Two weeks ago, it was National Nurses Week. This week is Health Technology Management (HTM) Week. If you work in a hospital, you may still refer to HTM as Clinical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, or just Biomed. Regardless of what you call this department, they are some of the unsung heroes in every hospital.
The nurses and physicians know these heroes well. The C-suite is recognizing their value more all the time. And IT departments are learning to work collaboratively with them as systems become more integrated.
These are the staff who design, install, maintain, and repair the medical devices that connect to patients. Think about a patient in an intensive care unit surrounded by all that equipment and all those connecting tubes and wires. If those of us in IT think we’re important and critical to the hospital, HTM staff are life-critical to the patients.
As a CIO, I’ve always told my IT teams that we are part of the extended care team to emphasize the importance of our providing 24/7 support and excellent customer service. While we don’t touch the patient, the clinicians who depend on the systems we provide and support certainly do. This is even truer for HTM staff.
AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation) is a standards development organization as well as the professional society for HTMs. AAMI celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and its mission is to advance safety in healthcare technology.
While healthcare organizations recognized their HTM staff in various ways this week, June 1-4 will be a chance for HTM professionals to come together for education and networking at the annual AAMI conference in Long Beach.
I’ve been active in AAMI since I was elected to the board in 2013. I was the first CIO on the board as AAMI leadership recognized the growing convergence and integration between IT and HTM.
After the board meeting I typically attend part of the conference, selecting sessions that are pertinent to someone from the IT world. I always learn something new and come to appreciate my HTM colleagues even more.
This year I’ll be staying through the end of the conference to participate as faculty at the first ever HTM Leadership Academy. This is a one-day program jointly presented by CHIME and AAMI modeled after CHIME’s CIO Boot Camp.
The AAMI conference education offerings are well beyond the standard HTM ones I’ve seen in past years. Check it out here – there is still time to register.
The American College of Clinical Engineers (ACCE) is the professional association for clinical engineers. In February, I was surprised and honored to learn that I received the ACCE CE-HTM Champion 2018 Award which is “given to a health delivery system leader who has championed Clinical Engineering and Health Technology Management in a manner that has significantly enhanced the status of the profession either in the U.S. and/or around the world”.
The nomination noted that I have been a longtime supporter of the CE/HTM community promoting the need for increased and effective collaboration. It stated that in my work with AAMI, I have helped to ensure that CE/HTM hears from the CIO perspective on what can be done to best meet the industry needs, and that I use the knowledge gained from the CE/HTM community to better inform my CIO and C-suite colleagues about the critical contributions available from that community.
I do what I can, and am humbled to have received this recognition for my work.
In a blog post after the 2017 AAMI conference, I closed with the following message that remains just as important a year later: “To my CIO and IT colleagues, let’s be sure to meet HTM more than halfway and be true collaborators. There is clearly a mutual benefit to our working together to serve our patients.”
I look forward to seeing my HTM colleagues next week to both celebrate them and continue to learn from them. And I hope to see other IT professionals there doing the same.