Barrett Franklin: Finding the ‘Wow’ for an Annual Conference

It’s not often we hear about a successful and growing annual conference that is considering major changes. Recently, however, a small group gathered in a meeting room at AAMI’s headquarters in Arlington, VA, to explore that very topic. To those of you who have attended the AAMI Annual Conference in recent years, I need not explain that it has made great strides and improvements. Nonetheless, a handful of AAMI staff, including President Mary Logan, set aside a day to meet with a contingent of AAMI members, myself among them, to discuss how to build on success. How do we make the AAMI Annual Conference that much better?

The format for the day was challenging: a facilitated discussion where the team tried diligently to stay away from the small details and focus instead on the big picture. How we might bring the “wow” factor in coming years? As a group, we found ourselves asking more questions than settling on immediate answers. What is “wow”? Where do we fit, and what are our goals and aspirations for the conference? One of my favorite questions of the day: “How many ‘aha’ moments make a wow?”

Without sharing anything out of turn or spoiling any surprises, I’m excited about the promise of change. Some changes likely will be small and others big, but I’m confident all of them will be focused on making the conference fresh and inspiring to the healthcare technology management, manufacturing, and standards communities.

It’s not an easy question, but what do you think brings “wow” to an annual conference?

Barrett Franklin, MS, CCE, is chief clinical engineer with the VA New England Healthcare System in Bedford, MA. He is a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council, and is the first recipient of AAMI’s Young Professional Award.

3 thoughts on “Barrett Franklin: Finding the ‘Wow’ for an Annual Conference

  1. Dustin – Would you please say a bit more about how CABMET involves families and how you think this would both benefit AAMI and what it might “look like”? What KAMI does do to share the meetings remotely – live streaming? virtual connections before, during and after the conference/s? Thanks

  2. And from what I understand, only a few years ago there was the question of whether or not the conference was worth all the effort!

    It has improved each year in value to all participants.

    Bringing in various standards activities has been a good addition – however, now it seems that we spend so much time in those meetings that it is nearly impossible to see the exhibits or participate in any of the educational sessions.

    Too much of too many good things?!

  3. Going from good to great and then to a true WOW is often difficult but very rewarding.

    I attend, participate, and get involved in the AAMI conference because it is the most direct line to learn, grow, and network that I have seen in the industry. That being said, there is always room to improve our conference, especially to the WOW.

    One example of a WOW for me is how CABMET brings families, kids, to the annual symposium. CABMET and the supporting vendors encourage healthcare technology management professionals to bring their partners, spouses, and even young children by making it fun for all.

    Another example of a WOW is when associations like KAMI share their meetings with members remotely and with guys like me in Utah. It is more than simple hospitality and it really connects the community.

    Not all of us biomeds, service engineers, managers, and the like HTM can afford the time and the expenses to travel. So the big WOW from a conference, at least for me, comes when I can do any and especially all of the following:

    1. Afford the time off and the registration.
    2. Connect with BIOMEDS. Where are all the Technicians at the AAMI conference?
    3. See families and bring my family to a conference.
    4. Learn incredible things that I will use or expand on in my career and workplace
    5. And, for those of you who know me…

    WOW would be if conferences would include some great and inspiring way to connect with the true hearts and minds of the conference goers.

    Maybe we should have a comedian? And more purely motivational speakers!

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