The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) is asking the U.S. government to recognize healthcare technology management as a professional field in its official occupational classifications, as well add “clinical engineer” and “clinical systems engineer” to its roster of job titles.
In comments submitted to the U.S. Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for its standard occupational classification (SOC), AAMI says that the names and titles have changed amid “explosive growth of technology used in healthcare.” Federal recognition of the terms, AAMI says, would help to clarify roles and responsibilities.
“There has been confusion and misunderstanding about the current classification for the field of healthcare technology management,” AAMI said in its comments, adding that the field includes a range of professionals, including clinical engineers, biomedical equipment technicians, radiology equipment specialists, and others. The OMB should revise the SOC system to reflect this growth, AAMI urged.
The SOC system is used by federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories. All private, public, and military occupations are classified under the system, which provides information on employment levels, trends, pay and benefits, demographic characteristics, required skills, and other information, according to an OMB notice (PDF) in the May 22 Federal Register. Individuals, businesses, researchers, educators, and policymakers may use the data to conduct analyses. The 2010 SOC revision is in effect, and the OMB has said it is considering a revision for 2018.
In its comments, AAMI proposed that “Healthcare Technology Management-Engineers” be listed under the category “17-Architecture and Engineering Occupations.” The comments include a description of the nature of work performed by these professionals, including the coordination and acquisition of new healthcare technology, development of preventive maintenance schedules and guidelines, and review of safety alerts and recall notices.
The job titles of clinical engineer and clinical systems engineer do not appear in the current SOC, but AAMI suggest including the titles under the HTM-Engineers occupation. AAMI described the primary employers of these professionals, including healthcare delivery organizations and medical device companies, as well as the rigorous education required to obtain these positions.
In addition, AAMI called on the OMB to change the name of the occupation “Medical Equipment Repairers” to “Healthcare Technology Management-Technicians.” This occupation would be reclassified under “17-Architecture and Engineering Occupations," moving it from “49-Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations.”
The comments also included a chart detailing AAMI’s specific proposed changes. To view AAMI’s comments, click here.