A constant in my world is the shortage of adequately trained HTM technicians and availability of quality college level HTM training programs and how we are going to improve these issues.
The good news is that we have a hard-working group of professionals that comprise our field. I have been in this field for a long time, and I continue to be impressed by the people with whom I am in contact. I find we are all dedicated to the safe and effective use of medical systems and are willing to do everything that we can to improve it on a daily basis. This includes supporting college programs and helping to recruit new professionals into the field.
I would like to take this opportunity to let you know of a few things that are currently in progress. I will also present an alternative way for hospital HTM departments to work with related departments within the organization.
AAMI’s Healthcare Technology Accreditation Committee (HTAC) continues to make strides in promoting and improving HTM education. We have advanced in upgrading accreditation criteria for college programs, as well as providing guidance documents within AAMI’s (aami.org) and ABET’s (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, www.abet.org) websites. We are moving forward in upgrading the HTM Program criteria for accrediting college programs through ABET’s process.
An exciting new project is applying for an NSF-ATE (National Science Foundation – Advanced Technological Education) planning grant before the end of 2017. This planning grant would enable us to prepare for the NSF-ATE grant for a training center. This research is led by Barb Christe who is a founding member of AAMI’s HTAC. You are able to review some of these training centers at www.atecenters.org. The following is from the atecenters.org website: “The National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program endeavors to strengthen the skills of technicians, whose work is vitally important to the nation’s prosperity and security. Throughout this site you will find evidence of the good work community colleges are leading to prepare the new American workforce.” We feel that our proposal fits perfectly into this philosophy.
We are hoping to be granted funding to research the creation of a multi-million dollar HTM education center. We are in the early stages of this, but I thought that it would be important to mention it to you. If we are successful in securing the planning grant, we will be reaching out for information and data pertaining to this project. We must verify that we are an emerging technology that can benefit society and patients.
We feel that if the planning grant enables us to secure an NSF-ATE grant for the HTM training center, then we would be able to greatly advance the training opportunities for HTM professionals. This could support college programs as well as help everyone with the availability of qualified HTMs and provide greater access to training opportunities.
On a topic related to HTM professionals with diverse backgrounds, I would like to share what I consider to be an innovative approach to a specific need. Within the health network where I work as a senior consultant, we have a number of specific positions within the HTM department which have a slightly different background requirement.
The position that I would like to share is the Cardiovascular Clinical Support Specialist (CVIS). This position is somewhat unique within the HTM department largely because of the background of the CVIS technician. Our education, training and certification requirements are: “BS or an AAS in radiologic technology. Registered radiologic technologist with a minimum of 10 years clinical experience in invasive cardiac and peripheral imaging and/or an equivalent combination of education and experience in biomedical, imaging, engineering, or information technology with a masters preferred.” The majority of our positions have specific engineering or engineering technology requirements.
The CVIS position is responsible for clinical applications training and the implementation and support of the cardiovascular information and hemodynamics systems.
The clinical specialist coordinates activities that improve the overall proficiency level of imaging operations such as: defining training objectives, providing specialized training for clinical staff, the collection and analysis of quality control data, facilitating customization of hemodynamics nurse charting software and oversees the integration of acquisition modalities. In this role, the CVIS is expected to be a deep subject matter expert on the assigned information systems.
The CVIS serves as the primary point of contact and acts as a liaison between the enterprise and the manufacturer, assists with image quality problems, as well as the resolution and escalation of technical or clinical issues, and ensures that preventive maintenance/repairs are performed in accordance with manufacturer guidelines and requirements for lab accreditation.
We have found that this position greatly enhances the interaction between the HTM department and clinical departments within the hospital. We also employ this philosophy within the HTM department for other positions which may benefit from an alternative approach to training.
Steven J. Yelton, PE, CHTM; is a senior consultant for HTM in Cincinnati, Ohio and a professor at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College where he teaches biomedical instrumentation courses. He is a member of AAMI’s Board of Directors-Executive Committee, AAMI’s Foundation Board of Directors, Chair of AAMI’s Technology Management Council, Chair of AAMI’s HTAC and is a member of the ABET Board of Delegates.
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