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Medical Imaging Essentials: Training Opportunities for Biomedical Engineers

Sep 20, 2019 | Articles, Siemens

Healthcare technology management is dealing with a talent shortage. According to the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), in coming years there will be a need for thousands of “professionally trained and experienced service personnel,” but those people will be hard to find.

Chief among the in-demand positions are medical imaging engineers and biomedical equipment/engineering technicians (BMETs). These employees are critical to healthcare operations, working behind the scenes on everything from servicing and maintaining expensive imaging systems to managing all sorts of medical equipment while ensuring the safety of patients and staff.

As Beth Orenstein wrote on the subject of staffing issues in Radiology Today, “everyone has to work smarter and harder” to meet the demand, improve operational efficiencies, and make up for the shortage of these highly skilled workers.

Of course, an effective way of working smarter is getting smarter.

The Prospect of Investing in Training

The idea of cross training people with different roles in HTM presents a unique opportunity to make in-house teams more agile. Whether it’s training that happens between employees or a continuing education opportunity, investing in the expansion of knowledge will pay off.

A study from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) found companies that regularly take advantage of formalized employee training programs earn a 24 percent higher profit margin than organizations that spend less on training.

Another study cited by OpenSesame.com found 98 percent of healthcare employers believe ongoing education has a positive impact on job performance, and it is closely related to opportunities for increased compensation. Cross-departmental training can also improve employee retention and engagement while increasing flexibility and encouraging better problem solving thanks to different perspectives.

In the healthcare sector, there has traditionally been a line drawn between the work of BMETs and imaging engineers. We wrote about the possibility of biomedical engineers servicing imaging equipment in a previous article, including why some managers may be reluctant to pursue this type of cross training – or simply never considered it.

There are some good reasons for separating the responsibilities of BMETs and imaging engineers. Medical imaging is a unique practice, which requires in-depth training that’s not offered in most biomedical engineering programs. In fact, medical imaging engineers often come from the military, where they gain experience in their field on the job before switching to careers in healthcare.

As noted in our exclusive e-book, What to Do When Your Siemens Contract Ends, BMETs typically get a few weeks of medical imaging training during the time they pursue their degrees. Yet, these professionals still represent an untapped resource of talent for HTMs. Administrators can offer BMETs the chance to further their careers while simultaneously investing in ways to address the talent shortage and improve efficiency.

Where to Start with BMET Medical Imaging Training

DirectMed Imaging offers an assortment of medical imaging training opportunities, including weeklong, hands-on experiences at our state-of-the-art facility where engineers learn from instructors and work with their peers on different modalities and Siemens models. Before BMETs get to this level, however, it’s often necessary to provide some foundational education.

That’s why DirectMed Imaging also provides online medical imaging training courses. Think of these as prerequisites to the more in-depth material.

If a BMET is interested in pursuing a career as a medical imaging engineer, or simply wants to expand his or her knowledge base, these online classes are an excellent place to start. In 2019, DirectMed Imaging is offering online training classes including Intro to X-Ray, Intro to CT, and online training on the Siemens syngo imaging software.

Students who attend these online training programs can work at their own pace from the comfort of home or their place of employment. But, they still have the advantage of support from an instructor and student-to-student collaboration. After completing these introductory courses, BMETs can continue to grow in the field of medical imaging by focusing on specific modalities and models that would be most beneficial to the healthcare organization they serve.

Once properly trained, BMETs can prove to be a valuable asset in healthcare organizations that are stretched to fill talent gaps. For example, rather than paying for a third-party or OEM engineer to come to your facility, you could have BMETs carry out regularly scheduled tasks such as preventive maintenance.

DirectMed Imaging regularly trains even the most experienced imaging engineers on how to maintain, service, and repair Siemens medical imaging systems. Hear from a veteran engineer in our case study on training to find out more about the experience.

In addition to online and in-person training, DirectMed Imaging is happy to provide 24-hour free technical support. We have Siemens medical imaging experts standing by to help you troubleshoot problems at all times and at no cost to your organization. Once you determine what’s wrong, our extremely low DOA rate is proof that you can rely on us for Siemens medical imaging replacement parts, too.

Contact us today to get a parts quote or to find out more about how DirectMed Imaging can help make your healthcare technology team stronger and smarter.

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