The medical equipment used throughout our hospital improves our ability to support and treat patients and increases positive outcomes. This sophisticated technology requires constant assessment, management and maintenance to deliver on that promise. That’s where Michael Hamid, clinical engineer system supervisor, and his team come in. This is a day in his life.
5 a.m. Wakes up, showers, grabs a cup of coffee and heads to catch the train near his home in Stafford, Pa. He has worked at CHOP for more than 15 years.
6:30 a.m. Arrives at his desk in the basement of the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care. Checks email for alerts about medical devices that need testing, calibration or upkeep.
9:07 a.m. Receives an email from the Facilities Department. The boilers have shut down at a Care Network site and this could affect the humidity system. Facilities needs to know the humidity range for the bedside monitoring system in the operating room. Hamid researches the monitor’s range and relays the information.
11 a.m. Meets with administrators from the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU) to set up assessment of a new purchase: soft, disposable covers for the unit’s mamaRoo® bouncy seats. The covers protect the seats, making them easy to clean for the hospital’s tiniest patients.
Noon Heads back to his office to get his tools and check in on his team. He has a dual master’s degree in biomedical/clinical engineering from Drexel University and manages the hospital’s other two clinical engineers. Together, they oversee 35,000 medical devices throughout the hospital.
12:30 p.m. In the N/IICU equipment storage room on the second floor of the Main Building, he inspects the incubators used in the N/IICU to see what it takes to remove the incubator’s canopy for cleaning. He removes 18 screws from an incubator and still can’t get the canopy off. He determines it would be too much of an undertaking for the staff to remove the canopy. An updated canopy that doesn’t require screw removal will be more efficient.
1:30 p.m. Heads back to his office, where he talks on the phone with Information Services (IS) about testing a system that complements the alert sound a cardiopulmonary bypass machine gives off with a visual alert for the nursing team.
2:30 p.m. Jumps on a conference call with Facilities about the boilers in the Care Network building. They are now back online, and operating temperatures are normal.
3 p.m. Walks to the Cardiac Prep and Recovery Unit to investigate the possibility of creating an improved way to mount monitoring equipment on stretchers that would be easier for staff to use without affecting the patient.
4:15 p.m. Back to his office. There are always more emails to check!
5:30 p.m. Catches the train home and has dinner with his wife.
8 p.m. Hits the gym in his condo. Runs on the treadmill for 25 minutes and lifts weights for 30 minutes.
9 p.m. Showers and reads up on the latest medical devices until bedtime.
What is a clinical engineer?
Clinical engineers work with teams throughout the hospital to ensure that medical equipment — some of which is funded by philanthropy — is performing at its peak for every patient and family. They determine what equipment is needed to support each unit, test equipment before it is used, manage existing inventory, perform regular calibrations, resolve any technical issues that arise, and work with IS to integrate all of the monitoring equipment in each hospital room to CHOP’s electronic patient record system. Clinical engineers typically have a bachelor’s of science degree in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering.