A 1-hour Webinar to be hosted by Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Friday, 30 August at 11 am New York time (Spanish) and also hosted by PAHO, and co-sponsored by IFMBE CED, on Wednesday, 4 September 2019 at noon New York time (English).
Local and Global CE-IT in the Context of HTA and HTM
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health technology is: “the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of medicines, medical devices, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of life”. In the same context, WHO defines Health Technology Assessment (HTA) as: “the systematic evaluation of properties, effects, and/or impacts of health technology”.
According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), “Health Information Technology (Health IT) refers to the electronic systems health care professionals – and increasingly, patients – use to store, share, and analyze health information”.
If we take Health IT in the context of HTA, then health information systems need to be part of the systematic evaluation performed by leaders of health technology management (HTM). There is a potential conflict with this approach, since traditional health information systems such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) have been the responsibility of Health Information Managers (HIM), whereas medical device HTA has been the responsibility of Clinical Engineers (CE).3
In most clinical institutions these are two independent areas with different skillsets and different reporting entities, however the line that separates both fields is no longer clear: Medical devices have become interconnected, data is constantly flowing through medical device networks and between these networks and EHRs.
If we take Health IT in the context of HTM, then medical devices that are connected to, or through, an organization’s health and information systems, such as the networks, storage, electronic health/record systems, and patient diagnostic and therapeutic decision support systems, form a complex medical device/system. System design, installation, maintenance, update, security, and reliability must now be woven together into a management and CMMS framework that assures patient safety, efficient and effective clinical care, and preservation of security, including confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
This is no longer a “first world” issue. Very few settings are not witnessing adoption and integration of information technologies into clinical care at the home, clinic, practice, or hospital. Therefore, clinical engineers can no longer ignore the information technology related activities.
In 2001, we started discussing “CE-IT Convergence.” New, low-cost technologies have empowered the convergence! We now need a new kind of CE professional category, the “Health Systems Engineer,” who is someone who not only understands the value and importance of a calibrated, well maintained, fully functional medical device, but who is also aware of network connectivity, cybersecurity, interoperability and all the IT configurations required to operate a safe, effective, reliable, affordable, and secure interconnected fabric of health technologies. New HTA and HTM methodologies must be developed and shared in order to assure appropriate adoption and management of these tools.
This seminar is a first approach to the concepts and opportunities for a CE to begin to fully engage in the field of CE Information Technology Management, and the broader field of Health Systems Engineering!
To register for these webinars, please click here.
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