The Big PicturePreparing BiomedsFor the FutureLeanne Cordisco, Yadin DavidAbout the AuthorsLeanne Cordisco isthe Healthcare ITProgram Managerat GE Healthcare.E-mail: email@example.comYadin David RE.,C.C.E.,Ed.D. is prin-cipal at BiomédicalEngineering Con-sultants, LLC andAssistant Professorat University of Te-xas School of PublicHealth. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis past April, a diverse group of 30 industryprofessionals met at AAMI headquarters inArlington, VA., to discuss the future of theprofession. Among their recommendations:"Healthcare Technology Management" shouldbe the official name of the field responsible formanaging the selection, maintenance, and safeand effective use of medical equipment and ofsystems. That recommendation speaks volumesabout the changes happening within theapplied biomédical engineering profession.This landmark forum was important for bothclinical engineering (CE) and informationtechnology (IT) professionals, as participantsconcluded that the skills traditionally held byeither group are not enough to succeed in theworld of technology-driven healthcare. Undoubt-edly, the race to meet the requirements of"meaningful use"—standards that the federalgovernment wants doctors and hospitals to meetin the move toward electronic health records—has acted as one of the catalysts for expandingour professional skill set Although there aremany initiatives aimed at the education, training,and credentialing of the new healthcare technol-ogy management worker, their findings areremarkably similar. Certainly, it is a blendedCE-IT role, but it goes farther than that Thesynergies of combining CE and IT have created arole that is extremely powerful.Vision, People, and StrategyTo be successful, an organization needs topromote training and encourage its people topursue their professional development. Asurvey on the professional education challengesin clinical engineering published in 2008shows that only 22% of the survey respondersfelt that they "always" or "usually" have ade-quate opportunity for professionaldevelopment As technical knowledge half-lifeis getting shorter, the survey results underscorethe critical issue of timely education.Lifelong learning is the norm in IT, and it isgenerally regarded as the responsibility of theemployee to keep current with technology. Asconvergence of CE and IT continues, we arelikely to see biomeds taking more initiative inkeeping current with technology. It is importantto ask yourself, "If not now, when? If not me,who?" Through a commitment to training andeducation CE and IT stakeholders will have theskills to achieve their organizational goals.Many new educational opportunities areavailable to assist CE and IT, and this article willsummarize the current activities shaping thetraining and education of the healthcaretechnology manager and the similaritiesbetween the initiatives.Healthcare Technology ManagersHealthcare technology managers are shaping thevision for the future of the profession. The visionincludes, but is not limited to, a continued focuson safety, risk management, technical support ofmedical devices and clinical technologies,teamwork, and financial stewardship. The visionalso includes management of healthcare20 Horizons Fall 2011
The Big Picturetechnologies that are highly integrated andinteroperable. Healthcare technology manage-ment professionals will be fully integratedmembers within the healthcare delivery team,and will have significant infiuence in themanagement of all healthcare technology. Inaddition, the career path will be better defined,with a supportive educational infrastructure.Several organizations and groups includingthe National Science Foundation, the ClinicalEngineering Division^ of the InternationalFederation of Biological and Medical Engineer-ing (IFMBE), and the Healthcare TechnologyFoundation (HTF) recognized the need toexpand and refocus the skills of practitioners inthe clinical engineering field and are develop-ing educational programs. This is taking placeboth domestically and globally. The increasingdependence of the management of patientconditions on technology places criticalimportance on the ability of technologymanagers to understand systems performancein addition to device operation. The newlyadopted standard IEC 80001 is a good exampleof the interaction between network manage-ment, medical device support and risk control.You cannot effectively separate the components;rather, you can manage the system.In the near future, professionals in our fieldwill be expected to be able to identify opportu-nities for work-process improvement usingtechnology integration across healthcaresettings, aligned with the strategic objectives ofthe healthcare organization. Therefore, there isa need to add general knowledge of informationtechnology principles as applied to healthcare,effective interpersonal communication,collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Thisprofessional will have a general understandingof the core systems and types of technologyused in the delivery of healthcare services.Knowledge domains include the organizationalenvironment of healthcare, the technologyenvironment of healthcare, team leadership,and technology administration.Core Curriculum ConsiderationsThe impact of education on ones career wasillustrated in an article this past summer in TheNew York Times* which found that the greateryour education, the lesser your chances ofunemployment. In healthcare, there are evenhigher expectations that workers are adequatelyprepared for their job and that they willcontinuously maintain their skills. In thehealthcare technology management field, westill have a way to go to determine basicuniform education requirements. There areseveral degree programs for biomédicalequipment technicians in the United States andonly limited offerings of clinical engineeringprograms, but no "core curriculum" has beenstandardized or published for these programs.AAMIs Educators Roundtable is comprised ofexperts in the field of education and has engageda group of academicians that lead and/or teach inBMET programs to help develop a closerrelationship between core curriculum taught andthe fast-changing practice. The groups goal andfocus is to retain the essential aspects of biomédi-cal equipment technology and IT skills thathistorically have served both professions well,while keeping pace with the evolving roles andresponsibilities of the healthcare technologymanager