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Biomedical Equipment Technology vs. Healthcare Technology Management: A Comparative Analysis

Let me start by saying that this blog reflects my views and opinions alone. Recently, an industry professional with over 40 years of experience commented on one of my videos, stating that he could "never identify himself as an HTM professional; he is simply a Biomedical Equipment Technician." I believe this highlights a common misconception about the term Healthcare Technology Management. It was not intended to replace terms like Biomedical Equipment Technician, Clinical Engineer, or Imaging Engineer. After reading his comments, I felt compelled to share my thoughts, hoping to clear up any confusion and spark positive and constructive conversations about Healthcare Technology Management.

Where did the term Heatlhcare Technology Management gain some mementum?

The term "Healthcare Technology Management" (HTM) was popularized by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). AAMI played a significant role in the adoption and promotion of HTM as a term that encompasses the broader scope of responsibilities involved in managing healthcare technology, beyond just the maintenance of biomedical equipment.

This photo from MDExpo Orlando captures the essence of Healthcare Technology Management, featuring Technicians, Directors, Regional Directors, Recruiters, and Vendors.

Historical Context and Professional Identity

Biomedical Equipment Technology has been a longstanding term in the industry. Its roots go back decades, providing a sense of continuity and familiarity for seasoned professionals. Those who identify as Biomedical Equipment Technician often see their role as focused on the technical maintenance and repair of medical devices, representing their hands-on expertise.

In contrast, Healthcare Technology Management reflects the evolution of the field. As the industry has grown to encompass comprehensive management of healthcare technologies, this term has gained prominence. Healthcare Technology Managers view their roles as broader, involving strategic oversight, integration of various healthcare technologies, and overall management within healthcare facilities.

Certifications, Education, and Industry Perception

Certifications and educational programs often influence terminology preferences. Many programs and certifications still use Biomedical Equipment Technology in their titles, reinforcing its use among graduates and certified professionals. My assoicate degree from 1993 reads "Biomedical Equipment Technology" as my concentration. As newer programs adopt Healthcare Technology Management, this term is gaining traction among the next generation of professionals.

Healthcare Technology Management is often seen as a modern and comprehensive term, appealing to newer professionals and organizations emphasizing integrated healthcare technology roles. Conversely, those focused on the technical and hands-on aspects might find Biomedical Equipment Technology more fitting, as it directly relates to their specific expertise.

Job Market, Roles, and Community Networking

The job market and specific roles within organizations can heavily influence terminology. Many job descriptions still use Biomedical Equipment Technology, aligning with traditional roles and industry standards. Networking and professional growth within this community offer a strong sense of identity and belonging.

Healthcare Technology Management roles are emerging, reflecting the need for broader skill sets and strategic management capabilities. As professional communities form around this terminology, it offers opportunities for those looking to expand their roles beyond technical maintenance.

Regulatory Compliance and Cultural Resistance

Certain regulatory frameworks and compliance standards still reference Biomedical Equipment Technology. Professionals working under these regulations may prefer terminology that aligns with official standards. Natural resistance to change is common, and those who have spent years identifying with BMET might find it challenging to adapt to newer terminology, especially if they feel it alters their professional identity.

As regulations evolve, Healthcare Technology Management is also gaining recognition, reflecting broader compliance and oversight responsibilities. The term represents a shift from traditional roles, embracing the comprehensive management of healthcare technologies.

Clarity for Stakeholders and Legacy Systems

For many professionals, Biomedical Equipment Technology offers clearer communication with stakeholders such as hospital administrators and clinical staff, who are more familiar with this terminology. Organizations with longstanding documentation and protocols referencing BMET may find it simpler to continue using the same terminology.

Updating systems and documentation to Healthcare Technology Management requires significant effort, leading some to stick with traditional terms. However, as HTM gains recognition, it offers a modern and integrated approach to managing healthcare technologies.

Professional Organizations and Job Function Focus

We have industry associations across the country that use terms like Biomedical, Healthcare Technology Management, Clinical Engineering, and Medical Instrumentation. Are any of them wrong? Absolutely not. Membership in professional organizations that historically use Biomedical Equipment Technology influences individuals to maintain this terminology, staying consistent with industry peers and standards. As professional organizations embrace Healthcare Technology Management, terminology preferences may shift accordingly.

Those whose job functions are narrowly focused on equipment maintenance and repair often find Biomedical Equipment Technology more descriptive of their day-to-day activities. Healthcare Technology Management implies a broader scope, which may not align with everyone's daily responsibilities.

In this picture, you can see the icons of various associations, each using different terms for the same field.


Both Biomedical Equipment Technology and Healthcare Technology Management are vital to the healthcare industry, each reflecting different aspects of the profession. While Biomedical Equipment Technology offers a clear, focused identity for those in technical roles, Healthcare Technology Management represents the expanding scope and responsibilities within the industry. Understanding these nuances helps professionals choose the terminology that best fits their roles and aspirations.

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