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.