“We are the ‘big fish’ at the Tampa Convention Center – it’s the ideal spot for our conference and bringing the HTM community together,” says Tirza Lofgreen, director of education at AAMI. Of course, Lofgreen is referring to one of the premier events for HTM professionals.
The “fish” reference is intentional because the AAMI 2016 Conference & Expo will be held June 3-6 in Tampa, Florida on the waterfront. As with past years, the event provides a wealth of knowledge, networking opportunities and new device insights to attendees. The education component alone provides a gold mine of useful information that spans many areas relevant to every HTM professional.
For a few days each year, the conference and expo are the epicenter of the HTM world. More than 2,200 HTM professionals are expected to be a part of this year’s event in downtown Tampa, Florida.
“ I have met so many really smart HTM professionals that are dealing with similar challenges that my department faces. It’s not uncommon for me to call them up throughout the year to find out how they solved an issue or run an idea by them, and they often use me as a resource.”
The conference kicks off at noon on Friday with registration, followed by a welcome reception starting at 5:30 p.m. The action resumes at 7 a.m Saturday with registration available and the opening of the Career Center at 8 a.m. In addition, ACCE will present a Clinical Engineering Symposium at 8 a.m. An attendee orientation begins at 9:30 a.m. and then the opening of the general session is set for 11 a.m.
The Expo Hall opens its doors at noon. Then, running concurrently, educational sessions begin at 2:30 p.m. The expo has a happy hour from 4-5:30 p.m. An awards celebration caps off Saturday.
When sessions, and other activities conclude, attendees can relax at the Riverwalk and the Sail Pavilion just steps from the convention center.
It is a great way to end the first full day and recharge for more education and networking on Sunday.
“By attending AAMI’s annual conference, you can learn directly from leading experts in the field on a wide variety of important issues, share best practices, meet and reconnect with peers, and advance your career,” says Steve Campbell, AAMI’s chief operating officer. “But what stands out most about AAMI’s conference this year is the incredible line-up of practical and timely educational sessions for attendees.”
“For example, at this year’s conference we have sessions on medical device planning on a tight budget, the management of clinical technology risks, and case studies to optimize equipment service,” Campbell adds. “There are also sessions on benchmarking, when it’s time to replace or repair equipment, and networking certifications. And, of course, one of our most popular sessions is always George Mills from The Joint Commission who shares his expertise on emerging issues facing the HTM field and answers questions directly from attendees.”
Campbell also points out that the conference features opportunities for networking with peers.
“Frankly, AAMI’s Annual Conference is also a lot of fun — from the opening reception and the awards reception to the one-on-one interactions that take place on the Expo floor and at informal gatherings. The networking that occurs at AAMI’s Annual Conference can be really meaningful, as well as entertaining,” he says.
Lofgreen says events on the opening day will set the tone for a great weekend.
“The Welcome Reception, sponsored by Sodexo, will get things kicked off on Friday, June 3 with a fun night,” she says. “We are bringing ‘Education to the Expo Floor’ in the AAMI Spotlight Theatre — 20-minute express sessions – they are listed in the AAMI education program, variety of topics and speakers.”
She points out that the AAMI Career Center will be more robust than in previous years with career resources, tools and information on AAMI’s certification programs.
“We are also hosting the ‘Professional Development’ track next door. Lots of great topics on leadership, time management, managing a virtual workforce and more,” Lofgreen says.
Many of the educational sessions, that Campbell alluded to, will continue during Sunday’s activities. After a Breakfast Symposium and HTM Association Roundtable, both beginning at 7 a.m., there is the reopening of the Career Center at 8 a.m. The Morning General Session gets started at 8:30 a.m. followed by educational sessions at 10 a.m.
The topic of alarm management, a major focus in the HTM community for some time, gets the spotlight with the AAMI Foundation and Healthcare Technology Foundation Alarm Management Workshop kicking off at 10 a.m. Part two of the workshop begins at 2 p.m.
The Expo Hall opens at noon on Sunday with a lunch. There is an Educators Roundtable at 2:30 p.m. The Expo Hall has a happy hour starting at 4 p.m. and an AAMI Appreciation Reception caps off Sunday, starting at 6 p.m.
