By Keri Forsythe-Stephens

2016 FBS Symposium highlights industry challenges, opportunities

The happiest place on earth will provide the perfect backdrop for the annual 2016 Florida Biomedical Society (FBS) symposium, which takes place from December 8-10 at Walt Disney World’s Yacht Club Resort. Over the three-day period, members of the FBS and their vendor partners will congregate in sunny Orlando, Fla., to discuss the latest happenings in the healthcare technology management (HTM) sector.

And if past FBS symposiums are any indication of what’s to come, this year’s conference will be another one for the books, explains Bill Hascup, who begins his third term as FBS president in 2017.

Attendees looking to rub elbows with fellow HTM professionals are especially in luck this year, Hascup says. “Some of the networking highlights for the 2016 FBS Symposium include more than six hours of exhibit hall time with close to 100 vendors, a vendor lakeside reception, and the FBS’ signature event: a cocktail and fireworks reception at Disney’s Epcot theme park,” he says.

The decision to hold the symposium at Disney World was particularly strategic, remarks 2016 FBS President Richard Morris. “What better place than Disney to have our members come to further their education and be able to provide them with the opportunity to, if they so desire, bring their family along and go do something fun with them afterward?” Morris muses. “Additionally,” he says, “we have several social events planned that will allow our members the opportunity to connect with old friends, make new ones, and give back through participating in charity events.”

Educational Sessions

Education at the 2016 FBS Symposium will also be first-rate, according to Morris. “The symposium is an excellent opportunity for our members to get valuable training through the many educational tracks being offered,” he says. Plus, Morris reveals, all training and exhibit hall access are provided at no cost to HTM professionals—a true benefit to FBS attendees.

Morris’s colleague Fred McMurtrie, CBET, who serves as FBS’ secretary and webmaster, says the educational sessions will cover a broad range of issues that currently affect the HTM sector, including the care and handling of powered equipment and alternative equipment maintenance. Other educational highlights include a two-part CBET review session presented by FBS Treasurer Lou Katchis, BSEE, MSEE, MBA, CCE, as well as a course on CT fundamentals conducted by Technical Prospects’ Director of Engineering Ken Hable, MD, BSRT.

HTM veteran Pat Lynch, CBET, CCE, CHTM, CPHIMS, FACCE, will also present two educational sessions during the symposium: One titled “Building Credibility for HTM” and another updating attendees about FDA mandates regarding third parties. Rounding out the educational offerings is a course on remote data service for ventilation and anesthesia systems presented by Joe Mitura, Drager’s systems’ and network administrator and IT technical trainer, as well as two sessions on MRI given by Medical Systems Technology President Bruce Smith. (One course will cover MRI artifact troubleshooting while the other will discuss MRI coil support and troubleshooting.)

FBS’ 2016 Keynote address will further educate and inspire attendees, McMurtrie maintains. Presented by Don Allen, director of clinical engineering at Mercy Hospital in Joplin. Mo.—the setting of 2011’s catastrophic tornado—the Keynote speech will examine clinical engineers’ role in disaster preparedness.

“This presentation will provide Florida’s HTM professionals with valuable insight on how to prepare for natural disasters,” McMurtrie says—an especially timely subject since Hurricane Matthew ravaged Florida’s east coast only two months prior.

Given the Keynote address’ timeliness and the FBS’ wide reach, he expects Allen’s speech to attract large crowds. After all, McMurtrie says, the annual FBS Symposium is one of the most well attended HTM trade shows in the United States—drawing more than 435 attendees, on average, since 2013.

Promoting the Profession

One thing that sets the FBS apart from other state biomedical associations is its structure, McMurtrie explains. Comprised of five regional chapters—the Gulf Coast Biomedical Society, the Bay Area Association of Medical Instrumentation, the Central Florida Biomedical Instrumentation Society, the South Florida Association for Medical Instrumentation, and the Northeast Florida Association of Medical Instrumentation—as well as its members at large, the FBS allows each chapter to operate autonomously.

Even so, McMurtrie says, “Each chapter has a representative that is elected or appointed by their chapter to sit as a representative to FBS,” with association members electing FBS executive officers on an annual basis. It may be an unconventional approach, but this structure has no doubt contributed to the FBS’ staying power. (Last year, the society celebrated 30 years in operation.) That’s not to say that the FBS isn’t open to change, however, McMurtrie points out.

The FBS has revamped its annual symposium in recent years, introducing new scholarships and awards to its membership, McMurtrie reveals. “A more recent addition to our awards process is the FBS President’s Award, which focuses on a vendor, OEM, or HTM service company that has provided extraordinary service and support to Florida’s HTM community,” he says.

This association’s 2016 annual symposium will also see the launch of a new scholarship in honor of Technicuff CEO Bill Yandell, who passed in March 2015 at the age of 65. “Plus, we recognize one outstanding HTM professional each year to be presented with our ‘BMET of the Year’ award,” McMurtrie says. It’s just another way the FBS promotes the HTM industry, he explains.

And promoting the biomedical industry (while having a little fun) will be a major theme throughout the 2016 FBS Symposium. “The symposium is like a big family reunion,” McMurtrie says. “Everyone gets together, tells stories, breaks bread, does some learning, and has fun. It’s just an all around great experience.” In other words, he says, see you in Orlando!

Keri Forsythe-Stephens is Cheif Editor of 24×7. Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected]


FBS Schedule of Events

Thursday, December 8

  • Evening arrival and Tyler’s Hope event

Friday, December 9

  • 7 a.m. to noon: Golf Tournament at Hawk’s Landing Golf Course
  • 7 a.m.: Registration Desk Open
  • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Educational Tracks
  • Noon to 4 p.m.: Exhibit Hall Vendor Setup
  • 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Exhibit Hall Grand Opening
  • 7 p.m. to 8:30pm: Lakeside Vendor Reception

Saturday, December 10

  • 7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.: Morning Reception/Continental Breakfast
  • 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m.: President’s Address
  • 8 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.: Keynote Speaker: Mercy Medical’s Don Allen
  • 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.: FBS Awards & Scholarships
  • 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Break
  • 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Education Tracks
  • 12:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Exhibit Hall Open (Lunch with Vendors)
  • 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Vendor Exhibit Hall Breakdown
  • 3:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Educational Tracks
  • 6:20 p.m.: FBS’s Epcot Event commences
  • 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.: Epcot’s Living Seas Event (Sponsored by A.I.V. Inc.)
  • 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Epcot’s Illuminations (Sponsored by CE-Tech, Inc.)

Sunday, December 11

  • 9 a.m. to TBD: FBS Board Meeting