I’m always looking for innovative educational options that I can share in my column, and I will focus on one such example today – the AAMI eXchange REWIRED.
The AAMI Board of Directors and staff were hoping to meet face-to-face in June for AAMI’s annual conference (the AAMI Exchange) in Charlotte, North Carolina. The AAMI staff worked hard to make this happen, but unfortunately, the novel coronavirus didn’t loosen its hold early enough for them to conduct a face-to-face conference. There were too many restrictions in place at the time when a decision had to be made. Thankfully, the AAMI team pulled together and implemented an impressive virtual conference experience – the AAMI eXchange REWIRED.
As a side note, before the virtual conference began, the AAMI Board of Directors held its regular semi-annual meeting. This meeting was very different than those in the past. Board members who were able to travel came to the AAMI offices in Arlington, Virginia, and those who couldn’t travel attended virtually. The meetings went very well, and we made the best of a situation that we had little control over.
Then, we moved onto the AAMI eXchange REWIRED. It turned out to be an amazing virtual educational experience thanks to a hard-working AAMI team that included Robert Burroughs, Sherrie Schulte, MJ McLaughlin, Fred Moxley, Gavin Stern and many others who worked tirelessly to develop a program filled with cutting-edge and practical content primarily for HTM professionals. The production team turned part of the AAMI offices into a high-tech production studio. I have to admit that I was very impressed with the outstanding outcome of the event. I feel that anyone who attended the eXchange REWIRED would agree that they were provided an excellent virtual experience. As an educator, I appreciate what it took to pull this off!
I believe education like this in the future will be a viable option and addition. I emphasize the word option because in my opinion, this method of presentation is best as an enhancement or addition to a live experience. Robert Burroughs who is AAMI’s senior vice president of education told me that AAMI will be looking into how it may use this technology to enhance future events. He added that it will certainly not replace a live event.
Steve Campbell, AAMI’s acting president and chief executive officer, added, “There’s nothing like a live event where attendees can network and socialize and meet face-to-face with dozens of medical device manufacturers and service providers.”
One challenge that AAMI, as well as we all may have with this technology, is the significant expense of deployment. If a college, hospital or company has the production capabilities currently, it will be much more affordable.
Each day started out with Burroughs and Danielle McGeary, AAMI’s vice president of HTM, moderating “Good Morning HTM” and the day’s educational and networking program. They did an exceptional job and provided what I believe to be a great platform for the program.
We, as educators, can take a lesson from them on how to keep an audience engaged. The program’s presenters also did a great job of working remotely. The presentations ranged from technical and corporate presentations to human interest stories. You can tell that these healthcare technology professionals have had maybe too much experience with remote presentations lately!
“While we were disappointed when we had to cancel the face-to-face conference, we were determined to make the best of the situation and put on a virtual conference like no other,” said Campbell. “We can’t begin to thank our sponsors enough for helping us make this happen. We couldn’t have done it without them!”
On another front, we are about to start the fall semester at Cincinnati State with a “back-to-normal” approach (hopefully). We will resume our pre-pandemic hybrid approach to our HTM courses. This means that we will have live (face-to-face) laboratory and review sessions with lecture being presented virtually.
During the pandemic, we were forced to go to a totally virtual educational experience. We were not able to have face-to-face laboratory and review sessions. We were able to maintain our co-op placements at hospitals and companies which was a valuable experience for our students.
We are also going full speed ahead with our co-operative education (co-op) placements. We have done pretty well throughout the pandemic. We feel that by the fall that hospitals and companies will be in a much better place to hire co-op students and engage them fully. As we execute the hybrid approach to HTM education, we feel that co-op is an integral part of the educational program. Though we have hands-on laboratory experiences at the college, we rely heavily on our co-op employers to provide students with real-world situations within the HTM world.
As always, thank you very much for your efforts throughout this pandemic!
Steven J. Yelton, P.E.; is a senior HTM engineer for a large health network in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a Professor Emeritus at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College where he teaches biomedical instrumentation (HTM) courses. He is the chair of AAMI’s board of directors, vice-chair of the AAMI Foundation board of directors, previous chair of AAMI’s Technology Management Council (TMC), chair of AAMI’s HTAC Committee and is an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), Board of Delegates member.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of TechNation or MD Publishing.
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