From the everyday thermometer and blood pressure cuff to the most sophisticated life support, MRI and laboratory equipment, the modern clinician depends on technology in every aspect of patient care. The more advanced the tool, the more important the technological support. Which is why it’s critical that we have experts on our Biomedical Engineering team. And with the increased use of wireless and online communications in health care, this team is more important than ever to protect hospital medical equipment from cyber-attacks.
“Cybersecurity is currently one of health care’s largest concerns. The unlawful manipulation of medical devices locally, or more recently remotely, via malware and ransomware attacks, represents an immediate threat to the safety and security of those for whom we provide care. Biomedical Engineering must now consider the impact of the “Internet of Things” as a growing number of medical devices and systems are electronically integrated, including integration into the medical record.”
— John Langone, Vice President, Biomedical Services Division
Northwell Health’s Biomedical Engineering team assists in the evaluation and selection as well as the management of all equipment maintenance and repair activities that makes our exceptional patient care possible. With 22 hospitals, over 450 physician practices, ambulatory centers, labs, research facilities and more, this team is responsible for approximately 120,000 devices throughout our healthcare system. Those devices and equipment are getting more complex and connected every day.
These new challenges require professionals with additional or “hybrid” skills, part biomedical engineering technician and part medical device security specialist.
What does it take to take on this challenge? You’ll need to be ambitious with a strong electrical engineering background, math proficiency and basic knowledge of physiology. As care continues to move from the hospital environment to offsite or home environments, telehealth is becoming more important. Your experience should include exposure to network and cybersecurity issues, where you will need to think fast and adapt quickly. Above all you must be able to deliver timely solutions to complex challenges, all while keeping your cool under ever-changing conditions.
For those who have what it takes, they can be part of a Biomedical Engineering department responsible for device repair, technological upkeep and preventative maintenance as well as troubleshooting and responding to service recalls on medical equipment. The complexity of the role increases exponentially as you work in collaboration with the health systems network security team to identify and mitigate potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
These positions offer tremendous career potential. Northwell Health has a strong career path, with three levels of Biomedical Engineering Technicians (BMET I, II and III) and in some cases Technical Imaging Specialists, each handling increasingly critical and complex medical equipment. Driven techs are provided with the ongoing education, training and support needed to grow into each level. We also sponsor certifications for all our techs through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). For those looking to excel further in their career, we have a managerial path as well as higher levels of technology training that takes techs into other aspects of medical device management.