The Role of an Expert in Medical Engineering in Japan
- Pp. 210-219 (10)Masashi Tagaya, Morihiro Matsuda, Shunsuke Ichikawa, Yasuyuki Nishi, Yasusuke Miyagatani and Toshiharu Kawamoto
Recent advancements in medical technology have led to development of various medical equipment and have improved clinical outcomes. Management of medical equipment requires expertise and knowledge of technical know-how, and there is a growing need for professional engineers in clinical practice. In Japan, a clinical engineer (CE) operates life-sustaining devices and provides maintenance management of life-sustaining device; the term CE was officially established in 1987. CEs have contributed to the development of a medical procedure by becoming technical experts.
In our hospital, the hyperbaric oxygen chamber operated by a CE was used to treat patients diagnosed with sudden sensorineural hearing loss or decompression illness. This job requires expertise of target illnesses. The oxygenator for cardiopulmonary bypass surgery is also operated by a CE, and handling of this instrument needs an inventive approach, as it directly affects the surgical outcome. For implantable cardiac devices, the CE helps to merge knowledge from the fields of electrophysiology and engineering. Configuring accurate device programming improves patients’ prognoses. Furthermore, not just life-sustaining devices but also various medical equipment are centrally managed by the CE. Such management allows efficient use of the medical equipment.
In Japan, the CE contributes tremendously to clinical practice. CEs make the efficient use medical procedures using inventive approach or by active participation or management of these devices.