Bandwidth freeze extended; education for medical equipment engineers; RSTI celebrates 20 years; ACCE elections; new Web site store; BMET of the year.

FCC Announces Last and Final
Extension of Bandwidth Freeze


Routine operation of transmitting equipment as diverse as TV transmitters, mobile radios, walkie-talkies, paging systems, and utility metering transmitters can produce electromagnetic interference with medical devices, which may lead to lapses in patient monitoring and missed alarm events that can affect patient safety.

To combat this problem, in 2000 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dedicated a portion of the radio spectrum for medical telemetry devices, such as wireless heart, blood pressure, and respiratory monitors—creating the Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS). The WMTS is a direct result of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) and the American Society of Healthcare Engineers’ (ASHE) advocacy to the FCC about concerns on how electromagnetic interference with wireless medical telemetry equipment can affect patient safety.

When the FCC created the WMTS band, the agency extended the freeze on issuing licenses to high-power users for 3 years to allow hospitals time to migrate from the 460 MHz to 470 MHz band. Recognizing hospital’s difficulty in transitioning to WMTS because of limited resources and a lack of equipment in the market, ASHE and the AHA worked with the FCC and leaders of the private land mobile radio service community to reach an agreement extending the freeze until December 31, 2005.

To avoid harmful interference, hospitals must migrate their wireless medical telemetry equipment out of the 460–470 MHz band by December 31, 2005, or be licensed under Part 90 of the FCC rules. Additionally, hospitals that plan to continue using 460–470 MHz telemetry equipment must have registered their equipment with ASHE by September 24.


ARAMARK Helps Educate Medical Equipment Engineers
The current personnel shortage in the medical industry includes the biomedical field, and qualified medical imaging equipment technicians are in great demand. To help support this growing need, ARAMARK Healthcare Management Services (AHMS, Philadelphia) has joined forces with ECPI College of Technology in Charlotte, NC, to offer a program for students interested in entering the medical equipment engineering field.

By utilizing its clinical technology services business, AHMS will provide students with instruction and hands-on training using high-end imaging and other medical equipment at its technical resource center. Classroom coursework will take place at ECPI.

ECPI’s ability to offer training on medical imaging equipment was previously limited due to the significant capital required to obtain the equipment necessary to offer hands-on instruction.

“We’re proud to work with ECPI to create new avenues for technical training that will advance this industry,” said Chris Ciatto, president of AHMS. “ECPI can now offer its students practical training, and we have an excellent source for hiring and developing imaging equipment technicians.”

The medical imaging program offers a 19-month associate of science degree or a 15-month diploma program. The program’s first students will graduate in April 2005, and some students may have the opportunity to join AHMS upon graduation.


RSTI Celebrates 20 Years of Service Training
The countdown has begun. In 2005 the Radiological Service Training Institute (RSTI, Solon, Ohio) will celebrate its 20th year in the diagnostic imaging service industry. To honor the company’s achievement, RSTI will host a 20th anniversary symposium celebration February 7–10, 2005 in San Diego. The event will feature educational programs, such as roundtable discussions and vendor exhibits. A special reunion dinner will be held to celebrate independent service organizations and in-house groups that joined the industry between 1985 and 1989.

The educational programs being offered at the event will focus on four technical tracks: hospital-wide digital integration, diagnostic-imaging technologies, human resource development, and personal and business financial planning. Each track will feature guest speakers representing vendors, hospitals, and researchers from across the country. These individuals will speak on such topics as computer networking, PACS integration, DICOM and TCP/IP protocol, fundamentals of x-ray, changes in the imaging industry, hiring and firing, negotiating techniques, and how to manage a personal and business portfolio.

For more information, concerning vendor exhibiting or attending the anniversary symposium, call (800) 229-7789, or visit www.rsti-training.com.


ACCE ELECTS OFFICERS FOR 2004–05
The American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE) has announced its officers for 2004–05 term.

d01b.jpg (25385 bytes) Former President-Elect Izabella Gieras steps into the president’s position and will serve a 1-year term. Gieras is a senior clinical engineer with Beaumont Services Co LLC, Royal Oak, Mich. She has also recently chaired the ACCE Advocacy Committee.
Former ACCE Vice President Steve Grimes has been named the president-elect for a 1-year term. Grimes is a senior consultant and analyst with GENTECH, Saratoga Springs, NY. He also chairs ACCE’s HIPAA Task Force.
Ron Baumann served ACCE for 2 years as the secretary. He will now be the vice president for a 1-year term. Baumann is a corporate director of clinical engineering for ARAMARK Clinical Technology Services in Evanston, Ill.
Joe Skochdopole was named to a 2-year treasurer position. Skochdopole is a director of finance with TriMedx in Indianapolis and has recently served as a member-at-large on the ACCE board. He is also ACCE’s teleconference series coordinator.
Colleen Ward joins the ACCE board as the secretary for a 2-year term. Ward is currently working as a clinical engineer at the University of California, Davis, Health System, Sacramento.
Bill Rice will serve a 2-year term as a member-at-large. Rice is a clinical engineer in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The ACCE board for 2004–05 is proud to continue to have three remaining members-at-large: Ted Cohen, manager of the Clinical Engineering Department at the University of California Davis Health System, Sacramento; Antonio Hernandez, regional advisor on health services engineering and maintenance, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization; and Jim Keller, director of ECRI’s health devices program since 1996. Also remaining on the board as past president is Ray Zambuto, Technology in Medicine, Holliston, Mass.

All officers were elected by an e-mail ballot. They began serving their terms in August.


 Web Site Store Exclusively for Ultrasound Equipment
Sonora Medical Systems (Longmont, Colo) announces the launch of Sonora eStore (http://store.4sonora.com) , its online storefront dedicated to diagnostic ultrasound. The site features products and services to help users lower the cost of ownership, increase the life expectancy, and improve the clinical efficiency of ultrasound equipment. Among the products offered through the site are replacement ultrasound probes, probe covers, ultrasound transesophogeal probe bite guards and related transducer accessories, ultrasound test and quality assurance equipment, high-resolution printers, data-storage devices, associated media, and ultrasound DICOM/PACS solutions.

Sonora e-Store bridges the gap between the clinical users of diagnostic ultrasound and the entities that service the equipment, says Wayne Moore, president and CEO of Sonora. The design of the site provides customers with an efficient purchasing environment, including advanced product search capabilities, direct online order placement, and auto-fulfillment programs for consumable items.


 BMET of the Year Embraces Technology
In June, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) presented its AAMI/GE Medical Systems BMET of the Year Award to Theresa Gorski of Children’s Hospital of Michigan during AAMI’s Annual Conference & Expo in Boston. Gorski was recognized for her efforts in implementing an online work request system—saving her department $250,000 on the servicing of ventilators and other respiratory equipment.

Gorski serves as the liaison between her biomedical department and the contracted information technology business that provides services to her Detroit-based hospital. Last year she took on the responsibility to serve as the primary person responsible for implementing the hospital’s TOOL-Time (Taking Orders On-Line) system—a Web-based program in which work orders are requested via the hospital’s intranet.

Gorski was honored with a plaque and a $1,000 check from AAMI.