In the wake of Future Forum II, I decided to take a step back and ponder from the 50,000-foot level what this gathering of healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals was all about.
The one thing that struck me was that my peers take the management of the devices used on patients very seriously. Two consistent themes are “Patient Safety” and “Better Patient Outcomes.” Those two themes never vary and are at the core of what we do every day. HTM personnel have stories of how they know deep in their hearts that they have helped patients in many ways—sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. They are also acutely aware of just how much our other healthcare partners (nurses, physicians, etc.) have come to depend on the technologies and devices we steward. We are responsible for planning, integrating, managing, repairing, and supporting technology, and educating our healthcare partners to produce better patient outcomes. These activities in of themselves dictate that we have an effect on patients who are exposed to these technological systems on down to the individual devices. Day by day our systems become more and more complicated—not simpler.
So I guess I just answered my original question: What’s this effort all about? It is about HTM professionals charting our own path and using our numerous skills and knowledge base to do what we do best. That is to guard our patients’ safety and produce better outcomes through the technological devices and systems that healthcare facilities deploy. Obviously, that is as worthwhile an endeavor as there ever was.
Some of the areas to be tackled, as identified during Future Forum II, include:
- Recognizing that our world of HTM as well, as healthcare in general, is in transition and we have to be prepared for those coming requirements.
- Planning for HTM C-Suite leadership roles in healthcare in order to have the influence to deliver what we do best.
- Continuing education opportunities and new education models to meet evolving academic requirements.
- Developing better job descriptions, and clarifying career paths.
- Exploring licensure to establish true professional standards within HTM and to build acceptance across healthcare disciplines.
These are only a few of the many opportunities and challenges we are facing today. HTM professionals need to get involved and support these efforts even if simply to invest in themselves. So ultimately, yes, the Future Forum effort is of great value to the HTM community, and we certainly seem to be on a positive path.
Jack E. McNerny Jr., CBET
Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc.