The AAMI Foundation is expanding the Miller Scholarship Program to offer financial support to more students of healthcare technology management (HTM).
The scholarship program – which has awarded two, $2,500 scholarships each year over the last six years for a total of $30,000 – will begin awarding five, $3,000 scholarships each year starting in 2016.
The AAMI Foundation Board approved the expansion of the program in June, following news that the program had exceeded its $500,000 fundraising goal. Professionals in the education community were delighted by the expansion.
“Wow, this is fantastic news,” said Roger Bowles, professor and department chair at Texas State Technical College. “Many of our students are working while going to school and scholarships make it possible for them to complete the program in a shorter amount of time.”
Beginning in 2016, the Awards Committee will award five, $3,000 scholarships to:
• Up to two individuals studying to become a biomedical equipment technician (BMET)
• Up to two individuals studying clinical engineering
• One individual studying to become a health systems engineer or equivalent.
The systems scholarship reinforces AAMI’s commitment to achieving a goal under its 2015-2017 Strategic Plan, which seeks to advance a systems approach to healthcare technology. The Strategic Plan calls on AAMI “to build competencies and promote education opportunities for the workforce to support a systems approach to healthcare technology.” Specific criteria for that scholarship will be developed by the end of 2015.
“The beauty of the scholarship program is that we are helping students who deserve and need financial support, and almost every penny goes to the students. We keep the marketing and other administrative costs to a minimum,” said Steve Campbell, AAMI’s chief operating officer.
Steve Yelton, an educator who serves on the Executive Committee of AAMI’s Board, said the program’s growth underscores AAMI’s commitment to the HTM field and will also publicize HTM as a career option.
“As we promote the scholarship opportunities along with the HTM career path, additional students will investigate HTM and many will pursue it,” said Yelton, professor at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College.
The expansion of the scholarship program is made possible thanks to support from dozens of AAMI’s corporate and individual supporters, including recent donations of $5,000 or more from Alpha Source Inc., Fresenius Medical Care, the Japanese Medical Instrumentation Association (JSMI), PartsSource, UL, the Dalton Foundation, Replacement Parts Industries, Sodexo, AAMI President Mary Logan and Trabue Bryans from BryKor LLC.
To learn more about the scholarship program, including how to donate, visit www.aami.org/scholarship.
AAMI Launches Health IT Standards Initiative
AAMI has launched an initiative to develop American National Standards applying to health service provider organizations and vendors that develop, implement or use health information technology (HIT) software and systems. AAMI HIT1000, Risk Management Practices for Health IT, will define a process to identify the patient safety hazards associated with health IT, to estimate and evaluate the associated risks, and to control or mitigate these risks. AAMI HIT2000, Application of Quality Management Principles to Health IT, will identify and prioritize the appropriate quality system principles necessary to create, deliver, and utilize health IT safely and effectively.
The work will commence with an invitation-only meeting on Oct. 20 with key stakeholders to seek input and explain the plan of work. An open inaugural meeting of the new AAMI Health IT Committee will follow the next day.
Several recent studies and reports by patient safety organizations and government agencies have called for the application of risk management practices and quality management principles to manage and mitigate risks and deliver consistent, high-quality HIT products and services. While general quality system and risk management principles are covered in many existing standards, these standards do not offer the sector-specific detail needed for the HIT sector or provide the requisite focus on patient safety, health and security. On the other hand, well-developed quality systems and risk management standards for medical devices – such as ANSI/AAMI/ISO 13485 and ANSI/AAMI/ISO 14971 – are intended for use in a highly regulated environment, which does not exist in the United States for nonmedical device HIT. In addition, the latter standards do not take into account the very different life cycles of HIT or the special risk conditions created when such IT is custom implemented and configured in the field.
According to Joe Lewelling, AAMI’s vice president of emerging technology and health IT, the creation of HIT sector-specific standards and guidance is not intended to supplant existing quality management systems or risk management frameworks; rather it is intended to establish consistency and consensus on the minimum requirements for such frameworks and practices, enabling HIT vendors to assess their existing systems and improve them if necessary.
“In the absence of defined minimum standards, the industry will be judged by its worst actors,” Lewelling said.
The AAMI work is being pursued alongside a related effort to develop a body of standards for HIT software and systems under the joint auspices of ISO/TC 215, Health Informatics, and IEC/SC 62A, Common aspects of electrical equipment used in medical practice. Lewelling noted that domestic standards are needed to address specific conditions of the U.S. market, but said he hoped they can be developed faster and then be used as source documents in international efforts.
Podcast Library Grows
AAMI now has a dozen episodes in its complimentary series of podcasts focusing on healthcare technology. The podcasts feature interviews with experts on a variety of topics, including how to build a stronger HTM department, the future of preventive maintenance, the opportunities and challenges of digital health, imaging trends and risk management.
The podcasts can be accessed through iTunes, TuneIn, and Stitcher, as well as on the AAMI website. They’re easy to enjoy at your desk or on the go. No registration or login is required. The podcasts are developed in partnership with the studios of Healthcare Tech Talk.
You can view the full library of AAMI podcasts at www.aami.org/newsviews/Podcasts.aspx
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