The board of directors of the Health- care Technology Foundation held its annual meeting during the first weekend in April in Houston, Tex. The foundation is the only not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to improving health care delivery by promoting the development and application of safe and effective health care technologies through the advancement of clinical engineering activities. At the meeting, the board reviewed governance issues, elected new members, and heard proposals and progress reports. The enthusiasm for the initiatives brought before the foundation was palpable.
The foundation is passionate about its mission to lead the evolution of our professional character through building collaborative bridges between technology providers, users, regulators, and, most importantly, the public. The foundation took a critical step toward this goal by voting for a resolution calling on industry, regulators, the public, and societies to confer about the need to achieve more open relationships to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety.
We practice in a topflight, cutting-edge profession, and our practice must reflect these advances. Part of that means we must hold ourselves accountable for the effective and safe deployment of technology in our institutions as well as at home sites. Another component is that we must deliver on our profession’s promise to promote public awareness of the appropriate uses of safe medical technology. Our institutions are dependent on our advice more than ever, and we must be prepared to deliver our expertise with a profound commitment.
Our foundation is entrusted with the advancement of these goals. In its first phase, the foundation focused on raising funds and on selecting and implementing a few critical initiatives. In the next phase, the foundation hopes that it can serve as a review panel where your submitted requests to fund initiatives will be analyzed, prioritized, and, hopefully, funded.
At the meeting, the fund-raising report detailed successful accomplishments, such as securing contributions from the foundation’s board of directors, hospitals, the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE), ACCE members, and mostly from industry. Fees received from the 30 advanced clinical engineering workshops conducted to date were also included. Since 2003, the foundation’s fund-raising efforts have resulted in contributions and commitments totaling approximately $150,000. This initial success is a clear indication that the foundation’s purposes and initiatives are important. It is also a reflection of the reputations of each member of the foundation, specifically its board of directors.
The foundation also began to work on specific initiatives, including sponsorship of certification in the clinical engineering program, better understanding of clinical alarms management, and clinical engineering excellence, which includes the leadership-development program that was added at the meeting in Houston.
During this meeting, the foundation expanded its own knowledge by touring the research and development facility of medical-device company Cyberonics. In addition, the foundation held a brainstorming session with industry-based physicians about patient-device connectivity.
Progress reports were delivered by committees and initiatives, including the approval of a new public-safety brochure to address questions about equipment brought to the hospital from home, were presented. Significant progress was made by the clinical alarms-management task force, including an agreement reached with ECRI to collaborate on publishing the results of a clinical alarms-management survey conducted by the foundation.
We capped off the busy weekend with some socializing and discovered that at least one of our directors can hit a jump shot from more than 10 feet away. We will find a way to work this into our fund-raising, no doubt ….
I am proud of the commitment demonstrated by members of the board and ask you now to make your move and show your support. Please visit the foundation’s Web site (www.acce-htf.org), volunteer to serve on the foundation’s task forces, and talk to the board members about your interests and ideas. Let’s make sure that we continue to build on the foundation for better and safer health care delivery. I count on your compassion to raise a robust structure on our foundation. 24×7
Yadin David, EdD, PE, CCE, is president of the Health Technology Foundation and director, biomedical engineering, at Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Tex.
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