Need of Clinical Engineers in Healthcare

During 1960’s engineers were first inspired to work in the clinical environment in response to concern about patient safety as well as rapid procreation of clinical equipment’s. In the process, a new engineering discipline evolved i.e “Biomedical or Clinical Engineering”.

In the not-too-distant past, a developing nation aim to be seen as a country that is deficient in access to modern technology but today, increasing globalization can help make a new technology serviceable wherever that it might be useful.

Once I was sitting in a group discussion, someone with pure engineering discipline asked a simple question what Biomedical engineers do?. I replied Biomedical engineers definitely work in industry, academic institutions, hospitals and government agencies, they spend their days designing electrical circuits and computer medical and engineering software’s, also one of the highly paid profession in the world. He replied “WOW” and then I continued to say that, this above definition is well known in foreign countries. But here in my country biomedical/Clinical engineers defines a person who studied 4 years program of B.E/B.S and after graduation he luckily get a job in low pay scale, getting   2-3 years of experience from market, engineer still find himself in the same position where he was few years back. I further told him about Biomedical engineering that this distinctive profession is the merger of two titanic fields medical and engineering. At this point, the realization of this modern technology in today’s health care problem has to be understood by health care providers.

Anywhere in the world, health plays a primary role in determining the human capital. Better health improves the adaptability and the productivity of the labor; sooner or later contributes to the economic growth and leads to human welfare.

There is a world of difference between privately run hospitals and government run hospitals; private hospitals being far improved than public sector. A few of these private hospitals are world class and can be easily comparable with any international institutions. This image suggest that the main barrier in this regard are budget limitations from the government side and the fact that there is no realization what so ever for the profession of clinical/Biomedical engineering.

But authorities in both sectors should be wise from the role of Biomedical/clinical engineers because they are often confused with another professional group in the hospital, the Biomedical Equipment Technicians (BMETs). In reality, these two groups perform different but equally valuable functions. The BMET is the person responsible for direct support, service, and repair of the medical equipment in the hospital. BMET education and training is usually of a more directly technical nature, and is supplemented with specific schooling in service to the equipment. BMETs answer the call when medical equipment fails to function properly and must work closely with nurses and other hospital staff, as well as the equipment vendor, as they service and maintain the equipment. The job of the clinical engineer, however, is somewhat different.

They generally have background in engineering applied to healthcare and the healthcare industry. Basically they are engineers who have completed a period of proper education in addition to defined experience as practicing biomedical/clinical engineers leading to mastery of a genuine core of knowledge.

The clinical engineer is involved at many levels in the safe, appropriate and economical use of technology in the health care system. Supported by BME technicians, the professional engineer is responsible for areas extending from design and maintenance of hardware to quality control and, where appropriate, the analysis of signals from medical instrumentation. The clinical engineering profession has changed its focus over time from equipment safety and control to healthcare technology management. But unfortunately medical manufacturing industries are not yet created.

In my view the authentic framework required to bridge the space between engineering technology and patient care.

Currently the status of Clinical/Biomedical engineers in the developing world is far from satisfactory. The success and sustainability of BME’s would fuel economic growth and substantial improvement in the quality of life.

In this regard as a whole the engineers will play key role in healthcare Private and government sector. Both federal and provincial government should make some policies in introducing Clinical / Biomedical engineering departments, cells, and vacancies   in hospitals and in other healthcare organizations. If, at least one engineer will be deployed in Civil, district and taluka hospitals the entire position will take 180 degree change and those people with skills. Knowledge and experience, who are struggling to find opportunity in foreign land will foresee their future home country and therefore the massive brain drain which is becoming gigantic day by day would come to an end.

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