BenjaminThe board of directors of the American College of Clinical Engineers (ACCE) believed that a nonprofit foundation would enable ACCE to reach professional goals and build upon the clinical engineering field’s foundation. ACCE created an exploratory task force to investigate the establishment of such a foundation.

The task force reported that a foundation “would enhance the ACCE mission and should be created as soon as possible.” Another reason for the recommendation was the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation’s decision to discontinue its clinical engineering certification process.

In May 2002, the ACCE board approved the creation of the foundation and provided the seed money needed for filing and registering the foundation at the state and federal levels. In June 2003, the ACCE Healthcare Technology Foundation (AHTF) held its first annual meeting, and in October, it received approval from the IRS for the 501(c)(3) application.

AHTF plans several programs, chief among them is certification for clinical engineers: It will provide the infrastructure for US Board of Examiners for Clinical Engineering Certification.

Another program will raise public awareness of safer and better health technologies. A Web site is being developed to inform the public about such topics as acquisition of medical devices, electrical safety at residences, electromagnetic interference, and maintenance of medical devices.

The Clinical Engineering Excellence Institute will provide focus on and promotion of excellence in the clinical engineering field through recognition programs and awards.

AHTF is also developing a benchmarking Web site to help identify areas that need improvement and to implement changes in management of medical devices.

And finally, the patient safety program will develop recommendations on proper safety labeling of medical devices and will provide lists of which devices have proper safe-use labels.

There is much controversy over the value of certification and the future of clinical engineers and biomedical technicians, and it is clear that ACCE takes seriously its responsibility to support its members. We at 24×7 take seriously our responsibility to keep our readers informed about the state of the industry, and our cover story presents some views on the value of certification and licensure and a look at what’s ahead.

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