Over the last 2 months, 24×7 readers took a break from their summer vacations to chime in on a number of important issues. Among the topics that most engaged readers were the challenges of CE-IT convergence, Stephen Grimes’ recent article on the dangers of complacency in the HTM field, and GE’s plans to partner with hospital C-suites.
In response to the August editor’s note, “HTM, IT, and Mapping the Road to a Culture of Safety,” about whether biomed and IT departments can work together effectively, Rick Schrenker wrote, “If after ten or so years of effort to bridge the CE IT gap, 88% of people from the CE side say the two groups still do not ‘work together well enough ‘to offer seamless support of the new converged technologies,’ one has to at a minimum raise the question ‘Why?’ ”
He continued, “Borrowing from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, for me this is an SEP (Somebody Else’s Problem), where ‘somebody else’ in this case are the younger members of the field. Being on the far side of 60, my professional future is behind me, and I believe others should create the roadmap to where they want to go. I would only caution them to avoid spending time in efforts akin to the proverbial rearranging of deck chairs on the Titannic. If CE’s viability is to some extent on closing the CE IT gap, understanding why there is a belief that it hasn’t happened after all this time and effort should matter. To somebody else, anyway.”
For Aleksandar Popivoda, Grimes’ point about the need for biomedical departments to take a leadership role in the equipment acquisition process resonated particularly strongly, and represents “one of the most challenging for most HTM departments nowadays.”
To J. Scot Mackeil, a CBET in Boston, “our industry’s CE leadership failing to recognize and take a stand against OEMs that are failing to provide factory service manuals and sell service parts to biomeds is one of the most serious symptoms of the complacency Mr Grimes speaks of.” He described a scenario in which he easily could have completed a minor repair himself, but was obligated to return the device to the manufacturer because he didn’t have access to a service manual or parts. “Our industry and its leaders really need to do a much better job on supporting the right to repair issue,” Mackeil said. “Or soon our country’s clinical engineering degree programs will be teaching their students courses like ‘advanced packing and shipping,’ ‘UPS 101,’ and ‘fundamentals of tape gun maintenance.’ ”
Finally, Mike Evana had some questions in response to an article about GE Healthcare’s efforts to partner with clinical engineering departments and hospital C-suites. “GE Healthcare is one of the largest providers of clinical equipment in the world. As a C-suite partner, would GE objectively evaluate and recommend equipment from competing vendors, if that equipment happened to meet the need more effectively than GE’s equipment?” he wondered. “Regarding training, will GE Healthcare train solely on GE equipment, or will they include the equipment of competing vendors?”