Thought experiments are used by physicists and philosophers to help clarify or explore their thinking on a variety of problems. The reason they are called thought experiments is that they can only be conducted in the mind and not in any laboratory. One of the more famous experiments was conducted by Albert Einstein when he envisioned himself riding on a beam of light. Based on this experiment, he was able to begin developing his theory of relativity. Obviously, in the real world Einstein could not possibly ride a beam of light, but in his “thought” version of the event he was able to develop a theory that completely changed the way we interpret time and space.
One thought experiment that I like to conduct is to ask what would happen if hospital based clinical engineering departments no longer performed repair, testing, PM and incoming inspection on medical devices. Because so much of their day is focused on these activities, it is an interesting challenge to ask how they would continue being useful if these functions were no longer necessary. As I ponder this problem, I realize that there are many things they could do that would serve their hospitals well. I also realize that these are things that would improve their status and visibility. Some of the ideas that come to mind are:
I am certain that there are many other services departments could provide. The important thing to understand is that we are technology leaders who possess a unique combination of engineering skills and knowledge of the application of technology to the effective delivery of healthcare. We can always use this knowledge to increase our value to our institutions.
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