Clinical engineering is responsible for the application of technology in enhancing delivery of services. Technology-driven medical companies have been focusing on developing technological tools that foster cheaper, faster and efficient service delivery. The health care industry has witnessed a fast increase in the application of sophisticated medical diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
Health care observers such as the Cleveland Clinic agreed that application of technology in the medical system has resulted into reduced overall medical costs and increased safety and survival rates. According to a National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology study, advancement in clinical engineering technology will be a mainstream endeavor in the future of medicine and clinical practice. This does not dismiss the already available application as seen and used in many hospitals across the nation, and the long way the technology has come and evolved through different civilizations. However, with the practical approach of biomedical research, more sophisticated therapeutic and diagnostic equipment is made available and applied in the health industry.
Despite the rising concerns as to whether or not patient safety is appropriately addressed, technological development in this field has been focusing on measuring physical and chemical variables and signals emitted by human beings. This has enabled doctors to detect diseases early enough and efficiently manage treatment. Necessities such replacement equipment planning, compliance requirements, effective acquisition processes, risk assessment and mitigation, device integration and alarms management in medical facilities and patients’ homes are key areas emphasized by clinical engineers so as to ensure effective use of equipment and patient safety.
Clinical engineering technology has been applied widely in many hospitals, but its full potential has not been realized because of the peripheral roles of the clinical engineers. Much of the clinical engineers’ work involves regular equipment testing and preventive maintenance which is less important today. Their efforts should be redirected to more critical needs that are currently going unchecked to enable safe and effective use of medical technology in health care.
Carrying out strategic capital planning that ensures the acquisition of adequate information concerning particular hospitals guarantees new system deployments and/or prioritizing of any replacement plans. Performing risk and vulnerability assessments to identify systems with critical risks and vulnerabilities is particularly important to ensure planning of timely mitigation to any identified risks.
According to one white paper, the alignment of clinical engineering services to the needs of a specific hospital is vital to the effectiveness and efficiency of services provided. This is determined by establishing whether the clinical engineers routinely participate in all medical systems evaluations, manage and document all medical equipment services, collaborate with IT experts on medical device integration and comply with the various standards and requirements such as those by the Joint commission, CMS, ONC and the AAMM.
Clinical engineering is without a doubt a critical feature in the health industry and will continue to heavily impact health care providers’ ability to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure various diseases.
– Abdul Alsaadi, BSBE, MSBE, Ph.D., is Director, CTM Sodexo Clinical Technology Management and Clinical Equipment Services at Keck Medicine of USC, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.
Stephen L. Grimes (2014, December 6) The next evolution of clinical engineering. Retrieved from: https://www.abm.com/documents/white-papers/wp_next-evolution-of-clinical-engineering.pdf
Fields of Biomedical Engineering. Retrieved from: http://forcebiomedical.com/fields-of-biomedical-engineering/
Nait. Biomedical Engineering Technology. Retrieved from: http://www.nait.ca/76188.htm
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