Donald Armstrong: Network, Network, Network!!!

You may think I am talking about your hospital’s IT network, but you would be incorrect. At the recent AAMI conference (my favorite one, so far), there were many presentations and discussions about networks and networks security, but the best moments at the conference involved another kind of network: the networking I did with my biomed colleagues.

I always like to catch up with old friends and colleagues, but it goes deeper than that. The conference provides an opportunity to discuss new trends in the industry and compare notes. Surprisingly, we are all going through similar issues and struggles. It is very therapeutic to discuss these challenges and scenarios with a respected colleague, and learn about new approaches and best practices. Plus, it is satisfying to share what you know to help someone. All of this contributes to the field and creates a culture of collaboration and sharing.

Networking with fellow biomeds—or healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals—is interesting and fun if you are an extrovert like me. I know how difficult it is to put yourself out there if you are more introverted, but I urge you to try. We all like to talk “shop,” and networking provides an opportunity to learn and grow. My biggest challenge is I want to talk to everyone and share what we do here at Stanford Health Care, but it was hard to speak to all 2,600+ people (although I tried).

What I took away from the AAMI conference this year is that it is not just about what we do on our respective jobs, but how we can share what we know and learn from others. I was fortunate to see old friends from New York and Houston during the conference. I was so glad to hear they are all doing well and doing great work. Biomeds being biomeds, we shared old stories and remembered old times, but we also talked about our challenges and opportunities in our organizations today. It was valuable to hear their stories and to share what I was up to.

Not to diminish the educational sessions, but I feel I learned as much, if not more, by networking with my fellow biomed as I did by listening to the presentations. Networking is a valuable tool to grow professionally, so please take advantage of it any time you get a chance. Biomeds love to share, so get out there and start networking.

Donald Armstrong, CBET, CHTM, works for Stanford Health Care in California. He is a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council.

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