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Gary Barkov, Vice President of CEAI, talks about their upcoming annual conference

by Robert Garment, Executive Editor | June 03, 2015
Gary Barkov
Vice Presdient of CEAI
Dr. Gary Barkov is a Healthcare Technology/Clinical Engineering Manager at Advocate Health Care in Illinois. He is also the Vice President of the Clinical Engineering Association of Illinois (CEAI). It was in his latter capacity that we spoke to him about CEAI’s upcoming event.

HCBN: The CEAI 6th Annual Conference & Expo is August 19-20 at the Drury Lane Conference Center in Oakbrook Terrace, IL -- what is the focus of this year's event, why should people attend?

GB: Our theme this year is “Healthcare Technology Management at the Crossroads.” And that ‘crossroads,’ as we see it, is a very big deal: it’s the emphasis on high reliability and value-driven management of healthcare technology as we continue to see the integration of clinical engineering and healthcare IT. HTM professionals have entered a whole new era with the advent of electronic medical records (EMR), and our profession has already gone through some major changes. Everybody in the hospital has interfacing with the EMR on their radar screen – from the C-suite on down. Technology decision making and priorities are often dominated by the need to integrate all the data that today’s increasingly sophisticated medical equipment is generating with each patient’s EMR.

HCBN: So become more IT savvy is essential if you want to survive and thrive as an HTM professional?

GB: Yes, absolutely. The core concepts of networking and data security have to be mastered by HTMs – both in the wired and wireless environments. In fact, we started to address those issues at last year’s conference – and even the year before that. The EMR is now at the center of a two-way communications between the providers and patients. At Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, the EMR is being used in conjunction with the important issue of medication safety. For instance, a physician's order goes into EMR, which then programs the IV pump to administer that dosage, and the infusion record then goes back into the patient’s EMR record. That’s just one example. There are massive amounts of data being generated, and it has to be secure and managed and that job is becoming the job of the HTM professional. All while continuing our traditional role of ensuring reliable and safe use of equipment.

HCBN: We understand that Mary Logan, President of AAMI and Steve Campbell, COO of AAMI are keynote speakers – can you give us a preview of their presentations?

GB: The AAMI has been out ahead of the curve regarding CE/IT integration, and after a few introductory remarks by both Mary and Steve, we’re going to have an interactive session, kind of an audience participation-slash-roundtable session, where there will be open discussions and the sharing of experiences. We expect a lot of people to react to other people's comments by saying to themselves, "I know what he or she is talking about," and then jump in with their situation. Hopefully, people will share best-practices and learn solutions from each other.

HCBN: You also have George Mills, Director of Engineering at Joint Commission as a guest speaker, correct?

GB: George is one of the most plugged-in people on CMS and Joint Commission regulations, and he’ll talk about equipment management -- one of his specialties. When George talks, people listen, or should listen. We also have Randall Snelling, Chief Physical Environment Officer, DNV healthcare. Since last decade, DNV has provided an alternative accreditation organization to the Joint Commission and use an ISO 9001 approach to improving healthcare. Advocate and Unity Point Healthcare system in Iowa are accredited by DNV, with some locations already certified. Other luminaries will included Binseng Wang, formerly with Aramark as the Chief Quality Officer, and he is now with Sunshine Solutions; and there’s Pay Lynch, Global Medical Imaging, and Hank Goddard, from Mainspring.

HCBN: What special educational offerings are on tap?

GB: We’re focusing on CE/IT and looking to get one of the major EMR vendors to do a track on how to transition to the new reality of "big data" as a new and permanent fact of life in health care. We’ll have sessions on wireless networking and other medical IT topics. And while we’re not formalizing these tracks, they are cutting-edge and highly recommended.

HCBN: We heard that the move to Drury Lane is because you needed a bigger space -- where's the new venue and how many exhibitors will you have?

GB: For repeat attendees, they’ll be happy to know that our new location is just a about a mile down the road from where we’ve been, and it will give us the ability to accommodate up to 80 exhibitors. Last year we had over 60 exhibitors and actually had to turn people away, so we're happy to have more vendors join us. A booth is $999, which is a great value for this type of event. The Vendor Expo is August 20th from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. It immediately follows our keynote speakers and lunch, so everyone will be ready to hit the trade show floor. The day before on the 19th is our Scholarship luncheon, and we’re proud to support future leaders in our professional. We’re giving out $2,500 scholarships to a group of deserving people, anyone enrolled in HTM course is eligible for these scholarships.

HCBN: How many attendees do you expect, and is there an entry fee?

GB: I believe we had about 350 total attendees last year and we expect over 400 this time. The cost to attend is really low, it’s practically free. It’s just $25 and that comes with a full year membership with CEAI. On top of that, your $25 gets you two breakfasts and two lunches at the show, which is probably one of the best deals you'll find anywhere!

HCBN: Are there any other highlights people should know about?

GB: Among other events, Covidien will have a 3-day training session on their electro–surgical systems, and Philips Healthcare will have sessions on life-support systems. Attendees will get a Certificate of Training at the end, and there is a small fee for this session. There will be a discussion about groundbreaking work on clinical alarm fatigue at North Shore University Health System. Axxess Ultrasound has a session, RSTI will have a session, and there will also be one on OR-video integration. The level of our educational offerings is as good as you’ll find anywhere, we’re really are putting on a premier conference.

HCBN: What should people go to get more information?

GB: Just go to our web site: http://www.ceaiweb.org/

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