In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, hospitals and health systems nationwide are feeling the mounting pressure to keep up to date with advancing technologies.
However, a concerning issue looms on the horizon. Hospitals across the country are facing a common problem: a shortage of skilled biomedical technicians to keep pace with their expanding pools of medical equipment. This scarcity of qualified professionals poses a significant challenge to the efficient functioning of healthcare facilities.
The Crucial Role of Biomedical Equipment Technicians (BMETs)
While they may not directly interact with patients, BMETs play an indispensable role in delivering high-quality medical care by ensuring the safety and functionality of biomedical equipment. Their work in repairing and maintaining medical equipment, from infusion pumps, to anesthesia machines, patient monitors, and many more, directly impacts the well-being of patients on a daily basis.
Understanding the Growing Shortage of Qualified BMETs
The aging U.S. population is one factor that impacts the healthcare workforce, including BMETs. According to a 2020 compensation and job satisfaction survey by HTM-industry magazine 24×7, a significant percentage of employed BMETs are nearing retirement age.
In recent years, 25 programs have shut down, leaving 17 states without any accredited programs at all, according to Danielle McGeary, Vice President of Healthcare Technology Management for AAMI
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10% growth in job openings in the field by 2031, but notes that many of these positions will arise from the need to replace retiring workers.
Impacts of the BMET Shortage on Hospitals
As experienced biomedical engineering techs retire, hospitals face skills gaps within their existing workforce. This puts pressure on Level 1 BMETs, who often find themselves overloaded with tasks to acquire advanced repair skills for specialized equipment.
Heavy workloads lead to inefficient use of technician skills, compromised regulatory compliance, and decreased device safety. Moreover, ongoing job stress and burnout among technicians can impact job satisfaction, retention rates, and overall performance. Additionally, overtime wages and inefficient workflows further increase labor expenses.
Solutions for Hospitals Facing the BMET Shortage
Fortunately, proactive approaches can help healthcare facilities navigate the challenges posed by the biomed tech shortage.
One such approach that Try Touch Services is utilizing is the launch of a modern day apprenticeship program. This program is a collaborative partnership with ERD Medical Equipment Services and ZRG Medical. This program, aptly named HTM Academy, aims to provide a unique approach to resolving the current challenges the field has faced in attracting and retaining younger talent.
In a recent interview from Tech Nation, Try Touch Services CEO, Gary Nop and ERD LLC Owner, Kevin Davis touches on further details about the HTM Academy and it’s mission to give back to the community and to help hospitals with BMET staffing solutions.
From the interview: “The vision of our program is to find people who are passionate and driven about healthcare technology management. Our program will train them to be highly skilled biomedical equipment technicians who go on to provide hospitals with a great service. I want to find people who are driven to do meaningful work and to help sick patients in their healing process.
In our modern times, technology is continuing to advance at a rapid pace. Hospitals and healthcare facilities have come to rely heavily on biomedical equipment and other forms of healthcare technology in their healing practices. The advancement of technology has helped to diagnose and treat many illnesses in ways that were not possible before. With new technologies also come new challenges. One such challenge is the on-going need to maintain and repair biomedical equipment that is being used at hospitals.”
Closing words from Gary Nop:
If your hospital is looking to help pave a brighter future for the next generation, and wants to be a leader in tackling the BMET shortage issue, please reach out to me about the HTM Academy program.
Email me at: email@example.com or call me directly at: 661-496-8211
Also check this link from ERD for more information about the program: https://erd-us.com/hospital-partnership/