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Introducing Meenal Sharma - Our IHEA Standards Representative

We would like to welcome our new IHEA Standards Rep Meenal Sharma.

Meenal comes with a wealth of industry experience and knowledge, which will be well served to liaise with Standards Australia on behalf of the organization and report back on changes that affect the Healthcare Engineering Industry.

We sat down recently with Meenal to get to know her background, experience, and thoughts on the industry.

What first attracted you to healthcare engineering as a career?

My initial attraction towards healthcare engineering was sparked by my desire to help improve the lives of others. I always intended to be involved in the medical field to be able to best enable myself in achieving my goals of doing more for our society. Healthcare engineering was the perfect industry for me, allowing me to pursue my goals as well as ensuring my technical and mathematical skillset is utilised to its full potential. Being able to be a part of such a critical industry in our society brings me great pride in knowing the significant impact we have on millions of lives across the country. My initial experience in the industry, only solidified my intentions on building a long-term career in the healthcare industry, and I am very enthusiastic as I look forward to the progression of the industry and my career.

How would you see the industry changing in the next decade?

· More heavy integration of ICT to support clinical workflow and cater for patient care.

· More automation- due to which future detailed monitoring of patients can be integrated.

· More Hybrid theatres with advanced technology-cater for complex surgeries and better patient care.

· Awareness and usage of 3D printing within the clinical space that supports in build customized parts or fixtures for medical devices that are potentially obsolete.

As a younger member of the industry, what do you wish your fellow healthcare engineer colleagues would remember/learn?

Recognizing your own strengths and never stop learning. Respect others for things that they know, and you don’t. Others can help you succeed. By working closely with operations, maintenance, contractors, vendors and financial professionals helped me serve this lesson really well.

What is the best part of the industry that often goes unsung/overlooked?

It is a great industry that is expanding drastically! We often develop practical solutions to relevant, real-world problems. It is an area of critical thinking, trouble shooting and application of evaluation skills. You never do the same task everyday which is the best part of the workflow as you learn new things every day! At the end of the day, the satisfaction it gives me in being part of the healthcare industry where I am playing my part in improving the integrity clinical care of patients.

Tell us about your career in Healthcare so far?

I have had a very satisfying and fulfilling career thus far. I have had the opportunity to work with many individuals who have provided valuable learning experiences and given me the chance to improve and grow my skillset exponentially. As I have progressed through various roles and facilities in my career so far, I have been given a wide variety of responsibilities along with very challenging obstacles, which have only assisted in enhancing my skillset and allowing me to gain valuable experiences which undoubtedly improve my contributions towards the healthcare engineering industry.

Technical Hands-on Experience:

I am skilled in repairing and conducting routine and Annual Preventative Maintenance on Medical Devices according to the Australian Standards AS3551 which comprises of both functional and electrical tests.

I also arrange and manage Performance Maintenance that is conducted by vendors with equipment such as Ventilators, Jaundice Meters, Infusion Pumps and Anaesthetic Machines.

Competent in managing the Medical Equipment Management Database called (BEIMS) on which we update service reports and any other record for all the medical equipment.

I have been involved in conducting Annual Performance Maintenance across other small hospitals such as Balmain, Dental hospital, Redfern community and Patient Home.

I am heavily involved with external contractors in arranging trial units for specific wards to encounter and making sure all the documentations meets the standards including TGA letter and Indemnity forms. Manage Product recalls.

Senior Team lead role:

I supervised the biomedical engineering team comprising of clinical and mechanical areas in maintaining the workflow in a timely manner. I emphasise the team and apply knowledge of Australian Standards in the implementations of AS3551.

I monitored the Asset database management systems (AFM and PULSE) daily to track the workflow and if any urgent queries have been logged so that the KPIs are met. This also consists of ongoing trials and sudden breakdowns of medical equipment or systems in critical areas such as ED, ICU and Theatres.

I arranged in-services for the team when new equipment is introduced in the facility or a refresher to strengthen the teams’ technical skills. Ongoing trials/ clinical trials are also maintained by the team and standard practice is followed to have signed Indemnity form along with other documentation such as TGA letter and service reports.

I scheduled the vendors Preventative Maintenance visits throughout Concord and Canterbury facility and delegate team members to action tasks accordingly.

I took part in maintaining the service contracts for Concord and Canterbury hospital for Medical equipment/system.

I took the ownership in working with the Contract & Operations Coordinator in managing the Hospital Level Product defect correction. This consists of documentation of Re-calls and informing the appropriate clinical staff in areas it is affected and providing them with the action required by the vendor.

RPA Redevelopment Project:

Providing professional, authoritative advice, information, and guidance on behalf of the LHD to Health Infrastructure and the CIE Team regarding Furniture, Fittings and Equipment (FF&E).

Manage and ensure the completion of a range of tasks and nominated project activities and deliverables involved in the successful planning, procurement, delivery, and commissioning performed within large diverse projects across the facility.

Appropriately determined, procured, installed and tested in accordance with Australian Standards and NSW Ministry of Health Policy in order to uphold essential clinical, operational and Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S) requirements.

Active involvement and frequent contact with staff at all levels of the organization to work collaboratively with staff with limited expertise in procurement in the achievement of goals and objectives.

Provide advice and propose quotes that better suit or cater for the needs of the users’ requirements. Supporting in FFE and MME committee and audits using the Biomed Faculty Expertise attained.

Conduct extensive audit of FFE/MME for RPA main works, lifetime of equipment etc.

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