Two workers inspect medical scanning equipment

Welcoming the Possibilities of 2022

 

By George Hampton

After many years working in and with faith-based healthcare organizations, I’m reminded each year during this season of belief to pause and reflect on our mission to serve others.

Whether you’ve known me for decades or only a short time, you know I come at the medical field as a technical professional but consider myself a healthcare provider above anything else. My work – and the work of my team – makes it possible for doctors, nurses, and other providers to diagnose and treat their patients.

Our shared commitment to that mission fuels our passion for serving patients, not just fixing medical equipment. That mission also gives us energy when we’re called in late at night to attend to a life-saving device or when we can’t immediately put our finger on the source of a problem (but we’ll stick with it until we do). We don’t directly touch patients, but our ancillary role is no less important in our hospital partners’ unwavering mission to deliver the best possible patient care.

We’re grateful to be part of mission-based healthcare, and we welcome this moment to reflect on the past year’s wins and look ahead as we steer our course into 2022.

Reflecting on Our Successes in 2021

The biggest win, as we rolled into a second year of COVID operations, was that TKA team members again delivered at the highest standards without fail. We maintained our contractual agreements with every hospital, and we managed through changing workplace requirements – including temperature screenings and vaccinations – to show up every day and ensure medical technology remained at the ready for patient care. Because COVID-19 spotlighted the criticality of having safe, clean, available equipment, our biomeds have become even more trusted partners within our hospitals.

We’re also still celebrating our success in earning ISO 9001 certification. This recognition not only underscores that we’ve developed optimal operations for quality operations, but also that we consistently adhere to those best practices.

What Our Crystal Ball Suggests for 2022

Between the lingering Delta variant and the recent rise of the Omicron variant, we know continuing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will remain a priority. One positive consequence of the pandemic is how it brought attention to the value of a robust system for keeping life-saving equipment like ventilators sanitized and available.

In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, we’re setting strategic goals for TKA in 2022:

  1. Maintain a healthy business. COVID-19 has delivered a tremendous hit to hospital revenues, from greater expenses for protective gear to lower revenues from pauses on scheduled procedures – with losses exceeding $51 billion this year alone. We continue to explain how our cost model differentiates us as we deliver tailored, comprehensive, transparent services for a single price – with no surprises after the contract is signed.
  1. Elevate our quality model. Earning our ISO 9001 was only the first step. We’re looking to augment our demonstration of quality practices by pursuing our ISO 13485 certification. Although designed specifically for medical equipment manufacturers, this certification will play an important long-term role for independent service organizations, like TKA, in maintaining their right to repair clinical devices. Earning certification is a long, detailed process, but our success more than outweighs that investment. Ultimately, these industry certifications are outside endorsements that we practice what we preach in adhering to quality standards – to the highest level.
  1. Attract new workers to HTM. Across the industry, our workforce is aging. Hospitals will soon be losing experienced workers and institutional knowledge – things that can’t be easily replaced. Rather than wait until that critical moment happens, we’re looking for creative ways to introduce a new generation to HTM careers, which come with attractive salaries and – since there’s a shortage – strong employment options. The field has evolved since my early career, and we’re reaching beyond the profession’s mechanical history to promote another side of the business to young talent interested in a different kind of technology.

My Goal for Hospital Partners

Capital budgets are top of mind for every hospital administrator these days. However, some up-front strategic thinking can help them maximize limited dollars and still deliver that mission-driven level of patient care – and this is where TKA can assist. Our clients already lean on us for guidance as they choose where to allocate a shrinking pool of funds.

Personally, I don’t know of a single healthcare institution that isn’t operating with equipment beyond its lifespan. Most of those devices are commonly used items, like thermometers and patient monitors, for which hospitals routinely have backups available. TKA is in the business of fixing equipment, but a day will come when we can’t fix a machine – perhaps because replacement parts aren’t even produced anymore. In that case, we simply have to turn off the lights on that device, which can have a big impact on the hospital’s bottom line if it’s a $3 million imaging machine that’s been in high demand.

With that scenario becoming commonplace, we counsel hospitals to seize this moment to right-size their inventory. During financially healthier times, hospitals loaded up on equipment, sometimes without a 100% justifiable reason for duplicate purchases. Now, with revenues down, making the most of every device is critical – and TKA can provide the necessary operational analysis: Does the equipment really need to be replaced? How can you make the most of what you have? Are you renting equipment because you can’t locate everything in your inventory? What do patient usage patterns tell you? Are marquee departments properly equipped but still claiming money needed to bolster equipment in other units?

Our unbiased assessment identifies where inefficiency is sapping capital funds away from actual needs. The answer can’t always be more money. Sometimes it’s about changing your mindset, and that’s what TKA brings to the table.

Our Wish for You

Without question, 2021 was another difficult year in the healthcare industry, but our biomeds have stood proudly side by side with every medical provider. We respect the ingenuity, dedication and compassion our people have invested every day in supporting our hospital partners.

We hope you enjoy the holidays over the coming weeks and find safe opportunities to connect with family and friends. We maintain our optimism that we’ll soon see the end of this pandemic, which has certainly upended normalcy for all of us. But within that experience, we remain grateful for the many blessings we can count in our lives. Our wish for you is that you discover even more blessings in the year ahead.

 

 

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