24×7‘s annual salary survey and reports on the top issues in healthcare technology management proved fertile ground for reader comments in recent weeks.
The 2015 salary survey noted that as more biomeds reach retirement age, the field will be tasked with finding younger professionals to step up and fill their roles. Scot Mackeil described what he sees as a generational divide in new biomeds’ exposure to practical skills: “I am one of those 50+ senior CBETs. For me, I see too many youngsters coming up that got degrees and a lot of education. But they have little practical skill with hands tools and 4-dimensional critical thinking. The educators in biomed programs should have complex pieces of equipment, and students should be drilled in tear down and rebuild. They need to be taught what medical equipment really is on the inside.”
“What a wonderful survey!” wrote Pat Lynch. “Some of the results are to be expected, like the higher salaries out west. But there are some surprises, too. For me, I am surprised that Radiology Specialists aren’t earning more, and that more folks aren’t pursuing certification or additional education.”
He also sees the potential for departments to have trouble retaining talented team members as more biomeds retire around the country. “Even if [those retiring] weren’t my own staff, there would be a lot of openings that could lure my staff to other positions. Keeping your good staff happy and engaged and loyal has never been more important.”
Chris Salberg, too, was surprised to discover that imaging specialists took home less than expected. “For the radiology engineers I thought the salaries were a little low, but then again I suppose it is based on how many different modalities you are competent in servicing. Thanks for the article!”
Top Issues in HTM
24×7 recently covered ECRI Institute’s 2016 list of top healthcare technology hazards, which for the first time in several years moved alarm management to the number two slot. First place went to dirty endoscopes, which have caused serious outbreaks of infection around the country.
“These no doubt are all good things to be concerned about, but ECRI’s methodology in generating their list, as described in their release, is not exactly clear or transparent,” wrote William Hyman. “In this regard alarms ‘falling’ from 1 to 2 doesn’t make alarms any less of an issue.”
Rick Schrenker also had some critiques for the field in response to a feature article that will appear in 24×7‘s January issue. For “A Way Forward: Meeting the Top 10 Challenges in HTM,” contributor Chris Hayhurst spoke to leading experts in the biomed community for their opinions on the field’s most pressing issues and suggestions for how to meet these challenges.
“As a member of the over 50 crowd, I have to remark that there is nothing new here…We’ve known that the need and nature of electrical safety testing has changed for decades. Ditto PM programs. Ditto participation in capital acquisition processes. Ditto the value of data. Ditto ditto ditto.”
In response to the article’s call for biomeds to seek common ground with manufacturers to resolve issues of supportability, Schrenker wrote, “The nature of providers’ relationship with manufacturers is supposed to be adversarial as well as collegial. That we should work together on standards efforts and in meetings focused on shared objectives doesn’t mean we do not have conflicting objectives. We do…And that begs the question whether or not there is ANYTHING that provider-based practitioners will step up and defend as fundamental, that they will tell manufacturers is not acceptable to not address to the provider community’s satisfaction. I would hope that would be safety-related, but right now anything would do.”
Finally, Barbara Christe’s October article on practicing professional empathy struck a chord for one reader. Her guidelines on how and why to demonstrate customer-focused empathy, wrote Ted Barbeau, “reflects the values and leadership qualities that I was reared on in this field and for which I’ve always tried to emulate for my staff. I was blessed to have a boss for the first half of my career who thought this way and now that it’s my time to pay it forward, I do my best to honor his legacy. This job is about so much more than repairs and PMs, and I hope that every in-house biomed department takes a similar tact.”
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I teach biomed at a local community college and follow as close as possible the core competencies recently established. The millennials need lots of stimulation therefore lecture is limited to 1hr with lab the next hour to hour and a half. I have found when the lab is stimulating the student wants to learn and apply the knowledge at the externship at the local hospitals. The first day of class is in the electronics lab then we say goodbye to that and start in the building where the people Biomeds will be hanging with the nurses, u/s techs, radiology techs. I believe in full immersion right at the beginning with my students working with equipment that is used today.