The following is both an insightful and entertaining client email to Mainspring from Matthew Bruns, Business Systems Analyst for Hartford Healthcare Corporation, in response to asking him for a high-level overview of his expectations for accessing a library database of medical device manufacturers and models.
Like any card-carrying geek, I abhor anything that resembles actual work. So our conversation today is about an especially onerous task that I am stuck with, and the best way to find someone else to do it for me.
If you watch enough hospital dramas on TV, not only do the physicians usually all seem to be experts in multiple specialties, but by the end of each episode, the heroic doctor will most likely find a miraculous cure for the deadly disease afflicting their patient. The hospitals themselves seem to exist as a perfectly self-functioning organism of organization and infrastructure. What the cameras don’t show you is the real-life army of dedicated employees working round-the-clock to keep everything running smoothly. During National Health Care Facilities & Engineering Week, ASHE (American Society for Healthcare Engineering) put a spotlight on these folks — “Health Care’s Behind-The-Scenes Heroes”, as they call them. We couldn’t agree more.
While they may not be the first thing that comes to mind walking into a hospital, the facilities and engineering departments are very much the nuts and bolts of hospital operations. They’re managing plumbing, electrical, heating and ventilation, overall building maintenance; inspecting and servicing biomedical equipment and keeping the machines in the hospital safe and compliant. What they do has a direct impact on everything and everyone in the hospital.
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) had their annual conference and expo this year in Denver, Colorado. Over 2,300 healthcare technology management professionals and students from across the nation and around the world came to the Colorado Convention Center for four days full of learning opportunities, networking, and to see the latest innovations, upgrades, and advances in healthcare technology.
Last year Angela Spillane attended the conference as a graduate student in the University of Connecticut's biomedical engineering department. This year she attended the conference as an employee of Mainspring Healthcare Solutions. We wanted to get her unique perspective on the conference and a few thoughts on the brave new world of clinical engineering.
Healthcare technology management isn't just one area of study, nor is it a single profession. The term includes hospital roles such as biomedical equipment support specialists, clinical engineers, and medical maintenance technicians. That said, we wanted to get two different perspectives on ever-widening field of HTM, and also showcase the diversity in field of engineering. Luckily we have just that with Baby Boomer Al Gresch and Millennial Alyssa Merkle.
Alan Gresch is VP of Client Success at Mainspring Healthcare Solutions. He has over 30 years of technology management experience in multi-hospital health systems, leading both clinical engineering and corporate system logistics teams. Before Mainspring, Gresch was the Corporate Director of Clinical Engineering at Aurora Health Care. Living in Wisconsin, he's the father of six and grandfather of 10, who owns an RV and bleeds green and gold as a season ticket holder with the Green Bay Packers.
Alyssa Merkle interned at Mainspring Healthcare Solutions, graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS in biomedical engineering, and is currently enrolled in UConn's clinical engineering master's program. Merkle has also been inducted into the Biomedical Honors Society (Alpha Eta Mu Beta). Originally from New Jersey, Merkle is a New England Patriots cheerleader, and in that role tipifies the saying, never judge a book by its cover.