By Keri Forsythe-Stephens

I know I say this at the end of every year, but I can’t believe 2023 is only six weeks away. 2022 was a return to normal of sorts—albeit a very new normal. No longer were terms like “ventilator repair” and “PPE shortages” in the vernacular of the general public. The COVID-19 pandemic, as President Biden famously announced in September, was over.

Or is it? While medical officials have differing views regarding the status of the pandemic—Are we finally approaching the endemic phase?—one fact remains: The healthcare sector has been irrevocably impacted by COVID-19. It’s something the panel of HTM experts discussed in this this year’s roundtable.

Keri Forsythe-Stephens, Chief Editor

One of the respondents featured—Clarice M. L. Holden, BSE, VISN 17 chief biomedical engineer at VA Heart of Texas Health Care Network in Arlington—remarked that the aftershocks of the pandemic still linger, “causing twinges of pain when experienced for the umpteenth time.”

“Masks are very much still utilized in the direct healthcare environment, telework has become expected, and any symptoms of illness are treated cautiously,” Holden emphasized. Plus, “sick leave is embraced as an initial solution, rather than a last resort, for ever-busy HTM professionals.”

Another possible effect of the pandemic? Personnel and medical device supply chain shortages, a phenomenon 24×7 explores in depth in the November/December cover story, “Working Out the Kinks.”

To Brandon Anaya, Agiliti’s senior director of upstream marketing and strategy, the issue is multifaceted. “COVID compounded the already significant labor shortages for clinical engineering,” Anaya said. “Given all the unique challenges brought about by COVID, this group stepped up and stretched their responsibilities, giving them more exposure than ever before. As a result, this group is being asked to manage more workload with existing or shrinking resources.”

Speaking of HTM’s workload, I have a big ask from you, my dear readers. In mid- November we will begin surveying the industry for 24×7’s annual compensation and job satisfaction survey. To ensure that we have the most accurate data possible—and to help you receive fair compensation for your work—we need you and all your colleagues to take 2022’s HTM Salary Survey.

It’s a key way to promote a more prosperous—and profitable—2023.

Keri Forsythe-Stephens is chief editor of 24×7. Questions and comments can be directed to kstephens@medqor.com.