A Medical Device Daily

A recent survey indicates that med-tech and IT professionals are hungry for information on emerging technologies and guidance concerning the integration of IT systems in the healthcare environment.

The survey, conducted online, was done by the CE-IT Community, a new coalition of three national organizations, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI; Arlington, Virginia), the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE; Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania), and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS; Chicago).

The survey of about 470 respondents was developed to identify the primary needs facing the members of the three sponsoring organizations, so that the CE-IT Community could then address these needs through specific projects in the months ahead.

The survey indicates that the overwhelming majority of the respondents want the CE-IT Community to develop and share best practices, and to be kept informed about new standards and regulations and new technologies.

In addition, a majority of the respondents said that it would be helpful if the CE-IT Community helped ensure that new technology weaves into current technology without precluding connectivity in the future.

The respondents also expressed support for sharing business plans, goals and mission statements between IT and clinical engineering groups, and a desire to gather diverse stakeholders to discuss IT issues of mutual interest.

Respondents asked for more guidance on:

Integration of systems/devices in a multi-vendor environment.

Development of an IT infrastructure to support medical technology.

Recommendations and guidance on implementing new technologies, including wireless systems.

Guidance on FDA regulations.

The respondents to the survey also said they wanted more guidance on developing a collaborative relationship between IT and clinical engineering; and up-to-date information on IT standards, IT issues related to facility upgrades and the environment, and IT security issues.

Scoring the lowest with respondents were guidance on picture archiving and communications systems, deploying intranet technology, and upgrades of network infrastructure.

The survey results and the proposed projects that will be undertaken will be explored during an online CE-IT Town Hall meeting, which will be held July 15 at 2 p.m. EDT.

The survey, which was e-mailed to AAMI, ACCE, and HIMSS members in April, generated responses from biomedical equipment technicians, clinical engineers, chief information officers, programmers, systems analysts, consultants, professors, physicians, and nurses.

More than 65% of the respondents work in hospitals, while 12% are employed at device manufacturers, 8% at academic institutions, 6% at consulting firms, and 9% at other employers.

"From these survey results and the additional feedback I have been receiving from our members, it is clear the CE-IT initiatives contemplated by our coalition are drawing an unprecedented level of interest in our common community," said Stephen Grimes, ACCE president.

The three organizations in the CE-IT Community represent thousands of biomedical equipment technicians, clinical engineers, IT professionals, clinicians, and other medical technology professionals.

The organizations also have established a web site — www.ceitcollaboration.org — describing the new CE-IT Community, along with news coverage about the collaboration, background information about the three sponsoring organizations, and details about how individuals can become involved.