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Medical Equipment Management, regionals nodes, networking, clinical engineer
The Health Technology Management (HTM) staff in small or remote hospitals can have difficulty accessing good practice information, so we have created a simple, convenient, and accessible networking model for clinical engineers in Colombia, called Regionals Nodes. These Nodes break radically with tradition because they do not have a static structure that limits access to meetings or information. These Nodes are dynamic which allows them to reach more people in less time and at a lower cost. The Nodes use social media to be in contact, coordinate regular meetings with leaders and topics of interest, and disseminate large amounts of information quickly. Thus, new open spaces are created, they are adaptable to each region, and can easily evolve over time. Currently the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MoHSP), with regional support of engineers from hospitals with national or joint commission accreditation (JCI) lead the Nodes. Today, there are 240 engineers from 140 hospitals and 13 universities and a regulatory agency that recently joined. This initiative began in 2015 with minimal coverage and we have now reached 40% of the country. The members of the Nodes meet every 2 months in order to prepare projects on Medical Equipment Management (MEM) and share information and experiences. Some of the accomplishments and outcomes of these meetings are: continuous training in Colombian regulations, positioning biomedical engineers as key stakeholders in MEM, institutional strengthening of the MoHSP in the health technology field, and HTM regional benchmarking. The interaction among the members of the participant institutions has facilitated a successful knowledge and best practices transfer in MEM from the 8 high-complexity university hospitals to almost 140 regional and local hospitals. These regional and local hospitals have limited access to resources and the operation of the Nodes has contributed in improving the efficiency in the equipment managing process and outcomes that better service the population. One of the priority projects of the Nodes is collaboration with the MoHSP in the validation of the Equipment Maintenance and Obsolescence Assessment Manual. The next steps are strengthening of the Nodes, increasing membership and motivating members and institutions, and interacting with professional engineering societies and health technology organizations worldwide. These steps will involve seeking support and improving communication with health authorities, hospital directors, and administrators looking for the expansion of the Nodes.