The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2002 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

THE BENEFITS OF AN EXPANDED ROLE OF THE EQUIPMET TECHNICIAN IN A RESPIRATORY CARE DEPARTMENT

Larisa M. Hiatt Jim Keenan BS, RRT, FAARC Primary ChildrenÕs Medical Center Salt Lake City, Utah U.S.A.

Background: Many respiratory care departments employ equipment personnel to process equipment for the respiratory care staff. Managers everywhere are being asked to reduced department expenditures in supplies and personnel. After supplies the equipment technician position is often the first to be eliminated. This abstract will explore the benefit of not only maintaining the equipment technician position but also expanding their role and value. This may include, budgetary knowledge, the ability to perform cost comparisons, and allow purchasing power. Direct communication with the RCPÕs will also streamline equipment needs.

Method: At our facility we implemented such a position. This abstract focuses on the impact this position had on reducing disposable respiratory supplies costs over the past three years (see figure one). In addition to cost saving efficiency, improvements are unlimited in the areas of minor equipment, specialty gas, maintenance and repair. It is not just the cost savings issue, it is a contact person for all staff and management throughout the facility to oversee repairs, evaluate and acquire new state of the art equipment. A person in this position must have sufficient job training and knowledge of supplies so that they can identify problems and needs. One such example is the method of delivering blow-by O2. Traditionally this has been through a bag and mask which is not cost effective. Using a funnel and suction tubing connected to the flow meter provides a very inexpensive blow-by set-up. Over the next few years, several cost reductions were investigated and implemented further driving down the overall cost (see figure two). To improve staff awareness of disposable supply costs we implemented ÒPrice is RightÓ at department meetings. The concept is from Ò1001 Ways to Energize EmployeesÓ. Many RCPÕs are surprised of actual costs.

Conclusion: There are pros and cons to expanding the role of the existing equipment technician and or creating this position (see figure three). We have found that this position reduced respiratory expenses at our facility. Without support from management and administrators to give the equipment technician freedom to explore, expand, and become involved, a program like this could not be successful.

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