The first thing to know about this impressive book, Healthcare Technology Management: A Systematic Approach, is that it's about healthcare technology management (HTM) in the United Kingdom, not the United States. The government-run health system in the United Kingdom is very different from the U.S. mix of healthcare facilities (private and public) and payers (for-profit and not-for-profit private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, Indian Health Service, and more).
The book includes many references to global standards, such as those from the International Electrotechnical Commission and the World Health Organization, and only a few to U.S.-specific standards, from organizations like The Joint Commission and the National Fire Protection Association. However, numerous citations of materials from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, American College of Clinical Engineering, and ECRI Institute are included.
Given the differences among the authors' perspective and those of U.S.-based HTM professionals, can we learn anything from the book? Yes. We face many of the same questions: How do we design an effective program for medical equipment management across the entire equipment life cycle? How do we support safe and effective patient care? How do we measure HTM performance?
As we know only too well, coming up with good answers to these questions is not easy. The authors, all of whom are clinical engineers with extensive HTM experience, present solid answers and put them within a well-thought-out framework. However, the strength of the book is not as a source of received wisdom for direct application in the United States. Instead, the book's value is that it gives us a different perspective—new ways of thinking about old problems.
For example, in the United States, we base much of our HTM program design on regulations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the various accrediting bodies. Tackling this challenge from a different perspective, the book bases its approach to HTM on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 55000 asset management suite of standards. This defines asset management as an organization's coordinated activity that aims to realize value from assets.
Is the ISO 55000 standard the way to go in the United States? Probably not, at least for now. Can we learn from the expert consensus the standard represents? Absolutely. The book does a good job of mapping the generic standard onto HTM practice.
I liked this book a lot and plan to dig more deeply into some of the material for use in my consulting practice. The text is clearly written and is informed by the wide-ranging experience of the authors. Numerous tables and figures to illustrate the text are included. The references are not especially extensive but are pertinent. The fundamental chapters all include case studies.
The review copy of the book was electronic rather than printed, so I cannot comment on the hardbound version. I found the electronic version a bit awkward to navigate, though I admit to not being a highly experienced e-book navigator. On my iPad Mini, the figures were a bit fuzzy and they did not scale well. Electronic books are the way of the future, but there's room for improvement.
About the Reviewer
Matthew F. Baretich, PE, PhD, is president of Baretich Engineering, Inc., based in Fort Collins, CO. He is the author of the AAMI Electrical Safety Manual; a subject matter expert for AAMI's web-based tool Benchmarking Solutions—Healthcare Technology Management; and a member of the BI&T Editorial Board.