The New England Society of Clinical Engineering (NESCE) recently hosted its 2022 Northeastern Healthcare Technology Symposium in October, where it provided presentations to engage healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals and bolster enthusiasm for the healthcare technology field.

Ashley O’Mara, president of NESCE, and J. Scot Mackeil, CBET, senior biomedical electronics technologist, Massachusetts General Hospital, who is on the 2022 Northeastern Healthcare Technology Symposium Committee, both spoke on the significance of NESCE, the recent symposium, and the importance of improving education in HTM, overall.

24×7: How did the NESCE come into existence and how has it evolved since its inception?

Ashley O’Mara: NESCE was formed in the early ’70s by a group of clinical engineering managers from the Hartford, CT to Springfield, MA area.  It became part of a cooperative group of clinical engineering organizations in New England and Eastern New York State. The Iroquois Biomedical Society (IBS) based in the Albany, NY area, the Northern New England Society of Biomedical Equipment Technicians (NNESBET) based in VT/NH, the Medical Device Society (MDS) based in Boston and the New England Society of Clinical Engineering (NESCE) based in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut were very active in the ‘70s and ‘80s. 

The Annual Biomedical Symposium rotated between these four societies and was well attended by members from each organization.  In the ‘90s when financial pressure on healthcare organizations increased, support for regional clinical engineering (CE) organizations decreased and over that decade IBS, NNESBET, and MDS became mostly inactive. NESCE continued to be active, and it became the regional CE society for all of New England.

24×7: What are the NESCE’s key values and how do they influence how the association operates?

O’Mara: NESCE has continued to play a role providing educational and CE networking opportunities for CE/HTM professionals all over New England. It has great promise of continuing in this role because of the young and enthusiastic leadership group it now has. NESCE supports the biomed community by holding quarterly membership meetings, occasional focused educational programs, and a biannual two-day symposium to bring the New England community together for networking and education.

Scot Mackeil: One of the most important things we do is serve as partners to our clinicians dealing with technology and making sure the technology isn’t having a negative impact on what they’re doing. If you understand what clinicians are trying to do, you might, as an HTM professional, know a better piece of equipment that will meet their needs.

24×7: In your expert opinion, what are the key issues facing the HTM sector and how is the NESCE working to overcome them?

O’Mara: The 2022 Northeastern Healthcare Technology Symposium included CE/HTM panel sessions that answered these questions. It featured four well-known HTM professionals who answered these questions and how their organizations are working to overcome them. The NESCE Executive Committee continues to work with the Healthcare Organization HTM Leaders on what they need to continue moving HTM forward. In the past this has included Joint commission updates, CMMS vendor day, and soft skills training.

Mackeil: Staffing and training. When coaching new BMETs, I share three questions they should constantly be asking themselves throughout their workday. First: “Do I really understand this piece of equipment?” Second: “How does this piece of medical equipment connect with patient care?” And, finally: “How does this piece of equipment add value for caregivers?”

24×7: Why should local HTM professionals attend NESCE symposiums?

O’Mara: The recent two-day 2022 NESCE Symposium featured a vendor exhibit hall and education sessions. CEUs credits are also available for attendees.

Mackeil: Doctors and nurses don’t know everything about this technology; they don’t know what we know. They need to focus on taking care of patients. We need to do what we do to help keep patients safe.

24×7: What else is on the horizon for the NESCE?

O’Mara: NESCE will continue to offer Quarterly member meetings. These meetings will be a mix of virtual and in person to meet the varying needs of our members.

Further reading: Association Update: Georgia Biomedical Instrumentation Society