The 2024 AAMI eXchange, held in sunny Phoenix, stands as the premier event in HTM, providing ample opportunities for networking, education, and, as always, fun.

By Steven Martinez

Every year the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers a chance for healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals from across the country to gather for networking, education, and, if they’re up for it, fun. The 2024 AAMI eXchange is scheduled for mid-June in sunny Phoenix and promises to be the premier event of the year for the HTM field.

“It’s really the premier conference for health technology professionals,” says Danielle McGeary, CHTM, PMP, AAMI’s vice president of HTM. “It draws together clinical engineers, biomedical equipment technicians, HTM managers, directors, and other support staff to really come together to focus on technology, networking with other HTM professionals, and really getting education around core topics in HTM.”

Educational Sessions and Workshops

This year’s event will include more than 80 educational sessions spanning seven tracks, covering topics such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI), patient safety, professional development, cybersecurity, home health, sterilization, equipment management, and augmented reality and virtual reality. The educational sessions offer HTM professionals a chance to brush up on their knowledge, learn the latest techniques and technologies in their field and, if they’re interested, get in-depth training on certain topics, conference organizers say.

One such topic is the emergence of AI as a tool for both HTM professionals and their clinician colleagues. Yes, the technology is still in its infancy, but it could soon impact facilities of all sizes, advocates say.

“We have a whole AI track, and it’s a great opportunity for people to see what the future of health technology is, because you don’t know what you don’t know,” says McGeary. “By going through this track, you can see what the best-of-the-best hospitals are doing and get up to speed to know what’s coming down the pipeline to be prepared.”

The cybersecurity track is another prescient educational topic that is sure to be at the top of everyone’s mind in HTM after the headline-generating cyberattack on Change Healthcare that reverberated across the healthcare industry. As cybersecurity becomes a larger focus in healthcare, HTM professionals will play a larger role in shoring up any potential vulnerabilities, according to McGeary.

“We’re still battling this old-school mentality in some hospitals, where HTM departments still report up through the facilities [department]. But we really don’t support standalone medical devices anymore. Everything’s part of a networked system,” says McGeary. “Any technician coming into the field now needs to have IT skills. Gone are the days where we’re just wrench-turners.”

Specialized Training

AAMI is also offering specialized technical training and workshops, each requiring separate registration and fees. The first is an interactive session presented by Matt Tomory, vice president of sales and marketing at Innovatus Imaging Corp., titled “Successful Support of Diagnostic Ultrasound Technology.” The second is a workshop, “Pump Perfection from Beginner to Expert: Innovative Testing Techniques Workshop,” presented by Fluke Biomedical’s Justin Ross and Elliot Weldon.

Last year, the AAMI eXchange added more content for biomeds, with McGeary reporting high attendance and overwhelmingly positive feedback for the new sessions.

“We got feedback long ago that our eXchange was more for managers and higher-level HTM professionals, and we really wanted to offer something for everyone,” says McGeary. “We wanted to make it feel like someone who is a student or an entry-level BMET can progress their skills. So that’s why we did this, and we will be offering it again.”

Networking Opportunities

Of course, it’s not all going to be lectures and note taking. Networking is still one of the top reasons for an HTM professional of any level to attend the AAMI eXchange. This year over 165 vendors will fill the exhibition hall, with more than 2,100 people expected to attend. According to McGeary, networking with vendors and peers at the event can create career-changing opportunities. look

Four events are specifically designed for people to relax and mingle, including the welcome reception on the first night. The event, which offers attendees a chance to grab a drink and talk, is open to all. (Think cocktail hour, McGeary says.)

On Saturday afternoon, there will also be a happy hour in the expo hall, followed by the AAMI Party at The Deuce bar and restaurant, conveniently located near the convention center. Lastly, AAMI is hosting a closing reception at three local venues, the Palma restaurant, the Châm Pang Lanes, and the Ghost Donkey bar. Note: Tickets are required for the AAMI Party and closing-reception events.

Career Development

This year’s AAMI eXchange will also see the return of the Career Center, which provides HTM professionals with an opportunity to privately meet with prospective employers and advance their careers. And discretion will be paramount. McGeary says the Career Center is located off the main floor so interested parties don’t have to worry about their current employers asking questions later. It’s also a good opportunity for employers to meet prospective employees in-person before the interview process.

“As we know, there’s a workforce deficit right now and employers are really looking to hire,” says McGeary. “One of the positives, though, is because there’s a workforce deficit, there’s a lot of openings. So, for an HTM professional who is looking to move up in the field, there’s a lot of opportunity for an upward trajectory.”

More Reasons to Attend AAMI eXchange

Comedian Scott Bloom will present this year’s keynote address titled “The Power of Laughter, the Language of Business.” Bloom’s talk will broach concepts on connecting with people, building relationships, and finding the humor in work.

Additionally, Herman McKenzie, MBA, CHSP, director of the Joint Commission’s engineering department, will provide a regulatory update at the AAMI eXchange. As a key leader on The Joint Commission’s team shaping Life Safety and Environment of Care Standards, he will be available to answer regulatory-related questions at the event.

Suffice it to say that the AAMI eXchange offers something for HTM professionals at every level—from attending educational sessions, networking with vendors and peers, to hitting the links at the The Legacy Golf Club.

“It’s just a great way to get out there and see new products, network with vendors, and network with other professionals,” says McGeary. “We’ve got something for everyone, and it’s the premier HTM event that you won’t want to miss.”

See you in Phoenix!

Steven Martinez is associate editor of 24×7. Questions and comments can be directed to [email protected].