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Hall of Fame

Joel J. Nobel, MD (2015)

Joel J. Nobel, MD 
 
​​
Posthumous Recipient
December 8, 1934 – August 13, 2014
 
Dr. Nobel is inducted for his excellence in innovation, influence on CE, and technology evaluation in the US and the world. 
Below are some excerpts from the supporting material provided for his nomination.

 

Dr. Nobel is widely known and recognized as one of the pioneers of the application of engineering and managerial skills to support and advance patient care through technology.  Although educated and practiced as a physician, he was never shy in crossing over to and working with engineering and other professionals to advance patient care through the safe and judicious use of technology.

While a surgical resident, he designed and developed a mobile emergency life support and resuscitation system, called MAX, which was the precursor of the modern crash cart used throughout the world, saving countless lives.  While developing an integrated Emergency Command System to respond to resuscitation and other emergencies, Dr. Nobel discovered that 9 out of 18 models of resuscitators were ineffective.  This discovery motivated him to found in 1968 a non-profit organization dedicated to the testing and evaluation of medical devices initially called the Emergency Care Research Institute, now known as ECRI Institute.

Under Dr. Nobel's leadership, ECRI became a worldwide reference for technology assessment, product evaluation, risk management, and clinical engineering, including numerous publications such as Health Devices, Health Devices Alerts, Health Devices Sourcebook, and Healthcare Product Comparison System.  In addition to supporting American hospital and healthcare institutions, Dr. Nobel expanded ECRI's activities to numerous other countries, including industrialized countries in Europe and developing countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.  In the latter countries, he worked closely with health authorities at the level of ministries of health to help them understand and improve the management of health technology issues.  These efforts eventually led to the recognition of ECRI by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of its Collaborating Centers in health technologies.

In addition to his efforts within ECRI, Dr. Nobel started in early 70's a shared services program with a grant provided by the WK Kellogg Foundation.  This program grew from humble beginnings to support 143 hospitals on the East Coast before it was span off as an independent for-profit entity (called ISS Solutions).  This initiative, along with similar ones in other regions of the country, eventually led to the creation of independent service organizations (ISOs).  The growth of ISOs expanded considerably the field of clinical engineering (CE) in the USA, reduced substantially the cost of technology maintenance and management, while simultaneously reduced costs to healthcare organizations and improved care to patients.

In the process of establishing ECRI, ISS, and numerous international activities, Dr. Nobel recruited, trained, and served as an inspiration for hundreds of CE professionals worldwide.  His dedication to truth, objectivity, and honesty served as a model for all those who wanted to contribute to the advancement of CE.  His legacy was widely acknowledged at the time of his passing last August.

In essence, Dr. Nobel's illustrious career met all the criteria for induction into the CE Hall of Fame.  By inventing MAX and creating ECRI, he proved to be an innovator.  By leading ECRI activities, he made impactful contributions to the development and growth of CE.  By recruiting, training and inspiring new CE professionals, he influenced greatly those persons, the healthcare industry, and the society at large.  By expanding ECRI and his personal activities internationally, his contributions reached CE professionals, clinical users, regulatory authorities, patients, and society at large in numerous countries.

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