AAMI News November 2017

New Resource Takes Mystery Out of Developing an AEM Program


AEM Program Guide
Alternative PM for Patient Safety

AEM Program Guide

View online

To order, call 1-877-249-8226.

In the healthcare technology management (HTM) field there is a lot of confusion surrounding three little letters—AEM—starting with what the abbreviation even stands for, according to Matt Baretich, president of Baretich Engineering based in Fort Collins, CO.

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] (the originator of the AEM concept) says that AEM is an abbreviation for ‘alternate equipment management,’” Baretich wrote in the introduction to his new AEM Program Guide. On the other hand, “The Joint Commission [TJC] … says it stands for ‘alternative equipment maintenance.’ … And that’s just the beginning.”

In the AEM Program Guide, Baretich, who has been consulting on HTM-related issues for three decades, seeks to address AEM-related terminology, offer ideas for practical implementation, and explain how to remain compliant with applicable standards and regulations.

“Unfortunately, there is not yet a consensus on exactly how to create an AEM program,” Baretich wrote. “Some of the proposed AEM policies I have seen are, in my opinion, simply not compliant with CMS and TJC requirements. That’s why the AEM Program Guide goes into such (excruciating?) detail about those requirements.”

Eventually, there will be a formal AEM standard—one is currently in development—but many HTM departments need guidance now.

“This valuable document is designed to bridge from where we are today (limited resources) to a project that is just beginning and sponsored by AAMI: development of a formal standard focused on AEM,” George Mills, TJC’s former director of engineering, wrote in the foreword to the guide. “This document should begin to assure those curious enough to read it that implementing an AEM program is not only possible, but will result in improved HTM program management.”

Those improvements? Saving time or money, or both, according to Baretich. “Adopting an AEM procedure is not an academic exercise; it’s good business,” Baretich wrote.

 * Listen to Matt Baretich discuss the AEM Program on The AAMI Podcast: Developing an AEM Program.