HTM Professionals Step into the ‘Shark Tank’

Posted June 9, 2019

Shark Tank
Gregg Agoston pitches his ideas during the AAMI Exchange HTM Shark Tank.

Sometimes, to make an innovative idea work, you have to step into hot—or shark-filled—water.

Four contestants at the AAMI Exchange did just that during the interactive "HTM Shark Tank" session on Sunday, which is modeled after the popular ABC show. This year’s competition ended in a tie between two ideas that would help improve the education of healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals.

For the event, the contestants pitched an innovative idea to solve an HTM problem to a three-judge panel of HTM leaders (“sharks”). The “sharks” were AAMI Board Member Dave Francoeur, Jennifer DeFrancesco of UCHealth, and Larry Hertzler, senior vice president at TRIMEDX.

Co-champion Maggie Berkey, senior BMET at CommonSpirit Health, pitched a database that would help entry-level BMETs gain the skills they need through apprenticeship programs. Master Sgt. Wesley Reid and Christian Bond, who tied Berkey and were also crowned co-champions, pitched the use of a virtual reality immersive HTM experience intended to draw more interest in the HTM field for high school students and mid-career changers.

“When you bring technology to your booth, you get more interest,” said Reid, Army service lead for the BMET Training Program at the Department of Defense Medical Education & Training Campus.

“Sometimes you have to see it—the day in the life of an HTM. Show how we make a difference in the lives of patients,” Reid said.

For first-time shark Jennifer DeFrancesco, the competition highlighted the passion of HTM professionals to improve the reach of the field and solve longstanding conundrums through innovation.

“It’s exciting that AAMI is creating a platform for entrepreneurship and really innovative ideas,” said DeFrancesco, regional director of health technology at UCHealth and Crothall Healthcare. “I hear over and over how biomeds are often dealing with the same problems. “It’s really good to see the tide turn.”

Each winner will receive $250 towards their projects, as well as support from the sharks to help make their HTM dreams a reality.