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While this event happened many years ago, the details remain
vivid and representative, perhaps, of what so many others within clinical
engineering have also experienced. In
some ways it also epitomizes the invisible effectiveness that we have and
continue to bring to healthcare.
At the time, our medical respiratory ICU had a centralized
mass spectrometer that sampled patient gases and was absolutely crucial to the patient
care provided by this unit. As such, our CE department was extremely sensitive
to the importance of this system and always did our best to keep it
functional. Despite these efforts, the
system experienced a critical component failure that shut down the entire
system. While we immediately and
frantically sought a replacement part, the only source was from the European
OEM. All we could do was wait. Understandably, the MRICU staff was blasting
us regularly to get the system up and running NOW – but all we could offer was
that ‘the part is on order’. Well after
about two weeks the unit’s pulmonologist medical director understandably lost
it and convened an administrative meeting where I was summoned to come and
explain what the *^*uk was going on. Knowing that I was about
to get verbally castrated, I reviewed the past two years of service history on
this device – with our early, now primitive, but still very effective CMMS, and
was not surprised but most comforted to see that we had somewhere around an 85%
same-day service response on this device. Yes, over the prior two years, every
time this device went down, our staff had it up and running within the same day
85% of the time. I made a simple
histogram plot of this metric and brought it to the meeting. As expected, the first half of the meeting was
spent ripping me and my extremely dedicated and competent staff a host of new
orifices. I then brought out my service
histogram – and in a less than an appropriate and tactful manner (as I was a
bit pissed by this time) – said
something to the effect “if you can find anyone to service this machine better
than we have been doing - bring them in”.
That ended the meeting with the medical director still upset but he also
seemed to come away with an entirely new appreciation and respect for what we
and our silent warrior BMET’s had been doing.
Indeed, the better in-house CE departments become the more
invisible they also tend to appear. Maybe, it is this twisted irony that will
eventually best define us but also emerge as one of our greatest liabilities as
well . . . ?; nonetheless, happy Global
CE day to us all.
After serving more than four
decades as a clinical engineer and in related industry roles, I’ve become and
remain a great believer in the benefit of the proliferating technological
advances in the field of medicine. I do believe we have the possibility
of our offering higher quality, lower cost health care to an ever growing
portion of the world’s population.
However I am not naïve. The
hoped for benefits from technological advances are not guaranteed. We
need to be mindful that technological innovations are neither inherently
positive … nor negative. It is only in how they are applied
that we see the true nature and benefit of those “advances.”
Netflix’ recently released its
original documentary, The Bleeding Edge. Everyone in the
healthcare industry, including clinical engineers and other healthcare
technology professionals, should watch this documentary. It is a cautionary
tale of how technological advances in medicine can go horribly wrong when we
become blindly enamored with innovation, profits, and unfettered
deregulation. Most who buy into the adoption of these technological
advances do so with the best of intent. A smaller but still influential
number are more focused on the industry growth and profitably.
We as clinical engineers and
healthcare technology professionals must ensure we are the voice of reason
when selecting which new technologies to adopt and that we make clear what
exactly must be done to deploy and support new technologies that are adopted.
The Bleeding Edge is a
reminder that it is the patient we are truly here to serve … and it is
the patient who ultimately benefits … or suffers … based on how we and our
other colleagues in medical device manufacturing, regulation and healthcare
delivery do our jobs.
Go to https://www.netflix.com/title/80170862
In the fulfillment of our duties Clinical Engineers will:
· Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.
· Improve the
efficacy and safety of healthcare through the application of Technology.
· Support the
efficacy and safety of healthcare through the acquisition and exchange of
information and experience with other engineers and managers.
healthcare technology programs effectively and resources responsibly.
represent their level of responsibility, authority, experience, knowledge and
education and perform services only in their area of competence.
confidentiality of patient information as well as proprietary employer or
client information, unless doing so would endanger public safety or violate any legal obligations.
· Not engage
in any activities that are conflicts of interest or that provide the appearance of conflicts of interest
and that can adversely affect their performance or impair their professional judgment.
· Conduct themselves honorably
and legally in all their activities.
I have grown up with ACCE. It was 1991 when I had the privilege of being the student of David Bell and Philip Katz (founding members of ACCE) who introduced me to ACCE and the profession of Clinical Engineering at Drexel University.
Personally and professionally, I have immensely benefited from ACCE membership. Over the years, many ACCE members have mentored and inspired me to be a better Clinical Engineer. Serving as committee chair gave me opportunity to develop my communication, presentation and team building skills, as a Board members and President I got the opportunity to network with key leaders in our profession around the world.
If you are a Clinical Engineer or involved in the daily management of medical devices, you must invest in ACCE membership. No other organization offers a professional network dedicated to Clinical Engineering. Networking, opportunities to serve and give back to the profession, and the knowledge base of this group is phenomenal!!!
Joining ACCE has been for me natural and without too much thinking. I was a member of the Italian Association of Clinical Engineers (also founded in the early 1990s), and I already had the chance to appreciate benefits and opportunities related to the membership. When I moved to the States, I was actually very excited to have the opportunity to connect with those who I call "the superstars" of our field. Aside from the representation of our interests to agencies and governmental entities, the numerous educational offers, and the several discounts, I believe the greatest benefit consists in the network of top-notch professionals from all over the country (actually, the world) sharing the same passion and commitment. That's why I always try to attend the ACCE meeting/awards receptions, to catch up with "old" colleagues and meet new ones, in a joyful and celebratory atmosphere.
ACCE helped me as a young careerist by providing opportunities to get involved and engaged early on. I joined the Educational Committee and was able to network with other professionals, participate in planning educational seminars, and host webinars. All of the skills gained from these activities translated extremely well to my career and have helped in my success.
Being one of the many ACCE members
around the world, my experience has been always of continuum support from/to
other members. The ACCE International Workshops are Great opportunities to
learn and share experiences with colleagues; Collaboration initiatives in the
field, working with all stakeholders (World Health Organization/ Ministries of
Health/ Universities/ Hospitals/ Clinical-Biomedical Engineers/ Physicians/
Nurses/ Manufacturers); A good way to get updated on Healthcare Technologies
around the world and to Meet new friends.
Your ACCE membership will give you a
recognized place, being part of it.
I joined ACCE, my career has felt much more grounded and guided. The amazing educational and networking
activities provided by ACCE have been a critical component of my professional
development. It has been an absolute pleasure to have volunteered at ACCE as a
board member, an International Committee member, and as co-editor of its
newsletter for several years. Now that I am travelling much less I look forward
to volunteering again. ACCE is always very responsive to the needs of its
members and feels more like family than an organization. I am very grateful and proud to be a member
I was midway through my
career when ACCE was formed. I thought - "We don't need another
society." Some seven years later, finding that other organizations
were focusing elsewhere, I joined and became active, serving on committees and
eventually a term as President. Today, as then, ACCE is the only major
society solely dedicated to clinical engineering. Time after time, ACCE
has driven advancement in our profession. From international workshops in
clinical engineering, to certification, to development of interoperable
systems, ACCE continues to lead the way. Being an ACCE member is like
having an extended family of peers who can be counted on to work together and
support each other while shaping the future of the profession. I have
built lasting friendships through ACCE and developed skills that served me
throughout my career. Come join us at ACCE. Your career will thank
you – I know mine did.