Email completed forms to assistHTM@assistinternational.
Healthcare Technology Management aims to strengthen hospitals and clinics in the developing world by helping them efficiently and effectively manage their healthcare technology.
Here are our Healthcare Technology Management programs:
BMET (Biomedical Engineering Technician Training)
Building technical and clinical skills and equipping health facilities with the right technology can build capacity, having a sustainable impact for years to come. In sub-Saharan Africa, WHO estimates that as much as 70% of laboratory and medical equipment is partially or completely out of service, and timely access to emergency care can reduce seven of the 15 leading causes of death. Yet training technicians to fix and maintain equipment and improving basic medical skills are simple solutions to reduce the number of preventable deaths.
Partnering with Engineering World Health, Duke University and Assist International, the GE Foundation supports a biomedical engineering technician training curriculum that helps to promote—and sustain—equipment repair and maintenance in DHG communities. These local biomedical technology-training programs focus on repairing—versus replacing—equipment using available resources, and educating the first generation of biomedical technicians to support ministry of health facilities and assets. The program provides ongoing coaching and mentoring resources to cultivate a professional community of biomedical technicians who are able to support the technical needs of public district hospitals and health centers. Engineering World Health (EWH) has tailored the curriculum for different countries and educational partners, and, in partnership with Duke University, is evaluating its impact.
BMET training programs have been introduced in Honduras, Rwanda, Ghana, Cambodia and Nigeria. In Honduras and Rwanda, the BMET training program has transitioned to local learning institutions that will ensure a growing stream of qualified BMETs to address medical equipment needs. The Cambodia program will transition to local entities in June 2016.
The success of the BMET training programs in these countries is well documented. In Rwanda, biomedical engineering training programs, delivered by trained technicians, have helped to disseminate technical knowledge of basic medical equipment management, troubleshooting and repairs at the local-hospital level. As a result, improvements in problem resolution (+25%) and equipment downtime (-35%) were observed across 32 district-level hospitals.
In Cambodia, hospitals with BMETs that were trained through the DHG program had 29.98% less out-of-service equipment compared to control hospitals. Likewise, intervention hospitals performed double the number of management actions of all types compared to the control hospitals.
EWH Program Objectives
- Address the skilled manpower gap through specialized training implementation.
- Equip laboratories with up to date technologies that can provide excellent learning experience and gain accreditation.
- Establish a Center of Excellence for on-going training.
- Empower the local economy by building local capacity of biomedical technicians to repair local equipment.
- Provide evidence of program impact through evaluation and publication by Duke University.
Unfortunately, highly-trained and skilled BMETs are often limited in their effectiveness to service and maintain medical equipment by barriers such as a lack of formal maintenance processes, weak supply chains, no access to tools, and limited funding for parts and consumables. So, while BMETs have the capacity to properly care for equipment, these barriers limit them their ability to keep medical equipment in optimal condition.
Nuestro Equipo Medico
According to Duke University 40% of medical equipment in developing countries is non-functional. In Honduras, biomedical technicians (BMETs) know how to fix medical equipment but a series of barriers, including lack of formal maintenance processes, weak supply chains, no access to tools, and limited funding for parts and consumables, prevents BMETs from keeping medical equipment in good condition. Nuestro Equipo Medico (NEM) is a unique approach that moves hospitals toward sustainable Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) by empowering local hospital administrators and BMETs to address these barriers. This initiative was funded by GE Foundation and builds on a BMET training program in Honduras that was developed and sponsored by GE Foundation.
To combat the lack of HTM processes, our program created an easy-to-use tool that helps BMETs chart maintenance activities and plan their work. The weak supply chain dilemma is overcome as BMETs and hospital staff are taught alternate low-cost channels for acquiring parts. Tools are given to BMETs and a budget for parts is provided for the first year of the program. A detailed budget breakdown is created for hospital administrators so they can allocate funds for parts in year 2.
Our program officially began in 4 hospitals across Honduras in October 2015. Since then, program BMETs have begun to implement new processes, receive access to mentorship, and source critical parts for a fraction of the cost in Honduras.
All these activities increase the amount of time equipment in hospitals is functional (uptime). Assist currently tracks patient up-times and compares it to hospital data provided by local hospital statisticians to see if our program is making a difference in patient care. We hope to have data results at the end of year 1.
We believe by dealing with these barriers to effective maintenance we can keep hospital equipment functioning optimally for years to come, improving patient health.
- Build BMET capacity so preventive maintenance tasks are completed in a timely manner while maintaining high standards of operation.
- Build BMET capacity so corrective maintenance tasks are completed in a timely manner.
- Achieve equipment downtime of less than 36 days in a calendar year.
- Provide hospital director with a maintenance budgeting tool so funds can be allocated for second year of the proposed program.
- Provide the Honduran Ministry of Health with a cost benefit analysis that compares the maintenance of existing install base with purchase of new equipment.
SAFE (Sustainable Access to Functional Equipment)
40-70% of medical devices in developing countries are not in use or out-of-service. Broken devices can cause delays in timely access to care and increase risk of cross infection and mortality rates. The SAFE (Sustainable Access to Functional Equipment) is a program designed to address the issue of medical device downtime and its effect on patient outcomes by focusing on the critical barriers in the HTM ecosystem through strategic and highly coordinated partnerships. It combines the strengths of partners who are engaged in the HTM space to collaboratively address the issues.
SAFE’s vision is to improve healthcare delivery in developing countries through improved management of healthcare technology. This vision will be achieved by focusing on three different pillars:
- LEARN – Impact the ecosystem of HTM by empowering BMETs though relevant and continuous education, and innovation.
- LEAD – Enhance institutional capacity for HTM by leadership development and improving on institutional arrangements.
- ELEVATE – Promote HTM and raise awareness of its value proposition in healthcare delivery and planning.