Casey Greene: The Value of HTM Clinical Education

Years ago, while working for the Siemens Call Center, I noticed that “service and technical” issues and questions were beginning to blend with “applications and technologist” issues/questions. Over my professional career, I’ve realized a few things.

First, there is no better way to understand the critical relationship between engineer and technologist than to be in an imaging room caring for patients. Second, whether working via telecommunications or in person with both engineers and technologists, troubleshooting and utilizing imaging systems helps one understand both sides and approaches to the X-ray/fluoro room. Yet, the provided level of service education lacks the clinical education that our biomedical/clinical engineers require.

Why aren’t healthcare technology management professionals provided with clinical education? Clinical education is defined as “healthcare education conducted in healthcare facilities, outpatient clinics, emergency centers, hospitals, or private offices, under the supervision of a qualified practitioner or teaching staff.” Has anyone asked the engineers what kind of clinical education would benefit their productivity? How could education decrease room downtime and cut costs while increasing revenue and patient throughput?

Valuable clinical education is critical for HTM success when addressing service issues/concerns in imaging rooms. The “value” should be determined by the individual receiving the education and must cover the “gray” area where service and applications combine. For example, how often have you heard, “My room is down because it’s not sending images to PACS?”

When we must reschedule prepped patients, we lose revenue. That leads to the mindset that the biomed must “fix” the room. Later, we discover that the room is not down or broken. Rather, the connection to the main PACS node was changed slightly, and Information Technology (IT) was not aware how this change would affect the imaging systems. Solving room issues, running imaging systems, and caring for patients at a higher level requires a clinically educated team. From the technologist and biomedical staff to the PACS admin and IT, the success of daily imaging is larger than in the past. Clinical education must evolve to encompass the entire team.

Imaging system vendors must provide HTM professionals with tools for both working on the system (traditional system education) and system utilization (clinical education). By doing so, HTMs will assess issues more quickly, speak easily to issues when additional support is needed, and be more self-sufficient (less need for second-level support). These measures will help decrease downtime and increase job satisfaction, productivity, and revenue (less downtime).

By placing a greater emphasis on clinical education, we can help customers generate better outcomes at lower cost, as well as create a better patient care experience.

Casey Greene, BS, RTR (VI), is an XP/RF Education Development Specialist at Siemens Healthineers.

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