AAMI News July 2018

News in Brief

FDA Seeks to Reduce Risk of Surgical Fires

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a set of recommendations intended to reduce the risk of fires during surgery that can injure or kill a patient. As of 2015, an estimated 550 to 650 surgical fires occurred in the United States per year, according to the FDA.

“Although surgical fires are preventable, the FDA continues to receive reports about these events. Surgical fires can result in patient burns and other serious injuries, disfigurement, and death. Deaths are less common and are typically associated with fires occurring in a patient’s airway,” the FDA wrote. “Healthcare professionals and staff who perform surgical procedures should be trained in practices to reduce surgical fires.”

Surgical fires can result when all three elements of what the agency calls the “fire triangle” are present: high concentrations of oxygen (e.g., oxygen gas, nitrous oxide), a source of ignition (e.g., electrocautery devices, lasers, fiber optics), and a fuel source (e.g., surgical drapes, alcohol, the patient’s hair).

The FDA recommended staff be trained in understanding how fires are caused, how to manage fires when they do occur, and how to use carbon dioxide fire extinguishers near or on patients. Training should also include fire and evacuation drills.

The FDA encouraged reporting of surgical fires by filing a voluntary report with MedWatch, the FDA’s safety information and adverse event reporting program.

Barbara Christe
Barbara Christe
Jane Courtois
Jane Courtois
Bhaskar Iduri
Bhaskar Iduri

Technology Management Council Adds Three New Members

Three healthcare technology management (HTM) leaders joined AAMI’s Technology Management Council (TMC), a group responsible for representing all professionals and disciplines that purchase, service, and maintain healthcare technology, including biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs), clinical engineers, quality assurance professionals, and others.

The TMC works to create opportunities and resources for HTM professionals as well as elevate and advance the profession. The newest members of the TMC are:

  • Barbara Christe, program director of healthcare engineering technology management and associate professor with the Engineering Technology Department at the Purdue School of Engineering & Technology at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Janice Courtois, BMET III at Allina Health in Saint Paul, MN
  • Bhaskar Iduri, director of clinical engineering and quality assurance at Renovo Solutions in Irvine, CA

Their terms began following the meeting of the TMC at the AAMI 2018 Conference & Expo in June. For more information about the TMC, visit www.aami.org/TMC.

AAMI Publications Win ASHPE, EXCEL Awards

AAMI’s peer-reviewed journal, BI&T, and its twice-yearly supplement, Horizons, received gold awards from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE) in a national competition that recognizes “editorial excellence and achievement in the field of healthcare publishing.”

The cover story for the January/February 2017 issue of BI&T, “The Danger Within: Confronting the Challenge of Healthcare-Associated Infections,” written by AAMI Director of Communications Amber Logan, received ASHPE’s gold award for Best Single News Article. The fall 2017, cybersecurity-focused issue of Horizons, edited by Senior Editor Gavin Stern, received a gold award for Best Special Supplement.

Two AAMI publications also were honored in the EXCEL Awards, a competition sponsored by Association Media & Publishing that recognizes excellence and leadership in nonprofit association media, publishing, marketing, and communications. Logan’s 2017 BI&T cover story won a silver, and a post on the AAMIBlog, “It’s Past Time for HTM to  Turn Data into Knowledge,” authored by Larry Fennigkoh, professor of biomedical engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a member of the BI&T Editorial Board, earned a bronze.

New Award Will Honor Former Board Member

John Hughes
John Hughes

A new AAMI award is being created in memory of John Hughes, a former AAMI Board member and longtime healthcare technology management leader, who died in May at the age of 63.

Aramark donated $5,000 to establish the award in Hughes’ name, former Board Chair Phil Cogdill told attendees at the AAMI 2018 Conference & Expo. Close friends and colleagues are working to establish criteria for the new award, which will be presented for the first time in 2019.

Hughes’ absence at the conference was strongly felt by those who knew him, especially during the popular “Technical Iconoclast” session, in which he participated year after year alongside his colleagues, providing his trademark wit.

“John worked assiduously on timely topics to make medical practice safer and more effective. He also had a dry sense of humor that was infectious,” remembered Eben Kermit, a biomedical engineering supervisor at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, CA. “John was a true iconoclast and superhero.”

Elliot Sloane, president and executive director of the Center for Healthcare Information Research and Policy, agreed.

“Never a shrinking violet, John fought every battle well, with wry, dry, sly, pithy, ever insightful, and piercing humor. This last battle was no different; John was an iconoclast’s iconoclast to the last,” Sloane said. “In a while, after the sadness and grief passes, let’s always recall with a wry smile to our faces when we think of him! John’s bottomless spirit can now soar free into eternity.”

Hughes worked at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, as well as Bon Secours Health System in Marriottsville, MD, as corporate director for contract administration before retiring. He served on the AAMI Board of Directors, AAMI Awards Committee, Annual Conference Planning Committee, BI&T Editorial Board, and Technology Management Council, and was one of the early advocates of bridging the gap between clinical engineering and information technology.