Today on TownHall Sue Schade, Principal at StarBridge Advisors interviews Pamela Arora, President and CEO of AAMI. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation is a diverse community of more than 10,000 professionals united by one important mission - the development, management and use of safe and effective health technology. What are some of the challenges between IT and health technology management? How has the IT and HTM relationship evolved over the past 10 years? What is AAMI’s vision for the future?
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Today on This Week Health.
As you think of AI, machine learning, cloud computing, it's a huge opportunity for us. We can get into more predictive care informed diagnosis. However, with great opportunity also comes threats and cyber security vulnerabilities are abounding in that area. Not every hospital has resources and there's work that AAMI can do to help progress cyber across that community.
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Hello, I'm Sue Schade. Principal at Starbridge Advisors, a health IT advisory firm. And I am delighted to have Pamela Aurora with me today. She is the new president and CEO of AAMI. We've worked together for a long time and CIO calling capacity. And today we're going to be talking about AAMI and her vision for the future and some of the challenges between it and health technology management. So welcome, Pamela.
Thank you. It's such an honor to be here with you, so it's always a pleasure.
Great. Well, I'm looking forward to our conversation. Let's start with your description of Amy for our audience. And I often clarify for it folks that it's not AMIA, but Amy. So you're the new president. Go ahead and tell us about.
Absolutely. Amy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development management and use of safe and effective health technology. We have over 10,000 members and it's vast, as far as the spectrum quality system professionals, regulatory sterilization assurance profession. Biomed engineers and technicians.
And then do you use there such as clinician, but we need more and more it people to get it integrated into these conversations because there's a lot of change taking place. Amy's community developed industry-wide consensus standards on critical issues, such as quality systems, risk management, sterilization, and much more, but every standard requires input from manufacturers, regulators, health providers, servicing professionals. We need more it people at the table and we need more healthcare providers at the table with clinicians. I'm excited about focusing my attention on getting more folks from the healthcare side, involved in these standards. And we need folks from health systems thinking about who should I be taking from my technology team participate. These are incredibly important discussions. You need to be at the table to help move industry.
Great. Great. Well, and you, and I both know having been on the board together of Amy for the last six years, the importance of everything that you've just said, let's talk about your background a little bit in terms of your journey to where you are today and what it means to be in this new role at Amy coming from a CIO and an it.
Wonderful. The evolution of technology has always been something I've been very interested in and spent a good decade, couple of decades working in multiple industries, including healthcare over the last two decades. So I've been focused in healthcare predominantly as the CIA. First at UMass Memorial and Massachusetts, and for the last 15 years at children's health, predominantly as their CIO and SVP of strategic technology. With children's. I developed an understanding that the medical device and programs are increasingly connected. That's very powerful. As you think of AI machine learning, cloud computing it's a huge opportunity for us we can get into more predictive care informed diagnosis.
However, with great opportunity also comes threats and cyber security vulnerabilities are Abounding in that area. Not every hospital has the resources that we had at children's health and there's work work that AAMI can do to help progress cyber across that community. We try to help best around practices and standards that will guide us.
And while we've been around for over 50 years we plan on helping to guide these important conversations. So for the next 15 years.
That's great. And I'm a little off script in terms of the questions I gave you, but when you talk about helping guide it given all the it organizations that are in the same space, any thoughts on how you're seeing Amy help to guide.
as far as kind of working through convening convening various stakeholders across the broader industry is core to Amy it's. It's what Amy was founded on. But when you think of within hospital system, There was all this interconnectivity between medical devices in the IP environments, and Amy is working to be a bridge.
So when you think of the HTM resources, we've been doing training to update them on more IP practices. Because there's that reach out from the HTM community, the biomed professionals into the it world, and also helping with certifications like the beam at apprentice program that includes curriculum to earn an it fundamental.
Certification that's important for the HTMS to reach to it. And when it comes to cyber cyber security, that's a key component to that. We've been working to bridge and we take it very seriously. But part of an example on Amy's HTM committee recently published a medical device, cyber security guide for HTM.
This is a good example of how experts from across the industry help to bridge that gap. We've also been looking for more experts from all corners. So if you're interested in volunteering for an Amy HTM committee contact our VP of HTM, Daniel McGarry, and that's Dmcgary@AAMI.org. We need you at the table because from that standpoint of how to get all this data flowing securely and safely, we need it and HTM to work together.
And I really challenged the TM professionals. We have an upcoming conference at exchange in San Antonio that we'll talk about more later, but I challenge our HTM professionals. To invite their it counterparts to join them because we need that conversation happening across those systems.
Super, I think you're talking at the macro level in terms of organizations as well as people getting involved from the it world more in Amy and some of the HTM work. I love that you called for volunteers to help Danielle in that area. Let's let's and we'll get more to the conference coming up, but, let's talk more about it at the micro level.
You and I have both served as CIO is in the past. We've had the HTM function reporting into us in some cases and others not. I think there's probably a lot of CEOs who see the value of a closer work and collaboration integration between ITE and HTM. And I think there's some CIO, those who just go, ah I don't want to deal with that though, right?
Yeah. And I don't know if there's a middle ground, but, but if you can talk a little bit about how you see the it and HCM relationship, how it's evolved over the past 10 years and some of the other implications for AAMI beyond what you've already commented on, which certainly cyber security and device integration are or key.
Especially too. When you think of the hospital at home or home health, there's so much in that realm, but back to the, the it and the CIO and respect to the HTM folks I will Some organizations. Back when I joined children's health, I took on the HTM biomed department. And that was incredibly useful to both the technology team and the HTM team.
