As health technology becomes increasingly connected, coordination between the fields of healthcare technology management, clinical engineering, and IT is more important than ever. That’s why AAMI is joining forces with two other organizations to bring more information technology (IT)-related resources to the healthcare technology management (HTM) and IT communities.
The Health Technology Alliance (HTA), a joint collaboration between AAMI, the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE), and the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), has already lined up several projects for 2020.
“The past year was spent redefining the alliance’s mission and building a strong bond among our three organizations,” says Danielle McGeary, AAMI’s vice president of HTM. “ACCE, AAMI, and HIMSS members have immense expertise; bringing these associations together to achieve a common goal creates a powerful solution.”
The HTA is working to do a better job of collaborating with its representative fields of HTM and IT, adds Stephen L. Grimes, principal consultant at Strategic Healthcare Technology Associates and member of the HTA Steering Committee. “Our aim is to provide guidance and assistance to these professionals as they work to support the constantly evolving and converging information and medical technologies,” he says.
The precursor to the HTA was started by AAMI, ACCE, and HIMSS in 2008 as the CE-IT Community, which evolved into the HTA in 2017. Recently, the alliance consolidated AAMI’s former Wireless Strategy Task Force (WSTF), a group of experts working to clarify the roles and responsibilities of wireless technology management and offer guidance to the health technology field.
“The Internet of Things has come to healthcare … all of the devices that have been ‘dumb’ are becoming ‘smart’ and connected,” adds Michael Marchant, director of health information exchange and system integration at UC Davis Health and member of the HTA committee. “This interoperability brings a whole host of new challenges for healthcare institutions’ HTM/CE and IT departments. HTA will hopefully help these three groups work better together in this new Internet of Healthcare Things.”
New Resources for the Community
HTA’s newly integrated WSTF is preparing to publish a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to tackle many of the most pressing IT-issues seen in the healthcare environment. This document updates group’s 2014 wireless FAQ document to better reflect the current state of the industry with connected technologies. It includes updated answers to long-standing issues, with expanded sections on security, Bluetooth technology, risk mitigation, and troubleshooting IEEE 802.11 connectivity issues.
In addition, the HTA has hosted several free webinars, currently available for download on the resources page of the alliance’s website. These include an update on medical device cybersecurity resources and practices and using the new version of MDS2. The alliance is also developing a toolkit for HTM-IT professionals, intended to include basic guidelines for establishing a more effective HTM program as well as practical examples of how organizations of different scales can implement these guidelines—from 100-bed hospitals to 2,000-bed academic medical centers.
Finally, the HTA has launched an online discussion group through AAMI Connect, additional webinars, and sessions and symposia to be presented at association meetings. The HTA committee is seeking volunteers to share their ideas, expertise, and time.
HTA membership is open to anyone who has an interest in healthcare technology. For more information about membership and the alliance’s activities and resources, go to www.healthtechnologyalliance.org.