Since last year, after the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) annual conference, 24×7 has interviewed the winner of the AAMI/GE Healthcare BMET of the Year Award. This year, Paul Kelley, director of biomedical engineering and green initiative at Washington Hospital Healthcare System in Fremont, Calif, received the award, and I had the opportunity to speak with him about a number of topics, ranging from the award itself to his time in the biomed industry and where he sees it headed in the future. (Read the full interview in the August Focus On.)

When speaking about the future of the biomed/clinical engineering field, Kelley mentioned that a greater understanding of and interaction with the IT field is crucial for the future of the biomed/clinical engineering industry.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we have to get more involved in IT,” says Kelley. “We have to at least understand it; talk the talk and walk the walk. I’m not saying that we have to become part of an IT department, but with EMRs looming or, in some places, here already, our devices have to talk to their networks, and if we don’t embrace that and learn and get on board, it’s going to run us over.”

While his department has been coordinating with the facility’s IT department in an effort to implement its EMR, it’s likely that many biomed shops around the country are not this proactive. Has your department worked to enhance its knowledge of the IT field and interaction with members of your facility’s IT staff? Do you even think a greater understanding of health care IT is applicable and relevant to the biomed department?

For a recap of a few of the highlights at the AAMI show, read editor Julie Kirst’s blog.