over the next decade.Informatics andHealthcare Technology TrainingCertifications and certificates are commonplacewithin the IT world, but untu very recently, nocertificate focused on the networking needs ofthe healthcare community. CompTIAsHealthcare IT Technician fills that void.CompTIA creates and manages IT certificationsacross a broad range of subspecialties. In 2010,CompTIA announced its intention to createcertifications and certificates for the expandinghealthcare IT space and formed a healthcare ITcommunity. The output ofthat effort is theCompTIA Healthcare IT Technician certificate.It covers the knowledge and skills required toimplement, deploy, and support healthcare ITsystems in various clinical settings.Launched in May 2010, the certificate coversfive knowledge domains: regulatory require-ments within healthcare, organizationalbehaviors within healthcare, IT skills, medicalbusiness operations and the Health InsurancePortability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), andsecurity. Topics in the medical businessoperation domain include the purpose andfunction of medical devices and healthcare ITprotocols like HL7. CompTIA is accepting newmembers into the Healthcare IT Community,providing an easy way for CE and IT to staycurrent with changes in technology.Healthcare technologymanagers are shapingthe vision for thefuture of theprofession. The visionincludes, but is notlimited to, a continuedfocus on safety, riskmanagement, technicalsupport of medicaldevices and clinicaltechnologies, teamwork, and financialstewardship.Horizons Fall 2011 21
The Big PictureFor More InformationForum Recommends UnifiedName, Vision for Fieldwww.aami.org/news/2011/050611.future.forum.htmlGetting Started with IEC 80001wvvw.aami.org/publications/books/80001-GS.htmlHealthcare TechnologyFoundationhttp://thehtf org/ONC HITECH Training Materialswwwonc-ntdc.orgONC HITECH Competency Examshttp://healthit.hhs.gov/portal/serverpt/community/healthit_hhs_govcompetency_examination_pro-gram_%282%29/1809CompTIA Healthcare IT Certificatehttp://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certificates/hittech.aspxCertified Professional inHealthcare Information andManagement Systemswww.himss.org/ASP/certification_cphims.aspThe Office of the National Coordinator forHealth Information Technology (ONC) hasreleased a set of 20 curriculum components tothe public at no cost. Funded by the $10million ONC Curriculum DevelopmentCenters Program, these teaching materialshave been in use for the past year by the 82member colleges of the ONC CommunityCollege Consortia Program. It is expected thatthese materials will fill an urgent need in theeducational marketplace.Designed around the six mobile workforceroles identified by ONC, the components areintended to become the building blocks ofhealth IT courses at community colleges anduniversities. In-service training and continuingeducation programs at healthcare institutionsand regional extension centers may also benefitfrom the use of the components. Each compo-nent is made up of several units that can bemodified and combined to meet the needs ofinstructors as they design their courses. Thecomponents include slide-based lectures withaudio narration and transcripts, learningactivities, self-assessment questions withanswer keys, and instructor manuals.The components cover topics such asworkflow process redesign, technical support,networking, usability, and project management,among others. Three of the components offer ahands-on lab experience for students supportedby the VistA for Education electronic healthrecord software package, also available at no cost.To obtain the materials, go to www.onc-ntdc.org.ONC HITECH CertificateFor Implementation Support SpecialistsWorkers in this role provide onsite user supportfor the period of time before and duringimplementation of health IT systems in clinicaland public health settings. These individualswill provide support services, above and beyondwhat is provided by the vendor, to be sure thetechnology functions properly and is configuredto meet the needs of the redesigned practiceworkflow. Knowledge domains for this certifi-cate include Networking and HealthInformation Exchange, Configuring EHRs,Vendor-Specific Systems, Working with HealthIT Systems, Installation and Maintenance ofHealth IT Systems, Information and ComputerScience and Terminology in Health Care, andPublic Health Settings.ONC HITECH CertificateFor Technical/Sofiware Support StaffWorkers in this role will support on an ongoingbasis the technology deployed in clinical andpublic health settings. Workers in this rolemaintain systems in clinical and public healthsettings, including patching and upgrading ofsoftware. They also provide one-on-onesupport, in a traditional "help desk" model, toindividual users with questions or problems.Knowledge domains for this certificate includeNetworking and Health Information Exchange,Special Topics Course on Vendor-SpecificSystems, Information and Computer Science,Working with Health IT Systems, Installationand Maintenance of Health IT Systems,Configuring EHRs, and Professionalism/Customer Service in the Health Environment.SummaryClinical engineering and biomédical equipmenttechnician (BMET) practices must be supportedby offering updated professional developmentprograms that expand and prepare practitionersfor new career challenges. These programsshould also promote lifelong participation. CEsand BMETs need to commit to participate insuch development programs and understandthe need for gaining new competencies.Educators should strive to maintain theirtraining program in pace with pending needs ofa changing market. Immediate commencementof such learning and overcoming the lack ofspecific CE/IT competency benchmarking willplace practitioners in a better position to havean interesting and rewarding career. •References1. David Y, laramillo F, Stiefel R. EducationalChallenges in Clinical Engineering Profession:A Survey, yourno/ of Clinical Engineering.2008;33(l);154-158.2. Yahoo! Groups. Clinical Engineering Divisionof the IEMBE. Available at: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/CEDGlobal/. Accessed July 2011.3. The New York Times. Less Than High Schooland Falling Behind. )uly 10, 2011, Available at:www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/07/10/business/101earnGraphic.html?ref=business.Accessed July 2011.22 Horizons Fall 2011
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