In 1985, about a dozen clinical engineering leaders gathered at Massachusetts General Hospital to discuss measuring and managing productivity and other business aspects of inhouse programs.
They never imagined that the gathering would become an annual event—one that would grow in size each year—but that’s exactly what has happened.
Officially, the meeting is called the “Annual Conference on Clinical Engineering Productivity and Cost Effectiveness” and “AAMI Subcommittee on Technology Management.” But almost everyone just calls the event, “Manny’s Meeting.”
“Manny” is Manny Furst, PhD, CCE, who organized the meeting every year for two and a half decades, with the help of Mike Argentieri, Elliot Sloane, PhD, Jim Keller, and the committee members themselves.
“The initial concept was to provide a forum for clinical engineering managers and others to address the issues of productivity and cost effectiveness,” says Furst. “Having gotten to know a number of people who were gathering data and managing in business-like ways, I organized the meeting to exchange ideas and data.”
As times have changed, so too have the topics. The group has broadened its scope and interests. Each year, the group meets on the Friday before the AAMI Annual Conference for a full-day session that consists of brief presentations delivered by various members of the group.
“We’ve always had an agenda set by the members who suggest ‘hot topics’ that they feel are important or may become important to clinical engineering,” he said. “Our motivation is to provide a forum for brainstorming and sharing ideas that are just conceptual, staying up-to-date on important issues, and learning about new issues from someone ‘out in front’ which may have no immediate impact on routine responsibilities. Our mission includes developing publications and presentations to share leading thoughts and solutions with the field, and helping develop ‘new leadership’ for AAMI.”
Over the years, attendance has grown to more than 50, and today includes software vendors, members who are now employed by independent service organizations, and manufacturers in the area of service management, as well as those who work at in-house programs. Although Furst recently retired, his vision for the meeting is carried forth by those dedicated participants who gather each year the Friday before the AAMI conference begins.