArm.

While it may not seem immediately important, the introduction of robotics and other new devices will further challenge the skills of CEs and BMETs. Large manufacturers like Philips Medical Systems, Toshiba America Medical Systems, and GE Healthcare continuously upgrade their products, introducing advanced systems to take their medical devices to the next level. How are biomeds and facilities expected to keep up and offer the services patients are coming to expect?

At the same time, companies such as The Beryl Institute are addressing how consumerism is impacting health care. This institute focuses on improving customer service in health care by defining best practices for all areas involving a consumer’s health care experience. According to Tom Panion, chief customer officer of The Beryl Institute, “Consumers are demanding more information about health care than ever before. Pricing and quality are critically important factors in consumer decision-making, but like other industries the customer experience is truly what is going to set one hospital apart from its competitors.”

So how do these two areas connect? Biomeds play a vital role in the success of an organization through their direct contact with clinicians and patients and through their timely resolution of equipment problems. The more a clinician knows that he or she can rely on the organization’s biomedical team to respond and resolve maintenance issues promptly, the less stressful that clinician’s work experience will be. This will translate into a higher level of patient care and service.

Over time, a patient’s positive hospital experience can vastly improve a hospital’s visibility, reputation, and its fiscal health. This will lead to equipment upgrades, allowing facilities to provide patients with the latest tests and surgeries, which will draw more patients and give clinicians and biomeds more opportunities to positively influence a patient’s stay.

According to Panion, a customer service culture must start at the top and be embraced at the organization’s highest levels. He adds that happy employees deliver better service and increase customer loyalty. Other ways to build that culture include rewarding employees for delivering a high level of customer service and growing from each encounter.

While all of this may not seem to define your job description, it is important to realize that all departments are connected and contribute to the overall success of an organization. As medical facilities face fiscal challenges and consumer expectations continue to rise, it becomes everyone’s responsibility to find innovative ways to meet and exceed them.

Julie Kirst