Pamela Arora

What's on the docket for AAMI eXchange 2023?

May 12, 2023
by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief
With the annual AAMI eXchange right around the corner, HealthCare Business News sat down with two of the organizations leaders to find out what to expect at the meeting, and what's happening with HTM more broadly.

Pamela Arora, the president & CEO of AAMI, previously served on the AAMI Board of Directors for five years and as C-suite level leadership for healthcare systems for 20. Danielle McGeary, PMP, CHTM, vice president of HTM at AAMI, is a former biomedical and clinical engineer who has served in her current role since 2018.

HCB News: Can you share some of the key initiatives AAMI will be focusing on over the next year?
Pamela Arora: We recently renewed our focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning in medical devices. It’s no secret that AI is going to change the healthcare space but it’s hard to predict what that might look like. The best action you can take is to get informed. To that end, AAMI is publishing a new series of in-depth reports, Medical Device Safety in Focus, and the first of that series is focused exclusively on preparing our community to make important decisions about trusting AI outputs in the workplace. What I find most exciting about that project is that we have contributors from all over the world—key leadership from AMA, ECRI, and the BSI, for example—working alongside hospital staff or engineers who are providing a more boots-on-the-ground perspective.

We’re also publishing a new Technical Information Report that will help guide the risk-management of AI-driven devices. That document’s predecessor, a special consensus report on the same subject, was recognized by the U.S. FDA just last year, so sharing more in-depth guidance was the logical next step. Our colleagues with the British Standards Institute will be co-publishing this document as a British Standard, which is an important first step towards reaching a global consensus about this disruptive and promising technology.

We also continue to leverage proven technologies to better serve our members and stakeholders. For example, we’ve announced a partnership with Ambifi to provide hands-free, support for complex procedures. This platform uses ambient intelligence (not exactly AI) on your mobile device for helpful real-time guidance. AAMI is working directly with medical device manufacturers, healthcare delivery organizations, and independent service organizations and educators to develop custom solutions for utilizing this exciting platform. It’s something to look forward to!

Danielle McGeary: Our BMET Apprenticeship program was recently acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Labor as a permanent national program. All the paperwork is signed, we have more than a dozen employer partners, and we’ve already graduated our first BMET. We’ve also heard from more than 800 individuals interested in becoming BMET apprentices, but there are still not enough participating workplaces to train them all.

That’s why we need help from the community to spread the word: By participating in this apprenticeship program, your organization will have access to AAMI’s approved and DoL-recognized training guidelines, as well as free and discounted resources to ensure your apprentices are trained to a national standard of excellence. We’ve found that many employers are able to easily enhance their existing in-house training program to meet the requirements of the program. It is bonus value for any organization already looking to train up new technicians, especially as the healthcare technology management field continues to suffer a generational skill gap and unfilled positions across the United States. This approach allows new BMETs to be trained consistently and to a minimum competency level.

Danielle McGeary
HCB News: We're used to hearing that there is an unmet need for BMETS. Has that situation changed at all over the last year?
DM: This problem is driven by two factors that are not changing any time soon, the rapid evolution of healthcare technology and a wave of retirements among BMETs in senior positions. Post-pandemic burnout also hasn’t helped with that second problem. Our 2021 survey of the healthcare technology field showed us that nearly half the current healthcare technology management workforce is approaching retirement.

Across the U.S., we’re seeing job openings for BMETs not getting filled for months at a time even while colleges are being forced to drop their BMET programs due to budgetary constraints. Last year, our Technology Management Council even determined that 19 U.S. states don’t have a single HTM academic program. The AAMI BMET Apprenticeship program can help close the skill gap, but this is a problem the community—educators and employers alike—need to come together to solve. One of the biggest gaps is that the average person does not know our field exists and today’s youth will not choose to go into a career they have never heard of. It is everyone’s responsibility to get out there and promote the field and AAMI’s has many free resources to make this easy to do. You can check them all out at

HCB News: This year's eXchange will take place in Long Beach, CA. Why was that location chosen? Will there be a virtual component?
PA: AAMI members hail from every part of the country, and eXchange is moved around each year so that our attendees, many of whom might not have the opportunity to travel across the country to attend a conference, can participate easily. We’re expecting even more attendees than we had last year, and Long Beach is ready for them!

Like last year, AAMI thought leaders will be live streaming from the expo hall floor and highlighting some of our favorite discussions for our social media followers, but it’s best to be there in person to enjoy this kind of reunion. We’re pulling out all the stops to make it worth the trip.

For the second time ever, AAMI will be hosting a conference-wide party on Saturday evening, June 17. This is a can't-miss event! Everyone will be at The Cove outside the Long Beach Convention Center for an unforgettable evening of food, drink, and games. And speaking of games, we’re also hosting our first golf tournament at Skylinks at Long Beach Golf Course on Friday, just before the conference start up. I’m told spots are filling up fast, so be sure to register for the tournament when you register for eXchange!

HCB News: Right to repair is an issue of particular interest to our readers. What's been happening on that front recently?
DM: AAMI is the neutral convener for conversation and collaboration. We want to see both manufacturers and technicians at our table working to define best practices and standardize the field. And as a result, we’ve seen some really exciting ideas:

• Standardizing the language for Instructions for Use
• Identifying which hospital devices might fall into a ‘grey area’ for maintenance responsibility.
• Augmented and virtual reality training solutions in collaboration with manufacturers.

These ideas and more may influence how the Right to Repair discussion evolves, but it remains AAMI’s priority to provide opportunities for collaboration in the interest of patient safety. AAMI also serves of the neutral convener for the Medical Device Servicing Committee which hopes to be recognized as a formal “Collaborative Community” under the FDA in the next year or so.

HCB News: For those who are unfamiliar, what type of medical equipment stakeholders should consider membership in AAMI?
PA: AAMI encourages any organization consuming or developing healthcare products to join. In the healthcare industry, AAMI is the bridge between HDO leadership, HTM departments, service providers, and medical device manufactures. AAMI’s community advances industry-wide consensus standards on critical issues. The scope of these issue touches upon sterilization, packaging, electrical safety, cybersecurity, home healthcare, and—perhaps now more than ever—the management of AI in medical devices.

We need folks from the health systems thinking about “who should I be taking from my technology team to participate in these important discussions?”

HCB News: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?
DM: We have often gotten feedback that the AAMI eXchange programming is more geared for HTM managers and clinical engineers and less for boots-on-the-ground technicians. Well, we heard you and want to ensure the eXchange has something for EVERYONE in the field regardless of job title or experience in the industry. To that end, for the first time, we’re offering technical training specifically geared towards BMETs, students, and anyone in your organizations who does technical work. And while the technical training will occur concurrently in Long Beach with the eXchange conference, trainees do not need full conference registration to take any of these courses. These training options are designed to give health delivery organizations the option to send staff for a few hours at a time, so more people can take part. The goal is to provide more flexibility in terms of staff distribution, and registration for any of the technical classes on Saturday and Sunday also comes with a complimentary expo pass to explore the vendor floor. We want to see new faces learning what the conference is all about!

AAMI is inviting attendees to submit questions for Herman McKenzie, director, Department of Engineering in the Standards Interpretation Group at The Joint Commission, to answer live on stage during his eXchange keynote presentation. Anyone can submit questions here.