History - Technical Services Partnership

History

In the early 1970's, the Instrumentation and Model Facility (IMF) at the University of Vermont (UVM) was receiving an increasing number of requests to provide support services for the new, complex instrumentation at the Mary Fletcher Hospital. Concurrently, the Northern New England Regional Medical Program (RMP) at UVM, a regional collaboration between regional medical schools, research institutions, and hospitals, contacted IMF to request the performance of an electrical safety survey of Vermont hospitals. It became apparent to RMP and IMF that there was an opportunity for UVM to provide cost effective, shared clinical engineering services to the hospitals of Vermont.

In 1973 RMP agreed to support a UVM graduate student in conducting a needs assessment of all hospitals in the state of Vermont. The results of his study found that 17% of medical equipment had excessive electrical current leakage and 5% of the equipment was inoperable. A report summarizing his findings resulted in the formation of an ongoing program dubbed the “Technical Services Program (TSP)” at the University of Vermont. The Vermont Hospital Association agreed to coordinate an ongoing program of equipment surveys among Vermont hospitals.

Concurrently, the Universities of Maine and New Hampshire had been considering similar programs. They teamed up with UVM’s TSP to submit a grant proposal to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. This proposal was accepted by the Kellogg Foundation and the result was the formation of the Northern New England Clinical Engineering Program in November, 1973. Kellogg Foundation grant funds were proportioned among the programs in Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire and funded the early development of these organizations. UVM TSPs initial staffing included one full time engineer, two part time engineers, a graduate engineering student, and a secretary.

The original mission of shared clinical engineering services as defined at a meeting of all Kellogg Foundation funded organizations in 1973 was: “To provide health care organizations of all types and sizes with convenient and economical access to those technical support and advisory services which are now a necessary part of high quality patient care.” Funding from the Kellogg Foundation grant to UVM TSP continued until October, 1976 at which point individual hospitals assumed responsibility for services rendered. At this time, the Vermont Hospital Association acted as a third party to all contracts and processed all invoices and payments between organizations. The TSP User’s Committee was formed to monitor services and fees, and to serve as a vehicle for input into continued program development and evolution.

By this time, two hospitals in northern New York state had been added to the TSP membership. The focus of services was equipment safety and control and direct services such as purchase consultation, incoming inspection, functional testing, preventative maintenance and repair, and education. National Counsel on Radiation Protection (NCRP) compliance testing services were also conducted by TSP for all diagnostic X-ray equipment in the state of Vermont. In 1976, the first seminar co-sponsored by TSP and the Vermont Hospital Engineering Society was held. Additional northern New York hospitals were added as TSP clients in the late 1970's, a move fully endorsed by The Vermont Hospital Association. TSP services were expanded to health care facilities in northern New Hampshire in the 1980’s.

In the spirit of its ongoing partnerships with hospitals and independent clinical care facilities in northern New England, TSP formerly changed the name of their organization to Technical Services Partnership in 2010.

TSP remains a non-profit division within the University of Vermont and continues to build upon it’s strong heritage of providing trusted, knowledgeable and responsive service to regional health care organizations.

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