As we all wait for the opening dates for our favour retail store to reopen, or services to resume, and life to unfold back to normal. I hope that all of you our customers are keeping safe and healthy. More importantly, we also want to give thanks to all the frontline worker, for the long hours of hard work and sacrifices. Your actions of service and selflessness are inspiring, and we give you our full gratitude. As you know, here in TRH Services, we always like to share new information every month about biomedical technologies. But this month, we wanted to focus more on the perspective of what biomedical technologist experiences and share what our biomedical team here in TRH Services has gone through during these exciting times.
First and foremost, the most common question that is asked is: “What is a Biomedical Engineering Technologists?”. To answer that, a Biomedical Technologist, commonly known as a “Biomed,” provides all services and support of medical devices and equipment while working in health care facilities or manufacturer/vendor companies. They are highly skilled in multiple technical disciplines and are trained in servicing a broad range of devices. One of the essential roles of a Biomedical technologist is to perform preventative maintenances on these medical devices. All devices used in the medical application must adhere to specific tolerances to function correctly to prevent and reduce failures.
For this reason alone, the role that Biomedical technologist plays is an integral part of health care maintenance. Performing preventative maintenance, also known as a “PM” consists of routine tests, replacement of maintenance parts, and proactively looking for signs of failure and repair. Typically it is highly recommended that medical-grade devices have a service interval plan typically ranging annually to semi-annually maintenance.
As you know, due to the global pandemic, it has been a roller coaster ride for health care facilities as they have been scrambling to prepare to combat the anticipating waves of infected patients entering their doors. During the pandemic, Biomedical departments and service providers have been ramping up their onsite and offsite visits to complete inspections and ensure that the devices were functioning and operating within tolerances. At times it can be overwhelming for Biomed departments. One of our hospital sites, we have been working with the Biomed department while they could focus on other essential priorities.
Learning from previous pandemic outbreak such as SARS, that crucial medical devices such as ventilators, humidifiers, regulated oxygen delivery systems have shown their effectiveness in aiding pulmonary critical care. Due to these reasons, some hospitals and health care facilities have back up pandemic ventilators in storage in case of another outbreak. In this situation, is where the biomedical team would be necessary, as they would periodically maintain and test this equipment during its storage period, so when they are needed, they are functional and ready for use.
Other challenges that biomedical techs regularly face is when a medical device malfunctions. It is critical to respond quickly to provided technical support to the clinical staff so they can be back up to continue providing patient care. Although lately, the restrictions placed over the boarders and none essential travel have posed unique challenges to Biomed teams. Due to the border closure, it has been making service parts for urgent repairs tricky to procure due to shipping delays. With all these challenges set, Biomed has proven themselves to utilize their skill sets, critical thinking, and a bit of creativity to take on these challenges. For example, TRH services recently had to deliver and install hospital beds to a nursing home. As we have learned, the hardest hit during this pandemic has been long term health care facilities, where there has been widespread of the virus. In return, it would further complicate what would be a simple installation project. Although through communication between departments, vendors, and other service teams, a plan was devised to assemble and test the beds outside. By completing the installation outside it prevented risks to the nursing staff and their residence.
As well Biomedical techs have had to find alternative ways of handling the urgent call. We were preventing the spread of COVID-19 while still distancing and providing technical support to clinical staff. Biomed teams have had to find alternative ways of handling an urgent call. In our experiences to provide support and solutions to our customers, we have utilized telecommunication, and with today’s technology also incorporated video calls to clinical users. Assisting and walking them through troubleshooting steps. Using visual cues from video and descriptions of the issues, and a biomedical technologist’s insight we have been able to provide support to our customers
As the fear of bringing the virus back home increases concern, so has safety, especially for biomedical techs who travel on the field—always wiping down before and after working on any medication. Routinely of cleaning and decontaminating all the tools and test equipment used to reduce the risk of carrying the virus, as well requirement of wearing PPE in COVID-19 sites. It has been a challenge to obtain PPE and, at times, cleaning products due to supply shortages. It was a stressful time for our entire team, although this being the risk, it was imported to strictly follow safety protocols to minimize exposure and contraction of the virus. Happily, we have been creating reusable masks to protect our team and well as our office staff.
With all struggles during the crisis, there is growth. We have taken this opportunity to learn and improve and grow as a company. Restructuring internally at finding ways to utilize our skills and knowledge, so when things go back to full capacity, we will be able to move confidently forward better to make a positive impact on both our communities. Keep safe and look towards the future with positive intent.
Written by: Jay Sobrevilla
Edited by: Tyler Hasenpflug, C. E. T.