BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

Brief Introduction

Biomedical engineering (BME) is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology for healthcare purposes (e.g. diagnostic or therapeutic). This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine, combining the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to advance health care treatment, including diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy. Biomedical engineering has only recently emerged as its own study, compared to many other engineering fields. Such an evolution is common as a new field transitions from being an interdisciplinary specialization among already-established fields, to being considered a field in itself. Much of the work in biomedical engineering consists of research and development, spanning a broad array of subfields. Prominent biomedical engineering applications include the development of biocompatible prostheses, various diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices ranging from clinical equipment to micro-implants, common imaging equipment such as MRIs and EEGs, regenerative tissue growth, pharmaceutical drugs and therapeutic biologicals.

Services/Procedures:

A Biomedical Engineer/Equipment Technician/Technologist (BMET) or Biomedical Engineering/Equipment Specialist (BES or BMES) is typically an engineer,  technician or technologist who ensures that medical equipment is well-maintained, properly configured, and safely functional. In healthcare environments, BMETs often work with or officiate as a Biomedical and/or Clinical Engineer, since the career field has NO legal distinction between engineers and engineeringtechnicians/technologists.

BMETs cover a vast array of different functional fields and medical devices. However, BMETs do specialize and focus on specific kinds of medical deviecs and technology management—(i.e., an Imaging Repair Specialist, Laboratory Equipment Specialist, Healthcare Technology Manager) and works strictly on medical imaging and/or medical laboratory equipment as well as supervises and/or manages HTM departments. These experts come from either from the military, or an OEM background. An Imaging Repair Specialist usually does not have much, if any, general BMET training. However, there are situations where a BMET will cross-train into these functional fields.

Examples of different areas of Medical equipment technology are:

  • Diagnostic Imaging:
  • Radiographic and Fluoroscopic X-ray,
  • Diagnostic ultrasound,
  • Mammography,
  • Nuclear Imaging,
  • Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS),
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI scanner),
  • Physiological monitoring,
  • Electron microscope,
  • Sterilization,
  • LASERs,
  • Dental,
  • Telemedicine,
  • Heart Lung Device,
  • DaVinci Surgical Robot,
  • Laboratory,
  • Dialysis,
  • Respiratory Services (ventilators),
  • Computer Networking Systems integration,
  • Information Technology,
  • Patient Monitoring,
  • Cardiac Diagnostics,

BMETs work closely with nursing staff, and medical materiel personnel to obtain parts, supplies, and equipment and even closer with facility management to coordinate equipment installations requiring certain facility infrastructure requirements/modifications.

Job Duties

Biomedical engineers typically do the following:

  • Design systems and products, such as artificial organs, artificial devices that replace body parts, and machines for diagnosing medical problems.
  •  Install, adjust, maintain, repair, or provide technical support for biomedical equipment
  •  Evaluate the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment
  • Train clinicians and other personnel on the proper use of equipment
  • Work with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists to research the engineering aspects of biological systems of humans and animals

Career Overview

Biomedical engineers analyze and design solutions to problems in biology and medicine, with the goal of improving the quality and effectiveness of patient care.

Duties

Biomedical engineers typically do the following:

  • Design systems and products, such as artificial internal organs, artificial devices that replace body parts, and machines for diagnosing medical problems
  • Install, adjust, maintain, repair, or provide technical support for biomedical equipment
  •  Evaluate the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment
  • Train clinicians and other personnel on the proper use of equipment
  •  Work with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists to research the engineering aspects of biological systems of humans and animals

IMPORTANT QUALITIES

Analytical skills. Biomedical engineers must be able to analyze the needs of patients and customers to design appropriate solutions.

Communication skills. Because biomedical engineers sometimes work with patients and frequently work with medical scientists or other engineers, they must be able to express themselves clearly.

Listening skills. Biomedical engineers often work in teams and gather input from patients, therapists, physicians, and business professionals. They must seek others’ ideas and incorporate them into the problem-solving process.

Math skills. Biomedical engineers use the principals of calculus and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Biomedical engineers typically deal with and solve problems in complex biological systems.

Job Outlook

Employment of biomedical engineers is projected to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 5,200 new jobs over the 10-year period.

Biomedical engineers will likely see more demand for their services because of the breadth of activities they engage in, made possible by the diverse nature of their training.

As the aging baby-boom generation lives longer and stays active, they are expected to increase the demand for biomedical devices and procedures, such as hip and knee replacements. In addition, as the public has become aware of medical advances, increasing numbers of people are seeking biomedical solutions to health problems for themselves from their physicians.

Biomedical engineers work with medical scientists, other medical researchers, and manufacturers to address a wide range of injuries and physical disabilities. Their ability to work in different activities with other professionals is enlarging the range of applications for biomedical engineering products and services, particularly in healthcare.

Team Of Specialists