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Q&A with Robert Jensen, president and CEO of AAMI

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 12, 2020
From the May 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Working with our partners, we’ve held several virtual town halls, many with more than 1,000 participants. The intent of these town halls is to disseminate best practices, facilitate discussion, and help our communities understand that they aren’t alone as they respond to this crisis.

We established a curated directory of credible resources, including relevant guidance documents and standards, on everything from PPE to masks and logistics.

For the safety of our staff, members, and collaborators, we proactively moved our operations, standards meetings, and training courses to a virtual formal.

We’re also offering students enrolled in nonprofit biomedical equipment technician (BMET) programs who have been displaced by closures due to COVID-19 free access to a free eLearning study course for CBET certification.

To bring this all together, we established a coronavirus update page (www.aami.org/coronavirus) that collects all of our resources as well as provide an update to our members on changes to AAMI’s operations.

HCB News: What work is AAMI doing to help alleviate equipment and/or supply shortages needed to combat the coronavirus?
RJ: Several of our close partners were able to quickly step in to fill some of the information gaps in this area. AAMI staff have spent hours working our networks, including our members, our manufacturers, our researchers, and our collaborators at the FDA to support those efforts.

We're working directly with SDOs and the FDA to facilitate the creation and dissemination of guidance and standards to assist new entrants into the field so that we can increase the supply of high-quality and medically safe products as quickly as possible. There's a lot of misinformation that could lead to wasted effort and we're doing everything we can to correct that.

We are also working with a group of test labs to connect them with equipment manufacturers who need their help, and to ensure that everyone is working with the same information about the requirements for emergency equipment

HCB News: What are the biggest challenges AAMI members are talking about during this crisis and how are those challenges being addressed?
RJ: We received feedback that some HTM and sterilization professionals were having difficulty establishing themselves as “essential personnel”. To respond to that issue, we issued a Safe Passage letter for these critical professionals, so they may be granted priority access, right-of-passage, and exemption from shelter-in-place requirements that they need to perform their duties.

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