Gavin Stern: A Year of Change

The year 2020 has tested us all. For the different health technology fields, the year will forever be remembered as one dominated by COVID-19. There’s no way to describe the virus as anything other than devastating—but what is inspiring are the rapid, innovative responses by experts at all levels to help turn the tide.

In the latest issue of BI&T, we held a roundtable discussion with members of the AAMI COVID Response Team. It’s an incredible discussion—these health technology leaders answered the call to develop emergency guidance during the peak of the crisis, addressing critically important areas like emergency use ventilators, basic safety, and remote-controlled devices.

They performed this work as volunteers in concert with their day jobs at healthcare delivery systems, medical device companies, consulting firms, and regulatory agencies. The standards process remains an essential tool that provided a protected environment for collaboration and information sharing that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

“We’re a group of experts who have been working together for a long time,” said Julian Goldman, cochair of the AAMI COVID Response Team as well as an anesthesiologist, medical director of biomedical engineering, and director of the Medical Device Interoperability & Cybersecurity Program at the Mass General Brigham Health System. “For the public good, we saw that there was a need to pivot our focus, not on a specific standard or device, but deal with this whole respiratory equipment COVID issue. And we just did whatever it took to help answer questions and produce deliverables.”

Their story is a true inspiration, and one that I know is echoed by many of you who are working on the front lines and behind the scenes. As we enter a new winter, and a new peak, we at AAMI thank you for all that you do—and wish you a safe start to a brighter new year ahead.

Gavin Stern is editor in chief at AAMI.

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