In early October, the California HealthCare Foundation presented its 10 key recommendations to help transform health care in California at Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger’s eHealth Action Forum.

The governor, who had recently called for the development of a comprehensive health information technology (HIT) plan to improve a fragmented and error-prone system, had earmarked approximately $240 million in investment funds and grants to support that effort. Hoping to have California lead the way in HIT, the special forum represented the first step in organizing a statewide strategy, with an implementation goal of July 2007.

This type of information is not   unusual, because almost every day I receive press releases from numerous organizations about the need to move forward toward realizing a fully functional electronic health record, which is expected to ultimately reduce health care costs.

The cost of health care remains an important topic for each of us, regardless of our occupation. However, BMETs and clinical engineers are in the unique position of leading the way in helping to reduce health care costs through active participation in HIT committees. Your firsthand knowledge of technology’s benefits can lend a unique and informed perspective to discussions.

In addition, your involvement in medical-related technology developments and implementation would place you in a more active role within your organization.

Our Tech Talk column addresses the benefits of technology and your role in it. This column highlights relevant IT issues as they relate to your work, and specifically discusses your role in managing the complex systems that are—and will be—installed. As more equipment becomes software driven, IT is encroaching on the traditional duties of biomeds.

Through this column, we share ideas on how you can expand your skills to keep pace with your changing work environment. In light of this department’s goal, we are looking for a new title that will more accurately describe its purpose. Some of the ideas are: IT Talk, HIT Corner, IT Corner, IT Connection, and Networking.

We’d love to hear your feedback on our ideas as well as your suggestions. Please e-mail me at jkirst@ascendmedia with your input.

For those of you attending NCBA in Pinehurst, NC, this month, networking sessions are on the agenda to help expand your knowledge. Specialist, management, and general biomed sessions will also be presented.

If you attend NCBA, please stop by the 24×7 booth (#38). Advertising Director Mike Brooks and I look forward to meeting you.