David Braeutigam: Prepare for an ‘Epic’ Future

We’re fortunate to live in a period of truly epic technology growth, and it touches everything we do today. We benefit from super fast Wi-Fi both at work and at home, and we’ll soon have 5G Internet on our phones. We can take an EKG on our watch. We can monitor glucose levels with a small patch and a smartphone. And we can ask Siri or Alexa a question and get an immediate response. All this technology is increasingly affecting healthcare and how we in healthcare technology management (HTM) will service equipment.

All the major players in technology (e.g., Apple, Google, Microsoft) are already providing or researching ways to better our healthcare experience. These companies have acquired talent from healthcare systems or acquired them from other high-tech companies. We’ve all seen the recent emphasis on cybersecurity at our hospitals, and if your track the vendors at the AAMI Exchange the past couple of years, you will see each year we have new companies offering innovative solutions.

So, what are you doing to prepare for this change? How is your HTM team and your health system preparing?

I am excited about all of this, being a geek myself. But it comes at a cost beyond purchasing those new devices. Part of the increased cost to implement is the training of the staff to maintain those new devices. Some will think they are too old to learn this new technology. Well, you are never too old to learn a new skill! I was trained on vacuum tubes and transistors. When computers and networks began entering the biomed field, I took classes and learned all I could to stay on top of the new technology. I now have a smartphone, a smart home, a semi-smart car and the skills to support all of those devices—usually.

Our field will need to evolve and change to support this new technology in healthcare. We have to learn new skills and learn new processes. We need to partner with our information technology teams to make sure these devices are installed and supported correctly. Just like we learned anatomy and physiology in school, we need to learn information technology so we can communicate and effectively work with IT. We need to merge our greatest strengths in customer service with IT’s ability to develop processes for support.

If we can successfully do this, then we in HTM will be prepared for the future.

David Braeutigam, MBA, CHTM, CBET, is president of Braeutigam Enterprises LLC in Arlington, TX, and a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council.

2 thoughts on “David Braeutigam: Prepare for an ‘Epic’ Future

  1. I agree with all of the above and would add. There are and will be many companies looking to get into the healthcare technology business and create revenue streams that exploit our caregivers needs related to technology. HTM will also have a critical role to play as a facilitator gatekeeper and guide to caregivers and c-suite deciders. Key among the tools we will need to have and acquire is digital and physical “right to repair”. Each building block of technology infrastructure must be transparent to HTM and we must have the knowledge, access, tools, and documents needed to do the many facets of the jobs of today and tomorrow. Key to this is a very strong and unambiguous definition of what tomorrow’s “service manual” should be coupled with a clear directive from our FDA that the OEMs must and shall provide it to HTM. Alongside this, we need our FTC to give industry clear guidance that using access to or pricing of parts both physical and digital as a means to monopolize service business or restrain HTM from participating in the management of the device lifecycle will not be tolerated. These are tall orders for sure. Yet, the foundation of the future of HTM depends on this IMHO. I for one don’t want to become a coat holder for OEM reps nor do I want to give up my tools and replace them with a tape gun and shipping label. IMHO, HTM is facing a long uphill climb into our next digital age metaphorically like the challenges faced by the army rangers who had to scale the cliffs, under fire on Ohmaha Beach to take out the German artillery battery that had our troops pinned down in the surf. But who among us (HTM) will be the ones to take on the job securing the future of HTM’s place in the coming digital technology future? Who might be HTM’s Eisenhower ? Will we have our own VE Day ? A day where a future BMET can make a call to an OEM and never even think a request for service information and buying a part would be refused? I hope for. What do you think?

  2. Agree that we are in an age of technological growth and it is amazing how far we have come since the vacuum tubes “VT’s”. To me that is not exactly the best thing. We become to dependent on technology to do for us. All it takes is a serious power outage somewhere and that area is paralyzed. I think we should teach new technology but the old school stuff like those vacuum tubes. I think the VT’s have the best audio performance ever made. There is nothing so amazing as hearing a voice come through a remote VT amplifier. But I digress. Technology is moving too fast for the human mentality to fully understand the ramification of what can truly go wrong, if things goes truly bad. Not that I’m saying it’s going to but, man has a propensity for braking what is not broke with a new and better thing that breaks in a shorter time.

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