What has more than 1,700 HTM professionals in attendance, features industry-leading experts speaking on important issues and can provide certification renewal points and networking opportunities? OK, you’ve already read the headline and know the answer.
Many opportunities can be found at AAMI’s annual Conference and Expo and the 2015 event is sure to live up to the affair’s reputation as being an important fixture within the HTM community each year. TechNation has assembled an overview of the happenings that are taking place at this year’s event.
The Conference and Expo combines learning opportunities with a vendor expo. This year’s conference runs from June 5 through June 8 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. The four-day event will include featured speakers, educational sessions and the chance to speak with representatives from leading medical device manufacturers.
The setting offers attendees the chance to enjoy many of the attractions of the Denver area. A downtown pedestrian mall can be accessed through free shuttle bus transportation. The Mile High City provides the Rockies as the backdrop to arts and culture and many urban adventures.
There is something for all levels of HTM professionals, according to AAMI. Clinicians and health care IT professionals will get a lot out of the conference as well.
“AAMI 2015 is simply the best place for technology-oriented health care professionals to get cutting edge training on pressing technology challenges,” says AAMI President and CEO Mary Logan, JD, CAE.
“We continue to update the event to make sure it is progressive, and conference attendees consistently report that they learn new ideas, tools and solutions they can implement immediately,” she adds. “It’s the best way to stay on top of best practices and to prepare for an accreditation survey. This conference epitomizes the AAMI tagline: Advancing Safety in Healthcare Technology.”
By the very nature of the conference, there are benefits that are by-products, like connecting with HTM peers, making new acquaintances and meeting with potential employers.
“The AAMI 2015 education program has something valuable and unique for everyone in HTM. Programming opportunities abound for those who are either in school or new to the profession – ranging to those who have been coming for years,” AAMI Director of Education Tirza Lofgreen says.
“The speakers are gearing up to make their presentations interactive, fun, and share their experiences on how to solve complex challenges in health care technology management,” she adds. “After all, that is how we learn, grow and evolve as we strive to make an impact in our jobs and the organizations we work for.”
Once you have settled into your accommodations, get ready for the first event on the schedule. The conference kicks off with a welcome reception on Friday, June 5, which will run from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Saturday morning offers an attendee orientation suitable for those new to the conference and those who have been attending for years. The orientation will introduce attendees to what is new at the 2015 conference, give tips on how to make the most of your time there and introduce AAMI leadership.
“We are excited about the totally revamped schedule that allows for a variety of session formats focusing on the most pressing topics facing the HTM community,” says Deborah Reuter, senior vice president for education for AAMI.
In addition, there is more time carved into the schedule to allow attendees to visit the expo hall which includes an expanded AAMI/HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, an interactive AAMI booth, Biomedical Society Row, and a record number of exhibits.
“There are a lot of new features to both the conference and expo that HTM professionals will not want to miss,” she says.
Learning from the Best
The conference features educational opportunities that cover an expansive list of topics. Every year also sees special featured speakers who bring unique insights to attendees. This year, the topic of cybersecurity gets headline status. On June 6, the featured speaker opening the general session is Billy Rios, a cybersecurity expert who will delve into the mind of the hacker and use that perspective to illustrate how this issue can adversely affect a health care organization.
His presentation is titled; “Why the Healthcare Industry Needs to Work Together on Cybersecurity: A Hacker’s Perspective.”
The opportunity to hear directly from a representative of The Joint Commission (TJC) should be worth attending in, and of, itself. George Mills, director of engineering at TJC, will bring attendees up to date on activities at TJC, as well as how to prepare for an inspection survey by the organization. After his presentation, Mills will participate in a question-and-answer breakout session. At last year’s conference, Mills used the opportunity to announce some major changes. He always provides essential information to the HTM professionals in attendance.
Another important presentation is that of Dr. Tejal Ghandi, MD, MPH, CPPS, President and CEO of the National Patient Safety Foundation. On Sunday, June 7, as part of the morning general session, her topic will be “Harken Lecture – The Changing Landscape of Patient Safety.” AAMI says that her presentation “will focus on the forces impacting care across the continuum, patient-family engagement, the health care workforce, the need for transparency, and improvements needed in information technology to minimize errors.”
Not only do the educational offerings tackle HTM specific issues, but the fundamentals of co-existing and collaborating with other departments within a hospital will be addressed.
“The opportunity for learning abounds at AAMI 2015. Speakers are committed to ensuring their presentations provide attendees first-hand experience and opportunities for engagement throughout the educational sessions,” Tirza says. “We are also offering a new track on cross-department collaboration and examples of ways to build relationships with IT, nursing, C-suite, and other hospital departments.”
