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Q&A with Robert Jensen, President and CEO of AAMI

par Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | May 08, 2018
Robert Jensen
From the May 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

One year down.

With a full year as president under his belt, Robert Jensen is no longer the new guy presiding over the AAMI. In addition to discussing the last twelve months and what the future holds, he also spoke candidly with HealthCare Business News about a wide range of current events impacting the AAMI community.

HCB News: Last year when we spoke, you were roughly 100 days into your role as CEO. With more than a full year under your belt, how’s it going?

Robert Jensen: It’s been great. I love my team; I love the work we do. It’s wonderful to have a mission focus in your work life and, therefore, be part of a deeper purpose. I really consider it a vocation. To work around people who want to contribute in a larger sense to health care – it’s been a pleasure and privilege to do that. It’s not just working with the paid employees, but the 2,000 plus volunteers who contribute to standards, educational materials, and the health care technology community.

HCB News: What was the biggest surprise during your first year?

RJ: I think the biggest surprise was the really close working relationships and dedication of staff and volunteers as they plan and execute plans and initiatives to benefit the larger community. There are only 42 staff members, with myself included. With a couple of thousand volunteers, it’s a good-sized challenge. But the volunteers are extremely dedicated and knowledgeable and provide an enormous amount of lift for the organization’s mission.

HCB News: Last year, you mentioned a survey asking members what they wanted from their association. Younger members wanted to increase management and leadership skills while longtime members wanted to give back to their industry. What would you say is the mix of younger and older members?

RJ: It depends on which of the particular cohorts we’re looking at. If we take the age of 40 as a midpoint between earlier and later career, in our standards world, about 80 percent of the members would be over that midpoint. We’re actively working with our standards community to encourage them to bring people in as the more tenured members of the committees and working groups begin to retire. In our education programs, it’s close to 60/40, but we want more young members there as well.

We have several programs that encourage younger people – even as young as high school – to get into a health care technology management career and to earn the certifications and qualifications that will allow them to work in this growing field. It’s a field that’s taking off, but there’s already a shortage of workers in several areas of the nation. We want to encourage students early on – in high schools, trade schools and four-year colleges for clinical degrees – that the HTM field is a place you can come to, contribute and grow as you want to.

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