AAMI News October 2018

Member News: ONE on ONE with Priyanka Upendra

Priyanka Updendra
PRIYANKA UPENDRA is compliance program director at Banner Health. She provides leadership for an integrated compliance, quality, and risk program for technology management. She’s also a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council, Medical Equipment Management Committee, Awards Committee, and Medical Equipment Management Standards Committee, and an Editorial Board member and contributor to BI&T (Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology), AAMI’s journal.

Q: What was your path into the healthcare technology field?

Almost a decade ago, I was in the final year of studying for my bachelor’s degree in medical electronics and biomedical engineering at B.M.S. College of Engineering in Bangalore, India, and working as a researcher writing algorithms and codes. I was always inclined to pursue a career in healthcare but didn’t know about healthcare technology management (HTM) or clinical engineering. Purna Prasad, then the director of clinical technology and biomedical engineering at Stanford Health Care, gave an amazing presentation about state-of-the-art clinical technologies and the innovations happening at Stanford. I saw this as the perfect place where engineering innovation could be integrated with medicine.

Q: Why is compliance such a challenge in the HTM field?

The main roadblock to enabling a dedicated HTM compliance program is a lack of resources. As an industry, we need tactical teams that will get the work done, backed up by well-supported documentation.

Q: Who is your go-to person when you need advice?

I’ve been fortunate to build a great circle of support. These people have believed in me and opened doors. My mentors from Stanford—Purna Prasad, Glenn Jones, Harvey Fortune, and Jerry Abel—taught me what I know today. My brother is another go-to person who is always there for me.

Q: What’s something you think you’ll never understand?

Trendy new music genres!

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

I have three all-time favorites: The Pursuit of Happyness, Good Will Hunting, and Mona Lisa Smile.

Q: Least favorite?

A Bollywood/Hindi movie called Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage. My favorite actor from childhood played the main role, and I had spent my entire month’s allowance to watch the first showing—only to realize how bad and a waste of time it was.

Q: What advice do you have for women considering a career in healthcare technology?

Get over the stereotype that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are more suited to men. Don’t be afraid to take risks and challenge yourself with new opportunities. You never know what you’re good at unless you try it! If you fail, you get back up, learn from it, and move on to do things better. But never give up.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I powerlift and sing/record Indian music. I also write a blog about my own experiences and things I have learned from others to create awareness about mental health and abuse.

Q: If you founded a one-woman band, what would you call it?

I really need a singer, keyboard player, drummer, and bass guitarist, so it would be more like a four-women band. I’d call it One2Four Confetti.