One of the underlying factors in the rapid development of modern medicine is the unprecedented advances made in the field of biomedical engineering. Simply put, biomedical engineering acts as the bridge between medicine and technology. Biomedical engineering is a vast and versatile field that covers all possible aspects ranging from the application of artificial intelligence in healthcare to artificial organs, robotic surgery, medical devices and equipment R&D. A small part of this is clinical engineering or application of biomedical engineering in hospitals.
Although the importance of clinical engineering in upgrading the health infrastructure is immense, the department has not received proper and adequate recognition in India. According to a report by the World Health Organisation, the department’s functioning in our country is still mainly limited to corrective maintenance. Lack of adequate human resources may be another reason, the agency said in the report. Recently, institutions like IBSC, sponsored by the Quality Council of India, seem to have largely alleviated this shortage of human resources.
According to data from the National Health Systems Resource Centre, a technology support agency of the National Health Mission, 34% of medical devices were found to be out of order in States across India. Under such circumstances, the development of the health sector will be much slower if it relies solely on corrective maintenance.
Procedures like Preventive Maintenance are also of immense importance to keep the expensive equipment functioning properly. Not going too far, a look at the maintenance statistics of the Biomedical Assets of the Government of Assam in Public-Private Partnerships provides visual evidence of what has been pointed out by WHO. Systematic practice for sustainable development and improved infrastructure in the health sector is the need of the hour and this can only be achieved through the establishment of permanent biomedical engineering departments in hospitals.