Health Technology Alliance Continues to Forge Connections

October 22, 2020


By Jessica Evans 

Earlier this year, AAMI joined with the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE) and the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) to create the Health Technology Alliance. Since its inception, the HTA has worked to ensure greater collaboration between the healthcare technology management (HTM), clinical engineering, and IT fields.

“We’re seeing a stronger bond between our three entities, and we’re all working toward the common goal of better HTM and IT collaboration in healthcare, which makes it exciting to look toward the future,” said Danielle McGeary, AAMI’s vice president of HTM. “There’s an intrinsic challenge healthcare is facing. As we expand care, support services from HTM and IT professionals will be needed as we continue to look toward the future,” said McGeary.

As the world continues to pivot and shift to increasingly challenging demands relating to COVID-19, McGeary notes that HTM and IT professionals need to have a strong bond now more than ever. 

One of the main goals of the HTA is to look for ways that HTM and IT professionals can ensure positive and safe patient outcomes—especially important in the constantly evolving medical and information technology spaces. If COVID has taught the industry anything, it’s that HTM and IT professionals are capable of quickly redefining what’s possible. 

“With the emerging tech that’s being generated in response to COVID-19, we’re able to provide care in places we never could. As we move toward more telemedicine, everyone needs a seat at the table. That means both HTM and IT professionals need to be in a space where their concerns are heart and addressed,” McGeary added. 

Now more than ever, that means collaborative efforts. As the Internet of Things (IoT) reaches into the healthcare space, IoT-enabled devices set of challenges for HTM and IT. Processes can always be improved, noted McGeary, including human factors.

Tammy Kwiatkoski, the director of clinical informatics at HIMSS, likes to think of the intersection between HTM and IT as a Venn diagram. 

“HIMSS isn’t strategically geared toward same package of education and membership that AAMI is. HTA helps us align strategy and promote cross-education efforts to ensure that all of what we’re trying to educate on is part of the full package of healthcare, health-driven patient safety, and how we can all get better together—all paths that ultimately help balance out that Venn diagram,” Kwiatkowski said. 

That overlap is essential at a time when health technology advancements that were expected to take years are now being rolled out in months. That common goal is seen very clearly with today’s telemedicine-led, patient-at-home scenario and the caregivers, HTM, and IT professionals who are all involved in their care. 

“For the patient at home, the patient has to be the primary component of what’s happening in this industry and now more than ever, a greater owner of their health. They have such a critical role now like never before which increases the privacy and security and adaptability and functionality of what needs to happen when and how,” said Kwiatkoski.

HTA is a single point of contact for this audience who wants to become more knowledgeable together, she added. “It helps us align strategy and cross-educate and ensure that all of what we’re trying to inform on is part of the full package of healthcare, health-driven patient safety and how we get better together.”  

To help answer questions in the community, HTA maintains an online discussion group forum on AAMI Connect, where HTM and IT professionals can ask and discuss the most pressing issues they see in the healthcare environment. Volunteers are needed for speaking engagements as well. Find out more here. 

HTA has hosted several free webinars this year, ranging from medical device cybersecurity resources to using the new version of MDS2. All previous webinars are available for download. 

ON October 28, HTA will host a free webinar, “Hospital at Home – Pitfalls, Problems, and Proceeding with Caution.” This webinar will focus on what remote patient monitoring includes things to consider and what to avoid. It will explore how decisions impact success or failure during remote patient monitoring implementation and how Hospital at Home is different from telehealth efforts. The speakers are Michael Marchant, Director, Health Information Exchange at UC Davis Health, and Perry Kirwan, VP, Technology Management/ENTECH at Banner Health. Registration is free