The HTM field has changed substantially over the past two decades. Not only has medical equipment become more sophisticated, and interconnected, but the processes and technology used to maintain that equipment has evolved rapidly as well. One HTM professional has been there pretty much all the way, from the ground floor to senior management, Heidi Horn. Horn has earned a reputation as a transformational HTM leader, most recently as the head of the HTM department at SSM Health. Horn has also been an active member of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), including serving as a member of the board of directors and chair-elect of AAMI’s Technology Management Council (TMC). And recently, Horn received AAMI’s HTM Leadership Award and is an inaugural member of the AAMI Fellow program.
In June of this year, Horn joined innovative HTM software maker Nuvolo (nuvolo.com) as its vice president of global healthcare enablement. We caught up with Horn recently to learn more about her career path and her new role with Nuvolo.
Q: How did you find your way into the HTM field?
A: It wasn’t the traditional way. In 1998, I was looking for a new job in marketing or sales. Back then, job hunting was still done by looking for open positions in the newspaper. I came across a “want ad” at SSM Health looking for a Business Development Manager to sell clinical equipment maintenance services to non-SSM facilities. I applied and miraculously got the job, considering I knew nothing at the time about health care or clinical equipment. Over the years, I learned a lot and took on more and more operational responsibilities. In 2007, I was promoted to vice president over the health system’s entire health care technology management program.
Q: How have you seen the field change in your two decades in HTM?
A: When I started in the field 20 years ago, the primary responsibility of the biomed department (as it was called back then) was to maintain clinical equipment and ensure regulatory compliance. Over the years – as the hospitals’ needs grew – so did HTM’s responsibilities. We began to take on responsibility for clinical device integration, service contract management, equipment planning and purchasing, device cybersecurity, device analytics, etc. Many of these responsibilities require skill sets other than being a good technician and so new job descriptions have been added to the HTM department. I’ve also noticed the gap between traditional biomed shops and sophisticated HTM departments widen.
Q: When you were running the HTM operation at SSM, what kinds of issues kept you up at night?
A: There were a lot of issues that kept me up at night – I would worry if we were ready for the Joint Commission; How do I control costs when the manufacturers keep increasing theirs? Where do I find the staff to fill open critical positions? How do I make sure my team has the training they need? Why is that employee not pulling their weight? How do I make sure HTM is involved in all clinical equipment-related discussions and adds value to the organization?
Q: What do you see as the most pressing challenges that will confront your HTM colleagues in the next couple years? Over the next 5 to 10 years?
A: The ever-increasing pressure on hospitals to lower their costs is not going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, if the HTM department hasn’t made an effort to demonstrate their value to the C-suite, they will likely be one of the first departments faced with budget cuts. The C-suite sees value in the HTM department when it demonstrates it can provide service and expertise better than any other department or vendor can and at a lower cost. However, knowing your department is doing a great job and proving it are two very different things. The challenge will be to have the data and analytics to prove your department’s value and make sure the C-suite sees it on a regular basis and understands it. Those analytics also will become more and more important in controlling costs.
Q: What brought you to Nuvolo?
A: I loved being part of the health system’s HTM department, but when the time came to decide what I wanted to do in the next phase of my career, I knew I wanted to expand my horizons and try something different. I had been in contact with Tom Stanford, the CEO at Nuvolo, for several years and really liked him and admired his belief in his company. We had also signed a contract with Nuvolo to implement its HTM software at our hospitals, and I was very impressed with Nuvolo’s innovative product and its support during our implementation. So when I found out that they were creating this position, I told Tom right away that I wanted to apply for it.
Q: Can you tell us more about your role at Nuvolo?
A: I am so excited to be in this role. It leverages all of my skills and health care knowledge gained over the past 20 years to enable Nuvolo staff and partners to provide products and service that meet and exceed their health care clients’ needs and expectations, as well as ensure our health care clients have the tools, training and support they need to optimize our products. I am working very closely with the product development teams to fine tune the product so that it is aligned with HTM’s needs. I am talking with the sales teams to make sure they understand the needs of the HTM department and the culture. I also get to work with the implementation teams and customer success teams to ensure they understand what support HTM needs. Recently, I’ve been working very closely with the curriculum and training teams to give them the information they need to develop comprehensive curriculum, certification and training programs for our employees, partners and clients. Finally, I have several client visits scheduled to get feedback from them on what they like and what we can improve on. In the very near future, I will be organizing a client user’s group to enable the sharing of best practices and provide a forum for feedback. Needless to say, I have been very busy and enjoying my new job immensely.
Q: You’ve “chosen” Nuvolo twice. Once as a vendor and now as a full-time employee. What appeals to you about the company’s products versus some of the other CMMS vendors out there?
A: It really comes down to the company’s innovative culture and desire to be the best in the industry. Nuvolo technically delivers a CMMS, but their product offers so much more than what a traditional CMMS provides. The other companies in this space have been around for two decades, so they’re built on very old technology, and their organizations reflect an inflexible mindset that’s mirrored in their products. Nuvolo’s solution adapts to the customer, not the other way around. As I mentioned earlier, reporting is so important for HTM leaders, not only to document compliance, but also to demonstrate the department’s value to the C-suite. Nuvolo’s flexible and user-generated reporting eliminates the old need to go back to the CMMS vendor for every new report. Those are just a couple examples, but overall, it’s about the modern architecture and modern approach to software design and delivery, and a commitment to deliver best-in-class products.
Nuvolo (nuvolo.com) is the world’s leading, cloud-based Connected Workplace company, built on the NOW Platform. We are transforming full lifecycle service management for asset intensive industries, including health care, life sciences, financial services, retail, oil and gas and manufacturing. Nuvolo is the largest and fastest-growing ServiceNow independent software vendor globally. The company is headquartered in Paramus, New Jersey with a global workforce located throughout the U.S., Europe and India.
Questions about Nuvolo can be directed to email@example.com.
You can reach Heidi Horn directly at Heidi.Horn@nuvolo.com.
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