The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified biomedical technicians as one of the fastest growing occupations in the next decade. I do not know how they develop their data, but I am beginning to think that they may be wrong. By disregarding previous statistics and looking at factors that might influence future job growth, I not only foresee a decline in growth, but I see a gradual reduction in the demand for BMETs.
Whether the predictions are mine, or those of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is difficult for anyone to envision the impact of disruptive technologies on an occupation. I can recall a time when there was at least one television repair shop in every community. Now, despite the proliferation of television sets and viewers, TV repair shops are mostly extinct. I am certain that typists, video store clerks, travel agents, and telephone operators all felt their occupations were essential and would never be replaced. Today, people are predicting that fighter pilots, supermarket cashiers, librarians, and bank tellers are candidates for extinction. Is it possible that BMETs could find themselves among that list of candidates?
Recently, I attended an international medical exposition where a number of Chinese manufacturers were exhibiting multi-parameter critical care bedside monitors that cost less than $900.00. When monitors are priced at this level, they may become disposable since it might be more economical to replace them rather than make repairs. In addition to low priced devices, manufacturers of medical devices are adopting six sigma and reliability manufacturing techniques which bring their quality levels to near perfection resulting in more reliable devices and fewer failures. The combination of fewer failures and disposable devices may severely reduce the numbers of repairs that BMETs perform yearly.
General Electric and other manufacturers are investing heavily in the industrial internet of things. They envision a day when embedded sensors enable devices to report their operational status continuously. Planned maintenance will only be necessary when the operational status changes. This will mean far more device uptime as downtime for planned maintenance based on calendar days or hours of use becomes a thing of the past. Less downtime and fewer planned maintenance procedures will reduce the required numbers of BMETs.
The combination of disposable monitors, reduced device failures and a reduction of planned maintenance procedures might easily reduce the demand for the number of BMETs. While I certainly can not claim that my prediction is accurate, I can claim that change is inevitable and your likelihood for future success will depend on your level awareness and your willingness to adapt as technology changes your environment.
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