In a recent 24×7 article naming the top challenges for healthcare technology management, Stephen Grimes noted the increasing complexity of medical technology is requiring biomeds to have skills in both equipment repair and IT. Training in “systems thinking,” he said, can help HTM professionals understand how multiple systems in the environment interact.

Now AAMI and the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) have announced that they are cosponsoring two training workshops that will bring together clinicians, healthcare simulation experts, medical device manufacturers, and systems engineers to evaluate and refine an emerging “systems thinking” engineering modeling approach to healthcare operations. The first training workshop will be held January 30–February 2, as a part of the larger 2016 INCOSE International Workshop in Torrance, Calif.

The upcoming training workshops were developed by AAMI and INCOSE as part of their partnership aimed at building understanding and capacity for a systems thinking approach in healthcare, as well as improving the patient experience and the affordability and effectiveness of care. This will be the third year that AAMI and INCOSE are collaborating in this effort.

During the healthcare systems engineering technical track at the INCOSE International Workshop, participants and facilitators will focus on applying systems thinking to the emergency department (ED). According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, EDs provide 11% of all outpatient visits and are the entry point for roughly half of all hospital admissions. Therefore, efficiency in the ED is critical to the overall healthcare system, making it an ideal candidate for evaluating the “system approach” inherent to systems engineering, according to the associations.

This first workshop is designed to provide clinicians and hospital administrators with a new perspective on how to represent the interactions within a hospital department and offer medical device manufacturers a new tool for analyzing the use conditions within an ED that impact device design and safety. Healthcare simulation experts will receive a common framework for developing simulations and comparing results across multiple simulation types, and clinical engineers and systems engineers can gain a deeper understanding of how to tailor systems engineering tools developed by other industries for use within a healthcare environment.

A second workshop, AAMI-INCOSE East, will take place in April 2016 in the Washington, DC area. This training event will be similar to the January 2016 workshop, but will focus on the operating room.