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A Resounding Success: NZIHE Conference 2023

Michael Brown; President, New Zealand Institute of Healthcare Engineering

The New Zealand Institute of Healthcare Engineering annual conference, held recently in Auckland, is an annual gathering of BioMed's and Facilities staff from across New Zealand. This year, it attracted over 140 delegates and over 30 exhibitors, from both New Zealand and Australia.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Sustainable Futures’, with a desire to explore ‘How can we as Healthcare Engineers be leaders in creating sustainable healthcare, with a positive social and environmental impact?’ This provided a platform for discussion and talks around how attendees can make the world a better place.

During the plenary addresses, NZIHE conference attendees were invited to imagine what the future could look like with:

  • Reduced waste and environmental impact

  • Circular design regenerative building

  • Integrated Digital Healthcare

  • Healthier Communities

Delegates were challenged to ask what they could do in their role.

Many conference sessions were delivered concurrently. This enabled Facilities and Biomedical Engineering staff the opportunity to hear talks on their own disciplines.

On the first day, Facilities Engineers went on a field trip to the Auckland City Hospital Central Plant and Tunnels Project. The project comprises of the construction of new buildings, a 250-metre services tunnel and associated infrastructure.

While Facilities members were visiting the construction site, BioMed’s listened to sessions on Linear Accelerators, sustainability and disposal of medical devices, and a presentation on compliance from Meenal Sharma and Anthony Mikhail of Sydney's Local Health District.

The day concluded with the Trade Evening. With over 30 exhibitors the Trade Evening is open to anyone with an interest in healthcare. It was a very successful and well attended evening.

Day two consisted of further concurrent sessions, before returning to a plenary session before lunch. For BioMed's, topics included clinical asset management, sustainable product design and breathing devices. For the Facilities stream, topics included green-star building, re-lifeing and re-purposing buildings, and standby power.

The afternoon included further presentations on sustainability within Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand and an address from Jeremy Holman, head of Te Whatu Ora’s Infrastructure and Investment Group.

The conference concluded with a Conference Dinner. This was a great evening of music, entertainment, food and catching up with colleagues.

The following day, a training session was held for the BioMed's who attended the conference. Dr Dani Forster of The Medical Room led a session of over 30 people on the theory and testing of defibrillation units. Dani’s training was well received, and much was learnt.

The highlight of any conference is the opportunity to mix with others employed in similar fields. With many opportunities for networking and building connections, the conference created a collaborative atmosphere, encouraging the exchange of ideas.

Next year’s conference will be in Wellington in November 2024.

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