By Julie Kirst

JulieKirst 211In the past few years, the jump in the use of technology in health care, combined with a downturn in the economy, have presented multiple challenges to the clinical/biomedical engineering community. Whether it meant learning a new set of skills to service a device, connecting medical device systems to one another, dealing with cell phone interference, or gaining networking skills, these advances have presented the community with changes that have challenged workflow, finances, and training budgets. Through these changes, I have watched the biomedical community rise to the occasion by adapting to and growing through these new ways of doing business.

Without question, the IT conversion has been a bumpy road, but more and more I hear of departments smoothing out the prickly issues to forge collaborative relationships. We all know that the move to interoperability, networked devices, and mobile health will not slow down, and that the best way to remain viable is to arm departments and individuals with the training and tools they need to thrive.  

While the technology sector races ahead, one thing that does not change is the service you give your customers every day. As important as the advances in device offerings are, your service principles represent an equally important part of the equation when it comes to patient safety. Offering your customers an efficient way to connect with you, timely service, and your positive interaction with them signify your commitment to ensuring their needs are quickly met, which enhances patient care.

In order for biomeds to offer this exceptional service, organizations need to keep pace and make a similar commitment to provide these departments with updated tools and training. When the training budget does not allow this, associations and publications such as ours can help fill gaps.

Through the many departments 24×7 has profiled on its cover, as well as from the conversations I have enjoyed with members of the community and comments from our compensation survey, I have seen that your dedication does not waver, despite the challenges, and I find this commendable.

In my March column I talked about transitions, and now I am making one too. This represents my last issue as the editor of 24×7, and I want to thank each and every one of you for your support over the years. Whether we have met at a trade show, e-mailed, or spoken on the phone, or whether you have written an article for us or participated in one, I send my most heartfelt thanks. I have the greatest respect for what you do, and it has been a privilege to be a part of your community.

I also want to thank our respected editorial advisory board for their many years of providing insight and guidance. In addition, a thank you to John Noblitt, Arif Subhan, and Jeff Kabachinski for regularly contributing columns. And I cannot leave without thanking my associate editor, Kurt Woock, who many of you have had the pleasure of working with, or our behind-the-scenes copy editor, Debbie Overman, who keeps us in “style.” A thank you too to our great advertising team and the art department. 

I also want to introduce you to John Bethune, the new editor of 24×7. I am confident he will continue to provide you with the tools and resources that will enhance your work, and I am certain you will assist him as he works to bring you a solid publication that keeps you updated on the medical device world. You can reach him at [email protected].

I applaud your dedication to safety and the commitment to your work, and I wish each of you continued success. 24×7 Up Front April 2013