Annual conference to offer top-notch educational, networking opportunities

By Aine Cryts

As many as 3,000 people are slated to attend the AAMI 2017 Conference & Expo, which takes place in Austin, Texas, from Friday, June 9, to Monday, June 12. Sherrie Schulte, senior director of certification and the annual conference, expects an increase in attendees over last year’s meeting—which garnered roughly 2,300 attendees—because of the location, the educational content, and an uptick in the economy.

Specifically, the sessions on cybersecurity, big data, and accreditation requirements in healthcare technology are driving interest among HTM professionals, she adds.

AAMI expects to welcome to the Austin Convention Center biomedical engineers, biomedical equipment technicians, clinical engineers, clinicians, healthcare and hospital IT specialists, and others who maintain, manage, purchase, repair, or track medical equipment.

Attendees will be able to take advantage of the AAMI 2017 Expo that features a “one-stop source” for information about the latest advances, innovations, and upgrades in healthcare technology from more than 200 manufacturers and service providers.

Stellar Educational Sessions

The AAMI 2017 welcoming reception, which is sponsored by Sodexo, will take place at the JW Marriott Austin, which is a departure from previous years when the event had been held at the host city’s convention center, says Schulte.

Austin, with its reputation as a fun city, is also helping drive an increase in registrations—as are the sessions at the annual meeting. Look no further than the buzz being generated for “Big Data at the Bedside: Using Medical Devices to Predict and Prevent Deadly Illness,” a session that will be presented by J. Randall Moorman, MD, a professor of medicine (cardiology), physiology, and biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia.

During Moorman’s presentation, which will serve as the opening general session for the conference, attendees will learn how to leverage information provided in medical devices and data to help save patients’ lives.

According to Schulte, another must-see presentation will be delivered by Kevin Fu, PhD, chief scientist at Virtua Labs, Inc. and associate professor in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan.

Fu, who will present the Dwight E. Harken Memorial Lecture on Sunday, June 11, helped establish the field of medical device security in 2008. Schulte says his session will provide insight on the risks, benefits, and regulatory issues associated with medical device cybersecurity and the innovation of trustworthy medical device software.

On Monday morning, a presentation by George Mills, MBA, FASHE, CEM, CHFM, CHSP, director for the department of engineering at The Joint Commission (TJC), will also provide attendees with useful information to take back to their workplaces, says Schulte.

Mills, who provides standards interpretations and education to accredited organizations, will present an update on TJC’s activities, discuss future plans for the organization, and share how these activities and plans will impact attendees’ healthcare facilities. In addition, participants will receive guidance on ways to prepare for a Joint Commission inspection survey.

During the conference, attendees will have access to more than 60 sessions focused on cybersecurity, big data, and accreditation requirements in healthcare technology. AAMI 2017 attendees will also have online access to materials from all of the sessions via AAMI University after they return home; non-attendees can gain access to these materials for an additional fee.

A Time to Celebrate

More than 15 awards and scholarships will be presented during the AAMI Awards Celebration, which takes place on the night of Saturday, June 10. Allison Rafti, director of membership marketing at AAMI, says attendees should expect a fun evening. “It’s a great way to meet and greet winners, as well as network with other attendees and celebrate,” she adds.

Award winners will receive a cash prize and an engraved award, says Rafti, who notes that the awards will focus on patient safety and innovation. New this year is the AAMI “HTM Association of the Year Award,” which recognizes the achievement of one local/regional HTM association. “We have an awards reception to really provide the healthcare technology community an opportunity to recognize and celebrate leaders and innovators [who] have advanced patient safety,” Rafti notes.

On Sunday night, the last night of the conference, AAMI will celebrate its 50th anniversary, a yearlong celebration that kicked off in January, with a party at Maggie Mae’s; this venue boasts one of the best views of Austin from the largest rooftop on Sixth Street, the city’s entertainment district. Schulte highlights that attendees will experience the “Walk of Fame,” which will be represented by visuals presented throughout the convention hall that illustrate the association’s 50-year history.

While there will be many educational opportunities at AAMI, Schulte encourages attendees to take advantage of social events to meet up with old and new friends—and to learn and share best practices to improve patient safety and control costs with other attendees.

Career Center Opportunities

Attendees looking for new jobs or hoping to advance their careers should take advantage of the Career Center at AAMI 2017.

After posting a resume online, those interested in pursuing new career opportunities can set up interviews with potential employers on June 10 and June 11. Health Tech Talent Management; The InterMed Group; Sodexo; SPBS, Inc.; Stephens International Recruiting; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Universal Hospital Services; and the University of California, San Francisco; are among the organizations that will be conducting interviews.

It’s a good idea for attendees to bring electronic and printed copies of their resumes, according to AAMI 2017 officials. Schulte notes that attendees can also visit the Career Center to have professional photos taken. In addition, certification representatives will be available at the Career Center to answer questions about the CBET certification process. In other words, attending AAMI 2017 is an investment in your present—and future—career.

Aine Cryts is a contributing writer for 24×7. For more information, contact chief editor Keri Forsythe-Stephens at kstephens@medqor.com.