Horace Hunter, executive
director of GBIS

GBIS' Horace Hunter on biomed trends

July 13, 2012
by Philip F. Jacobus, CEO
Earlier this week I spoke with Horace Hunter, the executive director of the Georgia Biomedical Instrumentation Society, to discuss his group's upcoming meeting and what's happening in the clinical engineering field.

Horace is one of the most down-to-earth guys I know. When you meet him or talk to him, you can't help but be charmed.

Also, when Horace talks, you listen, because he has been in the business for 33 years (for the last 10 of those years, he has been executive director of the GBIS).

Horace told me of two main trends he has noticed in the biomed field. One, it's growing, as hospitals use more and more technology. His group now has 327 active members (472 in total).

The other big trend is the merging of information technology and clinical engineering. Horace said this is actually good news for hospitals, as it means more efficient use of staff. But it also means new biomeds will need to make sure they have the relevant training.

"Biomeds are going to have to be trained and prepared to do IT," he told me.

Of course, there is one lion in the path for biomeds: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' newly enforced maintenance guidelines. These require clinical engineering departments to stick to manufacturers' preventive maintenance protocols for all critical equipment and for all other equipment unless "evidence-based" guidelines are developed.

Horace said this is going to be very costly and very difficult for many departments to comply with.

A discussion on this is actually one of the centerpieces of the GBIS' Technical Conference taking place next month. Both Michael Chisholm, an engineer with The Joint Commission, and a representative from AAMI Technical Management Council are scheduled to speak about the CMS rules at the two-day event.

The conference, by the way, runs Aug. 17-18 at the WellStar Development Center in Atlanta, Ga. Learn more here.