AAMI has distributed the educational programs into six main categories. The first is “trends, innovations, opportunities and threats that can impact the future of health care technology.” Category two includes the “skills and knowledge essential to understanding the management of technology and people; the core responsibilities of clinical engineers and biomedical equipment technicians; and the impact of information technology on health care technology management.”
If that last one is a mouthful, the third category is more succinct and addresses the primary goal of every HTM professional; “Issues and solutions surrounding patient safety.” Educational sessions will also tackle ways to hone and strengthen professional development skills and updates on new imaging technology.
The education program promises to address “virtually every major issue facing the field.”
A great start for the rookie HTM professional is a new employee roundtable, facilitated by Abbe Meehan. The discussion will focus on the profession’s greatest achievements, challenges faced during a biomed’s first few years, insights from counterparts and “take away ideas on how you can make your work more meaningful and satisfying.”
Soft skills are a focus of hiring managers and they have become an important component of a well-rounded HTM professional. There has also been a renewed focus on positioning the HTM department as thought leaders for cost savings, equipment management and customer service excellence.
Networks will be on the agenda as well, as they continue to demand a larger focus. A session titled: “Service Oriented Healthcare Web Platform for Interoperable Medical Devices, Systems and Apps,” will look at “challenges and opportunities of implementing modern medical IT networks as interoperable cyber physical medical systems in healthcare environments,” according to AAMI.
A little international flavor will permeate the conference with a session that compares and contrasts the profession in the U.S. and Japan.
Recalls and equipment hazards are a fact of life. Kristina Cybularz of the ECRI Institute will present “Best Practices in Recall Management.” AAMI says that in the framework of product safety alerts management, “you’ll be cultivating within your organization a network of safety champions, which will ultimately result in you helping to successfully advance the objectives of Risk Management and perpetuating a program of patient safety excellence.”
For those fascinated by the whole concept of CSI and the associated TV shows, there is a bit of intrigue with the title of a related session; “CSI: Clinical Scene Investigation Developing an In-house Forensic Investigation Team.” Taught by Courtney Nanney of Catholic Health Initiatives, the session “is designed to demonstrate how to set up an in-house forensic investigation team to evaluate patient incidents and ‘near misses.’” The session will look at who should be included on a team from clinical engineering, risk management, radiology, clinical lab and nursing, among others. It will also look at how to investigate an incident and the sharing of best practices.
TechNation has taken a look at how HTM professionals have faced disasters and dealt with their consequences. That topic has also found its way into this year’s conference. “Disaster Management: HTM Roles and Responsibilities,” will be presented by Andrew Moser of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Moser will look at how “disaster scenarios, that would usually overwhelm hospitals, can now be managed with the assistance of technology. A large portion of this technology is also maintained by clinical/biomedical engineers, thus creating a role for HTM.”
Thinking of taking the CBET exam? You’re in luck. The conference offers a two-day preparation course for the CBET exam. If you already hold the CBET or the CCE, SRES or CLES certification, you can earn 1.5 renewal points by attending the full conference. Visit www.aami.org/certification for more information.
The conference portion only makes up half the equation. There are plenty of opportunities to see the latest and greatest equipment in the expo hall. With access to more than 200 medical equipment manufacturers, the chance to learn about new equipment and talk directly to the representatives is available.
The Expo includes expanded hours this year with new features. AAMI says; AAMI and HIMSS have partnered to bring the Interoperability Showcase to the Expo, showcasing hands-on engagement through a life-sized operating room and home health care setting.
AAMI also says that this year’s Expo will allow attendees to “get a first-hand look at state-of-the-art technology, including wireless telemetry, monitoring devices, equipment management software [and] imaging equipment.”
Many exhibitors at the Expo will present 20-minute interactive product showcases, which will run throughout Expo hours. Those hours will be from noon to 2 p.m. and 4:15-6 p.m. on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7. They will pick up again on Monday, June 8 from noon to 2 p.m.
Admission to the Expo can be part of a full conference or one-day registration. Purchase of an Expo Plus registration for $30; provides a one-day pass that includes access to the general session, Expo and Career Center on the day of attendance.
The Expo also offers opportunities to network with peers and colleagues where biomeds can make new HTM acquaintances and in an informal atmosphere.
The chance to network also exists at the welcome reception on June 5, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and at Expo happy hours from 4:15-6 p.m. on June 6 and June 7.
The networking possibilities don’t end there. There is also the Awards Celebration at 6:30 p.m. on June 6 and the AAMI Volunteer and International Reception at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 7.
In addition to meeting colleagues from around the country, there is the opportunity to meet face-to-face with your next potential employer. The Career Center offers the chance to view a list of updated job postings, receive career guidance and learn about certification. Not only can you interface with employer representatives; but interview as well.
There are many reasons to attend the 2015 AAMI Conference and Expo; make the trip to Denver yourself and find out why 1,700 HTM professionals can’t be wrong.
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