If you think about it, every part of the healthcare journey is supported by biomedical engineering. From electronic health records to diagnostic tools and machinery to therapeutic, rehabilitative and regenerative treatments, the work of biomedical engineers is evident, although too often taken for granted. Consider, for example, how many exploratory surgeries can now be avoided thanks to advancements in diagnostic imaging.
The following list represents just a few familiar examples of what can result when engineering knowledge is applied to solving problems in medicine and biology:
- Cardiac stents
- Holter monitors
- Mobile Cardiac Outpatient Telemetry (MCOT)
- Medical imaging (x-ray, CT, MRI, fMRI, PET)
- The cochlear implant
- Anesthesia monitoring equipment
- Prescription monitoring for pharmacies
- Artificial hearts and valves
- Medical ventilator systems
- Rehabilitation systems
- LASIK surgery
- daVinci surgical robots
- Transcatheter valve replacement and repair devices
In addition to continued developments in these more familiar technologies, biomedical engineers are helping to change the way healthcare is delivered. Advancements in telemedicine, stem cell research, nanotechnology, tissue engineering, wearable technologies for home health monitoring, and neural research can all be attributed to the work of biomedical engineers. The result of their work is giving rise
to such advancements as bionic vision, neural prostheses, intelligent drugs (nano particles) and replacement tissues.
With advanced computer models that provide the means for interpreting diagnostic values in new ways, engineering is moving us in the direction of more personalized therapy. Beyond simply providing technical devices, engineers can help physicians to facilitate decision-making, thereby advancing the science of medicine and freeing physicians to focus on the art of patient care.