Health Technology Management, a new moniker for Biomedical and Clinical Engineering departments.

Admittedly, when I first ran across this acronym my thoughts where, “Great just what this field needs, another name”. If not being able to decide if we where Biomedical Departments or Clinical Engineering Departments wasn’t bad enough lets start calling our field something altogether different.

After attended a recent AAMI sponsored webinar HTM Leadership. I had to rethink the whole subject.

I have been calling myself a biomed for over 20 years now. I’ve worked for both Clinical Engineering Departments and Biomed Departments in this time. However when people outside of the medical field ask "what you do", I respond, service/manage medical equipment.

I can hear people now “doesn’t he think a lot of himself”. But I can honestly say I’m not a TV repair guy or a PC technician and I don’t do Engineering. Do you?

When a clinician can’t get the swan ganz catheter to work and you very diplomatically explain the principle of thermodilution in the 1 minute window of attention that they will give you. Is that a repair or engineering?

When the newly purchased Intensive Care monitoring System doesn’t deliver everything the vendor promised and you jump in raise issue and eventually cause the vendor to replace the hardware with what you wanted in the first place. Was that a repair or engineering?

When the vendor quotes an astronomical price for a simple data interface and you implement a better solution for 1/10 the cost, is that a repair or engineering?

When department X has a new critical high tech device, and the service provided by someone an hour flight away isn’t working out to well.  They ask for your opinion, you review the documentation and service history and decide if your department can provide a better service option. Is this activity a repair or engineering?

Now I’m not saying I’ve done all these things, I haven’t, but they are typical, somewhat fictionalized examples of the activities I see Biomeds involved in.

All of these examples are much more then a repair, and none of them fall under the definition of engineering. They are educating, procurement, and implementing alternate solutions. They all involve Health Technology and if you where to look for a single additional term that encompasses all these activities I would say Management fits quite well.

I entered into this field as a Biomed, I will most likely retire a Biomed. Much has changed in these years, Personally I think it’s time we changed our name and in many cases our direction.

Not convinced?  That’s not important, what is important that you are open to the dialog and know that HTM doesn’t stand for the Hyper Text Markup.

Want to learn more, below is a link for more information of HTM.

The above is a personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the view of ACCES it's executive or members.