TMH board approves bedside testing unit

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In other action

On Wednesday, the hospital board:

• Approved a service agreement for $14,630 with Phillips Medical Ultrasound for maintenance of the ultrasound machine.

• Approved a new hospital logo.

Emergency room patients with shortness of breath could be experiencing any number of health problems.

Timely and accurate diagnostic testing is key, but The Memorial Hospital has one laboratory machine for testing the severity of heart failure.

The hospital soon will have one more.

On Wednesday night, the hospital board approved the purchase of a new i-Stat portable testing unit, which will provide diagnostic results in 10 minutes.

"If that old machine is broken, we'd have to use another laboratory," chief financial officer Woody Hathaway said.

At times, clinicians have had to transport samples to Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs for tests such as cardiac markers, which test heart function, and protimes, which test blood clotting, according to a proposal submitted to the board.

The new i-Stat will be used as a backup to the main chemical testing machine, however its portability will open up new doors for chemical testing.

The handheld device can be used at health fairs or other local clinics, Hathaway said.

Drops of blood are applied directly to the machine, eliminating several complex steps and hand-offs between laboratory technicians, which can increase the risk of error, according to Abbott Laboratories, the i-Stat manufacturer.

The i-Stat also provides accurate results with minimal training, so clinicians can focus on patient care.

The purchase of new medical equipment begins with the TMH Joint Conference Committee, a combination of medical staff, administrators and board members.

Physicians at the joint committee indicated that the i-Stat was medically necessary, and the proposal moved on to the Financial Committee.

The Board of Trustees then approved the proposal of the i-Stat, which will cost $7,557.51, or about $1,500 more than the budgeted expense.

"The initial cost is really not that much," TMH chief executive officer George Rohrich said during the meeting. "It's only slightly more expensive to run, but the tests are the real expense, and that doesn't lie with the hospital."

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