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Biomeds by any other name . . .

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | May 01, 2014
From the May 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Nearly three years to the day, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) announced the official new name for the group of professionals in charge of maintaining and servicing medical equipment. Yet, "health technology management" hasn't really taken hold in the hearts and minds of health care professionals. In fact, in speaking with HTM professionals for our (forgive me AAMI) biomed issue, I learned that the HTM moniker is generally used in-department. However, outside of those walls, it's virtually unknown. Most other health care professionals still only know them as biomeds or in some cases, clinical engineers. One of the biomeds interviewed for the viewpoints piece said there were enough things going on that trying to enforce a name change would only add to the confusion.

I can understand what AAMI is trying to accomplish and I think it's worthwhile. The term "biomed" covers so many things, yet it's not necessarily a readily-defined occupation by those outside of the field.
By changing the name to health technology management, AAMI is providing more gravitas to the sector. After all, the title has the word "management" in it. Ultimately though, the real challenge HTM faces is getting the recognition and respect they deserve. Traditionally, they've been the men and women that discreetly come in, get the job done and slip out again with minimal fuss. Unfortunately, that approach has worked against them. By doing their jobs well and keeping a low profile, they sometimes give the impression that their jobs are easy to do. However, now more than ever, they have a challenging environment to deal with and they provide a frontline for delivering a good patient experience. And with patient feedback being tied to reimbursement, it's easy to imagine that the pressure has increased for HTM even as budgets for training and staffing are being pinched.

That being said, our second annual biomed viewpoints piece (see p. 48) provides a forum for ten biomeds to share their thoughts on some of the big points of concern in their sector. If you're a biomed or you have a comment about the profession, we would love to hear your point of view. You can share it by commenting in the online version here: www.dotmed.com/news/23230

In fact, every article in this and past issues of DOTmed HealthCare Business News also appears online and we welcome comments. Other articles of particular note in this issue include the 3-D printing feature on page 33, the CMS update on page 54 and the imaging informatics article on page 30. I also found this month's IT Matters column on page 26 both entertaining and informative and I believe you will too.

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