The last day of the conference, Monday, gets started with a breakfast symposium at 7 a.m.
With compliance in mind, it’s always good to hear directly from the source and AAMI delivers Monday morning with The Joint Commission Update with George Mills at 8:30 a.m. followed by a Q&A session.
AAMI says that one of the benefits of attending Mills’ presentation is that “you will learn how best to prepare for a Joint Commission inspection survey.”
The Career Center opens at 8 a.m. and educational sessions kick off at 10 a.m. The Expo Hall opens at 11:30 a.m. with a lunch and a drawing at 12:30 p.m. The AAMI 2016 Conference & Expo adjourns at 1:30 p.m.
The Expo hall opens at noon on Friday, June 3rd.
Best practices can be learned by reading, or through local association participation, but the AAMI Convention & Expo brings in top experts from across the nation to share what they know. With more than 50 educational sessions, there is sure to be subject matter that piques the interest of every attendee.
AAMI says that the sessions “will focus on six themes to help you on the job, as well as control costs, reduce risks, and provide enhanced support to physicians, nurses and other clinicians.”
Those themes include trends, innovations, opportunities and threats that can affect the future of healthcare technology; skills and knowledge; issues and solutions related to patient safety; updates on new imaging technology; building cross-department collaborations; and ways to hone and strengthen professional development skills.
And, as if expanding your level of knowledge wasn’t reward enough, attendance at the full conference is a way to earn 1.5 renewal points for the CBET, CCE, CRES, CLES, CHTM or CQSM certifications.
There’s another intangible benefit to the conference that is not on the schedule. The benefit of information gleaned from hobnobbing with fellow HTM professionals.
“The AAMI conferences in the past several years have been a phenomenal experience, and they get better every year. For me, the biggest benefits are the learning opportunities and the ability to talk to other people in the field who are just as passionate about healthcare technology management as I am. I have made a point to go every year, because every year I leave with a new idea or solution to a problem,” says Heidi E. Horn, vice president of Clinical Engineering Service at SSM Health – Integrated Health Technologies.
“I have met so many really smart HTM professionals that are dealing with similar challenges that my department faces. It’s not uncommon for me to call them up throughout the year to find out how they solved an issue or run an idea by them, and they often use me as a resource,” Horn adds.
“For people attending the conference for the first time, my recommendation to get the most out of the experience, is to attend all networking opportunities and introduce yourself to as many people as you can; attend as many of the educations sessions as possible; definitely attend the keynote speaker sessions and awards ceremony; spend some time seeing all the vendors in the Expo Hall — and wear comfortable shoes,” she says.
Those insights are shared by David Braeutigam, MBA, CHTM, CBET, system director of Healthcare Technology Management at Baylor Scott & White Health.
“Seeing old friends is a big part of the conference,” he says. “Seeing the enthusiasm and passion that so many in our field display whether it is at a session, a committee meeting or just out for dinner really makes you feel good about our profession.”
“Along with all the education that goes along with the conference – another outcome for the attendee is your passion that is re-energized to go back to do even better at your hospital,” Braeutigam adds.
“We have always provided sessions on timely topics and an Expo Hall full of the latest technology. In recent years, we have added more ways for attendees to connect with their colleagues. AAMI understands the importance of networking and talking with likeminded individuals, so we have made this a part of the conference schedule.”
Many of the sessions are designed to help HTM professionals grow in their careers and develop leadership skills. Many offer real take-aways for attendees.
The career growth area is well represented at the conference with several sessions specifically targeted at helping HTM professionals develop their leadership skills. On Saturday afternoon, Connor Walsh and Christopher Cain, will present “Personal Development Planning for Career Progression in HTM” which is part of the professional development skills theme.
The session will take a look at career planning and explore opportunities for continuing education, certification and mentorship. Personal experiences will be highlighted during this session and data will illustrate the benefits of planning.
Continuing the leadership skills theme into Sunday are several sessions that cover a range of topics, including a morning course geared toward Millennials presented by Clarice M.L. Holden. It will explore the unique qualities brought to the HTM profession by this younger generation and “opportunities for development of skills on the job.” The course will also cover five survival tips for success for any HTM professional.
