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AAMI 2013: How biomeds can reach the C-suite

by Nancy Ryerson, Staff Writer | June 03, 2013
As biomed and IT departments continue to converge, there's more and more reason for tech teams to be in touch with top hospital leaders like CIOs. At an AAMI 2013 breakfast symposium, Kenneth Maddock, VP of facility support services at Baylor Health Care System, shared his top tips on getting the folks up top to listen to what clinical engineers have to say.

Hospital executives, do you agree with this advice? Would you add any tips?

Establish credibility.

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Maddock said biomeds should try to be seen not just as the people who fix equipment, but as health care professionals. That means dressing the part, as well as treating all other hospital employees with respect.

"Don't make fun of nurses for not knowing something about equipment that wasn't designed with them in mind," said Maddock. He said he sees a lot of that kind of disrespect on biomed forums.

Understand the business.
Since it's every biomed's job to fix equipment, Maddock pointed out that just doing that effectively won't impress the C-suite and get their attention. He recommends understanding the business side of keeping equipment in shape so biomeds can share the cost savings they bring to the team.

He also recommends learning about non-technical regulatory issues to understand the C-suite's priorities. When Maddock asked the audience if anyone felt knowledgable about every aspect of health care reform, no hands went up. Being able to speak on topics outside the biomed space helps get executives to listen, he said.

"Hospital executives focus on the big picture," he said.

Know your audience.
When among peers, it's easy to slip into technical jargon and throw around different acronyms in every sentence. Biomeds should be sure to put what they have to say into digestible nomenclature and in a structure executives will best respond to — like in terms of finances.

"One way to grab their attention is to say 'I'd like to show you how we can save you money,'" said Maddock. He recommended using metrics to measure and demonstrate success.

And while patient safety is high priority, Maddock pointed out it's possible to focus too much on safety and not enough on care. He said biomeds should share how their department helps achieve goals that ultimately keep patients out of the hospital.

"The top priority is helping people get better," said Maddock.

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