Annual conference to offer learning sessions, latest innovations in healthcare technology

By Nina Silberstein

Today’s HTM professionals might look at annual conferences as simply a means to connect with their peers, make new acquaintances, and share their experiences in the field. But in addition to networking opportunities, a good portion of AAMI’s upcoming Conference & Expo will also focus on education. “It’s definitely a professional development experience,” says Sherrie Schulte, senior director of certification and the annual conference.AAMI

This year’s lineup of events runs Friday, June 1, through Monday, June 4, at the Long Beach Convention Center in California. Organizers anticipate as many as 3,000 people in attendance—from biomedical equipment technicians and clinical engineers, to biomedical engineering and HTM faculty/students, clinicians and those who purchase, track, maintain, repair, or manage medical equipment. Healthcare and hospital IT specialists are also expected to attend, as Schulte explains, “because more and more of the technician or HTM field is falling under IT.”

New features will be popping up at the conference this June, including a Global Forum and noncompetitive Fun Run & Walk. “There’s also a big possibility for a few product launches,” Schulte adds.

Sponsored by Sodexo, Friday’s Welcome Reception kicks off the schedule of activities. Attendees will join their peers and business contacts in a comfortable and casual setting to make connections. The New Attendee Meet & Greet follows, where there will be opportunities to mingle with AAMI leaders and key staff, and network with other professionals.

Knowledge-Building Educational Programming

Whether it’s gaining direct experience in executing a new technology or learning useful techniques to maximize efficiency and reduce costs, conference-goers will have the chance to choose from numerous programs and valuable educational sessions designed to help them improve their knowledge.

“Attendees will be able to learn from the presenters through case studies and panel discussions,” Schulte says, adding that these informative sessions will provide lessons learned in health technology management, effective programs for promoting patient safety and reducing risks, and proven management methods. Expanded offerings include emerging trends and practical guidance on many major issues the HTM field faces.

More than 50 educational sessions will run concurrently lasting 45 to 60 minutes each, on topics such as cybersecurity, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence in the healthcare technology field. There will be additional sessions geared toward the C-suite, too. “We’re really trying to expand our market in those areas,” Schulte states.

Look for presentations from companies such as GE Healthcare, ZingBox, Inc., Frost & Sullivan, Pensiamo/UPUC, Veteran Affairs, and more. Moreover, there will be express learning opportunities, lasting 30 minutes in duration, on specialty topics.

For Montana Delk, a full-time student at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI), this year’s event will mark her second time at the AAMI conference. She heard about AAMI through her HETM courses at IUPUI. One of her instructors invited her to come along with another faculty member and a few other students. Delk went the first time because she felt it would be an amazing opportunity for her— a student who had just earned her associate’s degree in HETM—to network and see all the possibilities within the field.

“Healthcare engineering is constantly growing, and new technology arises everyday,” she says. “I attended different lectures [last year] out of pure interest to learn more about devices and software. I met many people within the field, and I got their opinion on things like their jobs, experiences, and any advice they had. I took advantage of every opportunity given to me.”

This June, Delk will be attending through an AAMI scholarship. She is set to complete her bachelor’s degree in HETM this December.

New on the Conference Horizon

“We’re doing a few new things this year, including a Global Forum, where we’re reaching out internationally,” says Schulte. The medicine field has been advancing quickly and there have been global shifts in how and where medical devices are ideated, created, built and then put into use.

According to AAMI’s conference website, Friday afternoon’s Global Forum will address the need for “evidence-based consensus standards, proper education and training, communication about best practices and solutions, and a strong professional community of support to improve care delivery” in local, regional, and global communities.

On Sunday morning, conference attendees will have a unique opportunity to raise money for the AAMI Foundation Scholarship Program, which provides financial support to students, like Delk, who are looking at an education in healthcare technology. Through the first Fun Run & Walk, participants from all fitness levels will walk, stroll, or run from the Long Beach Convention Center to the Rainbow Lighthouse and back (2 miles roundtrip).

An additional fee and pre-registration are required for the Fun Run & Walk. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Information All Under One Roof

In addition to the education sessions and express learnings held in the Expo Hall, nearly 200 exhibitors—including many of the world’s leading medical equipment manufacturers and service providers—will be at AAMI to present the latest innovations, upgrades, and advances in healthcare technology, such as wireless telemetry, monitoring devices, equipment management software, and imaging equipment.

Attendees will also get a personal view of new medical devices, and by visiting the Interactive Systems Booth, experience interoperability in patient safety.

On Saturday, a Next Generation and New Professional Breakfast will start off the day’s program. A happy hour, sponsored by ReMedPar in the Expo Hall, will round out Saturday’s schedule—and an additional happy hour tops off the events on Sunday.

AAMI’s Career Center: Something for Everyone

Job applicants can post their resume for free at the Career Center and schedule one-on-one interviews with potential employers from around the country, as well as review up-to-date job listings and take advantage of important career resources. Advice on career advancement or learning new skills and specialties will be offered. Special events and programs for students and individuals new to the profession will also be presented through a variety of avenues at the conference.

Delk says, in particular, students who attend the conference should dive right in. “Get out there and mingle—you never know whom you will bump into and start talking to,” she explains. “I made a lot of contacts this way. Many opportunities may arise from these small encounters.”

Delk also enjoyed seeing all the new cutting-edge technology that was displayed during the conference. “Every booth showed off something to reel you in, and I was definitely hooked,” she adds. She says it was fun asking questions about all the devices and then walking away with a new piece of knowledge that might later help her out in her new job. Delk recently accepted a job at Universal Hospital Services as a field service technician.

Certification representatives will also be on hand to provide guidance and answer questions regarding the CBET certification process. Up to 15 CEUs for ACI certification can be earned by attending the full conference. Visit www.aami.org/certification for more information.

AAMI Awards Celebration

On Saturday evening, the Hyatt Regency Ballroom—the headquarter hotel of the convention center—will be filled as the healthcare technology community honors its leaders and innovators whose hard work has advanced the industry. During the AAMI Awards Celebration, award and scholarship winners will be honored. The gala event is open to all attendees.

The AAMI Appreciation Reception will be held on Sunday evening in appreciation of AAMI volunteers, advertisers, exhibitors, and other supporters of AAMI’s program. The event is open to all registered attendees.

Attending AAMI’s Conference & Expo this June is a great way to find out about new technologies, products, and services; make new business contacts; get some insight on how to improve patient safety clinical outcomes; learn additional skills, practical techniques, and best practices; gain perspective on industry trends and issues, and even identify a new supplier.

Visit www.aami.org/ac for registration details and more information.

Nina Silberstein is a contributing writer for 24×7 Magazine. For more information, contact chief editor Keri Forsythe-Stephens at kstephens@medqor.com.