Time management is a key ingredient for those who want to be successful in their careers. Dr. George Scarlatis covers this topic in his session: “Pearls of Time Management for Individuals with Diverse Work Responsibilities.” The session will include interaction with attendees to uncover many tricks of the trade to achieve time management success.
Sunday also includes several sessions geared toward career enhancement. “Remote Leadership: Leading Distanced Teams,” will be presented by Jeff Tessier. The presentation will cover the skills and technology available and how to use these tools to successfully manage virtual teams. That same afternoon, “Strategic Planning – Tools to Map the Future,” will be presented by Michael W. Lane. It will “focus on sharing tools and techniques for successful strategic planning.”
The career-focused sessions continue with “How to Get the Most out of Your Career, Even if You Need to Move On to Move Up.” Presented by Donald Armstrong and Michael Philpott, the session will examine how to jumpstart a stalled career. The presenters’ will share motivational experiences.
Monday’s sessions, relevant to careers, take on a little different challenge – how to recruit and hire qualified HTM personnel. Also, the vexing problem of replenishing the ranks of retiring HTM professionals is addressed.
“Best Practices in HTM Personnel Recruitment” is presented by Paul Canaris, Ken Mitchell, Arif Subhan and Salvatore Tatta. The morning session looks at best practices in “attracting, screening, and selecting qualified HTM personnel.” Covering some more unique ideas than are commonly employed, the presenters will discuss methodologies that can uncover qualified candidates.
Maintaining a healthy level of biomeds within health care across the country will become a systemic problem in the years to come. That reality is the topic of a session by Linda Yaeger entitled: “Leveraging Learning Technologies: Tools to Address an Impending Workforce Shortage and to Train a New Generation.”
The session discusses the need to get more new biomeds in the pipeline and the importance of maintaining reasonable training cost levels.
“This session will present new job task approaches to training and demonstrate a new mobile training simulator for computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging,” according to AAMI.
The class is designed to promote interactive discussions and includes Q&A session.
The AAMI 2016 Conference & Expo features more than 50 educational sessions.
The Next Generation
HTM students are the focus of another portion of the convention.
“The AAMI Annual Conference & Expo is the place to find out, firsthand, what’s on the mind of professionals from the C-suite to the BMET shop in a collaborative environment where sharing ideas, connecting with others, and learning are the name of the game,” says Sabrina L. Reilly, AAMI’s vice president of membership and marketing. “This year, attendees should not miss the student reception and roundtable. This is an opportunity to meet the future leaders of healthcare technology and hear more about the issues and career challenges they are facing.”
Deborah Reuter, AAMI’s senior vice president of education, says that attendees can have their cake and eat it too.
“We have adjusted the conference schedule to give attendees even more time to visit the Expo. This means that attendees don’t have to choose between sitting in on an educational session of particular relevance to a their responsibilities at work and visiting the Expo Hall if there’s a big purchase of capital equipment planned,” she says. “We wanted to provide more flexibility to attendees in setting their schedules during the conference to meet their needs.”
“We have always provided sessions on timely topics and an Expo Hall full of the latest technology. In recent years, we have added more ways for attendees to connect with their colleagues. AAMI understands the importance of networking and talking with like-minded individuals, so we have made this a part of the conference schedule,” Reuter adds.
OEMs and Cool Tech
The Expo portion of the conference will bring together “representatives of nearly 200 exhibiting companies, including many of the world’s leading medical device manufacturers and service providers,” according to AAMI.
“The Expo hours have been increased to 13 from 9.5 (based on attendee and exhibitor feedback),” Lofgreen says.
The Expo will include demonstrations of cutting-edge equipment and provide a first look at the newest technology. Many new products will be showcased with 20-minute presentations.
The AAMI 2016 Conference & Expo is a ticket to learning and experiencing everything that HTM has to offer today.
For a continuation of this article, please check out the AAMI Interopability Demonstration: Highlighting the Patient Experience from this month’s TechNation.
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