And it really helped accelerate a lot of the integration as well as The cyber oversight. I will offer that you don't have to address it structurally in an organization I'd say about now. Last I did a pulse check on it about a year or two ago. It was like 40% of organizations were starting to have it reports With a survey of a subset of the CIOs across the nation, but it's moving in that direction. I will offer regardless of how it's structured though. You really need to meet frequently and this whole aspect of having a United front. I will offer that for those that feel that they have too much on their plate from an it standpoint it will eventually catch up with you.
So from that standpoint, we really can't wait to be able to build those bridges. The other thing that people don't always think of is sometimes our clinicians. So I'll take the area of radiology. There's some areas where you have islands of expertise, clinical expertise in organizations where they're setting all the strategy.
They're talking with the vendor parties, and it's not just. Technology and the HTM biomed folks, it's also getting the clinicians to the table and finding those islands because frankly, if you have scenes that aren't being attended to, it's a cyber risk, and then it's going to divert your attention from all those important strategic initiatives.
So I emphasize if you think your plate's too big, as far as things to do, it will get overflowing. If you don't give attention to these areas,
Well said in my experience particular, an academic medical center, there are many leading clinicians who are owning and making decisions in the technology space.
And while the CIO has a relationship with them or tries to have a relationship with them to partner and influence those decisions and integrate them to best they can, the leaders in the HTML. Also have an important relationship to play there. So I appreciate your comments on that as well as the point that it doesn't have to be structural integration, that it's really the collaboration and the partnership.
However you can make that work. Le let's go on and talk a little bit about your so let's see. Before we started recording, you said that you've been on a new job for a month now, right before. Yeah. So you're not drinking from the fire hose, as you may have to, if you were brand new because of your involvement with Amy historically, but talk about your vision and goals for Amy for over the next year.
Absolutely. One Amy needs to continue to capitalize on its strength as a. Neutral convener and educator. And in doing so more attention needs to be given to AI machine learning, cyber security issues. And those are gonna continue for the foreseeable future. The Amy AI standards development committee just released a new consensus report on AI risk management.
That's the first step we're talking. That's just a very small initial stuff. Important one. But this is going to be a very prolonged effort, so I encourage folks to get involved. But the other thing that I'm doing is the first three months I am going on a listening tour. So I've been meeting with certainly the Amy staff while we both were on.
Have been on the board SU it's a little bit different when you're just focused on strategy as a board member versus the operational issues that allow Amy to realize its mission. And with that listening to. I've also been talking to key stakeholders. So I I'd offer to you that I'd love to see your thoughts around Amy and what we need to be doing.
Because while I have a perspective, based on my board engagement, I am finding there's nuance to whether something is successful or not. And also in some cases there's just basic operations. Things that could let's say take a strategy's lunch. So we got to be in a position to address those. I'll also be taking time this June at the Amy exchange in San Antonio to get to know our greater community.
I'd love for folks to stop by and say hello. And I'd love to hear their thoughts as well, because it is shaping the direction we're about to refresh our strategy over the next year. And I believe there's some more. Still need to do with the current plans, but I'd like to extend those and really refine them for the next two to three years.
Great. Great. If you had a message to CIOs who have not had any connection to AAMI or have not really taken that step around a closer relationship and partnership with their HTM group, their biomed and clinical engineering group, what would that message be?
Don't underestimate the power of that area. You need to influence it and you really need to be an excellent partner to those HTM folks, because in some cases they haven't always had a place at the table relative to how to integrate all of. this And some cases there might need to be new skillsets, like interjected on both the technology side, as well as the HTM side, but that investment will be so worthwhile.
So please, please, please give it your attention. And if you have questions about AAMI you can certainly reach out to me directly. My email address is parora. P A R O R A@ AAMI org. So please reach out. We hope to hear from you, but most importantly, within your own walls, make sure you're attending to those really, really important needs. That's where it touches the.
Right. That's right. Thank you for sharing your contact information. I that's. One of the closing questions I was going to ask is if people want to learn more about Amy, if they want to learn more about membership at Amy or how to contact you how else can they do that? You you've been generous in giving your your, your email contact, but how else can they do that to either learn more, get involved, find out about the incredible resources that Amy has available to.
They can certainly go out to our website, which has a wealth of information as well as contacts to reach out to. They can also go to our Aimee exchange and Going all out to make this first in-person exchange in the last three years, a great experience for attendees. We know there's going to be this heartwarming feeling, almost like a family reunion. We've all been missing that in-person factor. And I'm looking forward to networking, learning from everybody and seeing all that great tech on our expo floor.
There's going to be a great deal of. Seeing all friends face-to-face after such a long time, I expect a lot of smiles. The laughter that will be very, very nice and very, very welcomed. We'll also be hosting the first ever Aimee party on a private grotto on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. And our appreciation reception will take place at the hard rock cafe, overlooking the river, walk, San Antonio, lot of fun. We're going to really celebrate being together.
Great. I'm looking forward to it. I did not attend chime or hymns. And of course there hasn't been an Aimee exchange for the last few years, so I haven't been in person with everyone either. So that'll be great. And the dates in San Antonio.
So it's June four through to six.
Great, great. Okay. So anything else that we haven't covered, Pamela, that you would want to share at this point?
I think we covered a lot of ground. I also we'll get a chance to chat with you SU relative to your ideas for Amy. But I do want folks to know that when they give us feedback, we're listening and we really are striving to raise the bar because frankly, the industry is at a place where there's huge opportunity. COVID has really been a challenge for folks over the last couple weeks. But I'd say it's been an amazing opportunity. Virtual is becoming much more prevalent. And, but that also means that we need to look at the cyber pieces so that all components of that continuity of care are are addressed relative to safety. So please get involved and I look forward to talking to you.
Right, right. Well, Pamela, thank you so much. And I look forward to seeing you and any colleagues in San Antonio in about a month? So thank you so much. Thank you.
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