Ranked among the top 10 children’s hospitals in the nation, Aurora-based Children’s Hospital Colorado boasts the state’s only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center and regularly sees the sickest of the sick. Below, Mark Heston, MS, CHTM, CBET, the hospital’s director of clinical engineering, sits down with 24×7 Magazine to discuss how his team comes together for patient care and fits into the culture of Children’s Hospital Colorado—where, he says, things operate just a little bit differently.
24×7 Magazine: Can you please tell us a little bit about your department and the equipment you maintain?
Mark Heston: The clinical engineering department at Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) is an evolving entity. Historically, the department was outsourced to a third-party vendor. As the enterprise reviewed the strategic growth plan, [Children’s Colorado] decided to move to an in-house model.
Currently, leadership is Children’s Colorado-employed, with 50% of the staff remaining on the outsourced payroll. We use a blended model to better support the geographic challenges we have in Colorado and specialty areas, such as sterilizers and dialysis. By the numbers, we are currently a 444-bed children’s hospital. With this said, this summer, we are opening a 110-bed hospital in Colorado Springs and, in December, we will complete an expansion project at our North Campus location.
24×7: What would your HTM team say are the biggest challenges they face on a daily basis? How is the department working to overcome them?
Heston: Our biggest challenge today is device replacement and strategic planning. We built a new hospital 11 years ago, and the majority of the devices were new at that time. Today, this leaves us with a situation where most of our devices are at the end of their life. We are balancing resources and funding to ensure that, moving forward, we have a strategic replacement plan.
24×7: How does your department encourage continuing education/further training?
Heston: The education and training philosophy at Children’s Colorado is awesome. If we can show a return on investment, education and training funding is approved. Plus, the department is highly supportive of certifications and assists with any training that may help an employee become more successful.
24×7: Can you please discuss a time when your team directly impacted patient care?
Heston: Recently, it was discovered that a power outlet cube was becoming loose on an IV pole. This was so concerning that we decided to sweep the entire hospital and inspect every cube. After breaking into self-assigned teams, our department successfully inspected every device within two hours.
24×7: What steps is your department taking to promote medical device cybersecurity?
Heston: We are fortunate to have great relationships with our IT and legal teams and regularly meet to share information and thoughts. When you gather the right parties with a partnering culture, great things happen.
24×7: What else should 24×7 Magazine readers know about your department?
Heston: Our motto is “Here, It’s Different.” Children’s Colorado is different. One example is the support the organization provides surrounding social media. As social media grew, [hospital executives] observed how patients’ and family members’ comments—both positive and negative—impacted Children’s Colorado team members. To better support our department, a team was established to support and assist with the personal impact these comments may have on team members. This is one of many programs that is in place to fully support the professional and personal needs of team members.