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 Healthcare Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, & Bioengineering

 

  • Biomedicine is part of healthcare; biomedical industry is part of healthcare industry; and Biomedical Engineering is part of Healthcare Engineering.

  • Healthcare engineering is broader than biomedical engineering by including the healthcare part of all engineering disciplines chemical, computer, electrical, industrial, information, materials, mechanical, software, systems and other engineering disciplines.

  • Healthcare is covered in almost all engineering disciplines such as chemical, computer, electrical, industrial, information, materials, mechanical, software, and systems engineering, in addition to biomedical engineering and bioengineering. 

  • The healthcare industry hires hundreds of times more engineers in chemical, computer, electrical, industrial, information, materials, mechanical, software, systems and other engineering disciplines combined than in biomedical engineering or bioengineering.

  • Most of the engineers working in the healthcare industry do not have a biomedical engineering degree. For instance, a medical device may need mechanical engineers for machine design, electrical engineers for circuit design, computer scientists for software design, industrial engineers for ergonomic design, among others.

  • More research on healthcare is conducted by more researchers in chemical, computer, electrical, industrial, information, materials, mechanical, software, systems and other engineering disciplines than in biomedical engineering or bioengineering in universities and research organizations worldwide.

  • Most of the authors/co-authors of research papers published in biomedical engineering journals are not affiliated with biomedical engineering or bioengineering organizations.

As shown in the figure,

  • Both healthcare engineering and biomedical engineering are in the intersection of engineering and health sciences.

  • Biomedical engineering is part of healthcare engineering.

  • Healthcare engineering is broader than biomedical engineering by including the healthcare part of all engineering disciplines not covered by biomedical engineering.

By definition, Healthcare Engineering covers Engineering involved in all aspects of Healthcare.  The primary area of Healthcare Engineering is Engineering for Healthcare intervention. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (USDHHS) defines "Healthcare intervention" as "Any type of treatment, preventive care, or test that a person could take or undergo to improve health or to help with a particular problem." USDHHS further specifies that Healthcare interventions include drugs, foods, supplements, vaccinations, screening tests, exercises, hospital treatment, and certain kinds of care (such as physical therapy).  

 

Since biomedicine is part of Healthcare, Biomedical Engineering is part of Healthcare Engineering.  Healthcare industry needs engineers from almost all engineering disciplines, such as Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, Industrial, Materials, Mechanical, and Systems Engineering. Biomedical Engineering (the medical sector of Bioengineering) plays a key role and has made tremendous contributions to healthcare; however, the majority of the engineers working in Healthcare do not have a Biomedical Engineering degree, and there are far more jobs in healthcare for non-Biomedical Engineers than for Biomedical Engineers.  Healthcare Engineering is therefore a more comprehensive and appropriate term from the standpoint of non-Biomedical Engineers working in Healthcare, and can thus encourage and attract more Engineering students, professionals, and researchers to participate and to serve Healthcare.  We believe involvement and contributions by more Engineers from all Engineering disciplines can better improve healthcare and benefit the human society.

 

Biomedicine is part of Healthcare.

Biomedical industry is part of Healthcare industry.

Biomedical Engineering is part of Healthcare Engineering.

 

 

Definition of Healthcare Industry (Mosby's Medical Dictionary):

The complex of preventive, remedial, and therapeutic services provided by hospitals and other institutions, nurses, doctors, dentists, medical administrators, government agencies, voluntary agencies, noninstitutional care facilities, pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers, and health insurance companies. 

 

 

Healthcare engineers are needed in: 

Hospitals

Medical device manufacturers

Biomedical companies

Healthcare information technology industry

Healthcare consulting firms

Healthcare construction companies

Pharmaceutical companies

Nursing homes

Diagnostic laboratories

Healthcare research institutes, etc.

- Inspiring engineering minds to advance human health