TechNation | Tech Knowledge: A CFO’s Perspective

By Jeff Niederhausen | I have been asked many times through the years, “How did you go from biomed to finance?” The truth of the matter is, I never was in biomed or had any training in it. I have always been in finance and accounting. I am someone who happened to stumble upon a help wanted ad in the newspaper (remember those?), and I was about to get married and graduate with a degree in accounting. I was offered the job with a small for-profit biomed company. From there, I went to one of the largest in-house programs for one of the largest Catholic health systems in the country to where I am today. What I know from biomed came from working with many technicians and leaders through the years. Their vast knowledge gave me insight to the unique and interesting world of biomed, clinical engineering, clinical technology or whatever name they like to give it nowadays. So, why did I tell you this?

I wanted to illustrate the importance of taking the time to let people know what it is you do and how it affects not only patient care, but finances for the company or facility you work for.

Many of us in the “powerful” C-suite level do not know what biomed does exactly. Many see it strictly as a cost center on a financial statement that seems to increase more and more every day! We know it “fixes our stuff,” but that is about the extent of it. Many financial people forget the nature of the programs and the decisions we make affect the bottom line. As an example, Doctor Bob wants a new toy he saw at the last trade show because it can do this and that. Let’s buy it to bring in more revenue! We don’t think about support! We don’t think about maintaining the piece of equipment! Service Contract? Uh … what? Hey wait a minute! Why did biomed costs go up! Sound familiar? More…