BE Worldwide 02/23/2018

Studying Biomedical Engineering at ULSA Noroeste

Its right to say that biomedical engineering is one of the most diverse and multidisciplinary professions there is, for it combines engineering, medicine, and design principles resulting in an almost infinite development potential. My name is Carlos Javier Reyna Quintero and I am a biomedical engineering student at Universidad La Salle Noroeste in Obregon City, México. I decided to write this because I consider that sharing early experience as a student may help others in deciding if biomedical engineering is really the career they should be pursuing, as well as sharing my opinion on how I think biomedical engineering has inspired me every day in becoming a better professional.

As long as humanity exists, the need of developing new technologies to improve healthcare services will be vital indistinctly of the applications or focus like devices, techniques, pharmaceuticals or any solution (like apps) that increase the life quality of an individual. As well as manufacturing and design, investigation is crucial for all of this to happen, for all of the mentioned applications wouldn’t be a reality if research wasn’t part of this equation called biomedical engineering.

There are multiple definitions on what a Biomedical Engineering is (or what does he do in a professional matter). For example, according to Salinas (Salinas, 2015), the biomedical engineer is “the one capable of applying principles of electricity, mechanics, and optics, as well as others typical of engineering by understanding, modifying or controlling biological systems; as well as designing and manufacturing devices to supervise physiological functions and assist in patient’s treatment and diagnosis.” If I don’t disagree with this definition at all, I think that it’s necessary to supplement this concept other disciplines included in the biomedical engineering scope, like the one provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2011 document “Introduction to Medical Equipment Inventory Management”, as clinical engineering is also a branch of biomedical engineering. In this document you can find an example of a very important responsibility of a clinical engineer; inventory management and its application when a biomedical engineer works in a hospital practicing tasks like calibration, maintenance, repairing, user training and decommissioning of medical equipment, as well as using information technology tools for an effective analysis and documentation of the information produced by the clinical engineering department.

Learn more about IFMBE’s efforts regarding clinical engineering, as well as how to participate their meetings and congresses here.

Adding to this “holistic understanding” process of biomedical engineering and its focus areas, I would like to add the importance of being aware of regulatory matters (regardless the focus) proposed by governmental agencies, both national and international, as well as assuring everything is being followed as stated, for not doing this may not only mean danger, businesswise, for your company, hospital or initiative, it may also mean danger for a patient or user’s life. As some professionals consider that some laws or restrictions may represent personal interests of some professionals or companies, I would like to consider most efforts to be focused on reducing problematics in health services produced mainly by the lack of quality in products, techniques, or even services. I strongly consider that, since we are growing as professionals in the technology era, protection of information and medical systems is vital, for most of the technology we use daily has a connection interphase that can not only be accessed for monitoring purposes, it also could be controlled and used inappropriately by unauthorized people.

Having in mind that another big “dream” of us students is to work in research and development areas (which is also needed in our developing world), I have found that we, as students, are very much missing out a great opportunity to do so in an early stage; as a student. Most of our school assignments focus on trending topics such as artificial intelligence and advanced prosthesis (among others) and we seem to be missing the point; we are not focusing our research on problems of our community, instead, we seem to be eager about studying advanced topics while our country has very particular and identified needs (such as clinical engineering standardization). In other words, I think that it is very important to start getting involved with hospitals, companies, and manufacturers as soon as possible to start detecting these problems and work along with professors in our classrooms and start proposing feasible alternatives that can really make an impact; identified problems + universities = low cost solutions that help students catch a glimpse of its future working scenario. Why don’t we start by communicating what the real benefits of having an active biomedical engineering department in a hospital brings to the institution? This could really help thousands of professionals worldwide.

As a conclusion, I strongly think that academia’s role in healthcare needs to be “remixed” and focused into the real and specific needs existing in the country, as well as focusing the university’s assignments to the specific needs of hospitals and companies in their region, and of course aligned to the nation’s objectives established by the institutions that apply. The result sounds to me like an attractive option for the formation of future students on biomedical engineering fields, allowing them to be aware of the practice and the actual complications that exist in the market. In addition, this would allow them to develop solutions and protocols on their early years of study, as well as creating better consolidated professionals with the help of active practice, all this while increasing the intellectual value/level of their countries.

Carlos R.  ULSA Noroeste Biomedical Engineering Student


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