By Keri Forsythe-Stephens
I know that I say this every holiday season, but I can’t believe another year has almost come and gone. But this year feels more monumental than in years past since it marks the end of a decade. A decade that introduced cryptocurrencies, “big data” analytics, and virtual reality to the mainstream, among other innovations.
From an HTM perspective, the 2010s have been a decade of vast change—and challenges. Due to the proliferation of the Internet of Things—a phenomenon 24×7 explores in greater detail here—the HTM sector has transformed tremendously in recent years. Devices are more connected than ever and, as a result, more vulnerable to cyberattacks—another issue that we investigate in this month’s issue. (Click here to read “Ahead of the Hack: Promoting the Security of Remote Medical Devices.”)
I’m currently collecting responses for 2019’s salary and job compensation survey and cybersecurity is one of the top concerns cited. I’ll save the bulk of the responses for January’s print issue—which will feature the results of the survey, along with exclusive salary charts—but one statement really spoke out to me: “We, as HTMs, constantly change to support new equipment types and models,” one respondent wrote. “We must also adapt to support and protect our network-connected medical devices.”
This survey respondent’s concerns echo those of Jojo Gonzales, the 2019 recipient of AAMI & GE Healthcare’s “BMET of the Year” award and a 24×7 Magazine editorial board member. In this month’s “HTM Expert Panel,” Gonzales encourages his peers to “embrace the challenges brought on by interconnectivity” by learning IT’s language.
Continuing education, Gonzales says, is essential. So is vigilance. “Incorporate cybersecurity countermeasure practices into the PM procedures,” Gonzales advises. “Even the simplest checks of device physical security—logging off when finished and making sure users do not have passwords written under their keyboards—can make a big difference.”
Those making a big difference in the field are also eligible to receive an AAMI Foundation award. Under the Mary K. Logan Research Awards grant program, HTM professionals who are conducting research to enhance the safe adoption and use of health technologies can receive up to $80,000 to fund their projects.
The most recent winner, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, received a $40,000 check to support a project intended to ensure kids receive appropriate continuous monitoring. Who will the next winner be? And how will their technology incite more positive change in the HTM field?
Visit www.AAMIFoundation.org/MKL-Awards to learn more.
Keri Forsythe-Stephens is chief editor of 24×7 Magazine.