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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

How do Medical Engineers affect the medical practice?

In the world, Medical Engineering is the creation and development of new equipment which directly affects the medical practice.   Since Engineers have made technological advancements the capability of regenerative organs has been considered which would drastically affect the medical field.  To further my knowledge on Medical Engineering influencing the medical practice I interviewed and observed Derek Jewells, a Research and Development Engineer at BD Medical.  Jewells explained how important a catheter is to the medical practice, and was able to show me around his workplace.  One of the most important sections of Medical Engineering is Requirement Engineering due to staying up to date with how a product should be on budget, schedule, and the quality of it.  In Medical Engineering you must first get the list of requirements so that when the product is made, so it works correctly and efficiently.  With all the innovative technology, there have been major improvements in the Medical field because Engineers can use that technology to enhance their product or even create new products that can help people.  Even Tissue Engineers are affecting the medical practice by being able to address habitual wounds.  Medical Engineering is extremely important because ultimately everyone will need some sort of medical attention in their life time, so having equipment that is effective and time efficient is essential.

Anthony Atala spoke on the topic “Growing New Organs,” which is the process of engineering organs out of the patient’s cells. Atala is a practicing surgeon and a researcher around regenerative medicine.  He has won many awards, such as the US Congress funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, given to an American who is currently working on a discovery that will significantly affect society.  He expresses how muscles can be created due to taking a small amount of tissue out of the body then pull it apart into its fundamental pieces and growing those cells then they “exercise” (Atala) or make it so those materials know what to do once inside the body and then use “scaffold materials” (Atala) which are materials that will degrade in your body but act as “cell delivery vehicle” (Atala) which get the cells inside the body.  Once the cells are in the body and the scaffold materials dissolve and then the cells can regenerate the tissue.  The blood vessels they create cylinders out of the “scaffold materials,” (Atala) but coat it with two cells: muscles cells on the outside, and vascular blood vessel lining cells on the inside.  Although, creating a three-dimensional organ would drastically change the medical practice because “organs must act on demand.” (Atala) They use a scaffold shaped like the organ and place inside lining cells and the muscles cells on the outside then they must exercise the organ before they can put it inside a body.  “Solid organs are the most complicated” exclaims Atala because of their functionality and the number of cells required from layering.  To create organs, they have been using printers with cells instead of ink, taking all the cells from donor organs and placing the patient cells into the organ, and wafers which are stacked together to create a structure.  Due to people living longer because of medicine, Atala believes the problem now is organs failing because of the shortage of organs.

On November 2, 2017, I was able interview and observe Derek Jewell, a Research and Development Engineer at BD Medical.  He is working on creating safer and more efficient catheters.  He explained how catheters are medical devices that allow fluids to be put into the body or extract fluids from the body.  Even though most people don’t think of a catheter being that important, he proved how they are because they allow the nurses to draw blood or put medicine in your body.  He pointed out that Medical Engineers work in cross functional teams which is when all the sections like quality assurance, research and development, process, manufacturing, marketing, and regulatory all work together for a common goal.  He stressed how communicating is the most difficult part of his job because “during brainstorming you have to ‘verbalize brainwaves’ and explain ideas as you come up with them; when you are establishing plans and strategies you have to communicate from a high level sometimes and very detailed other times but either way you want to be clear about the plan because it sets expectations for work to come.” (Jewells) I was even given a tour of the building to see other areas of engineering.  Overall, I truly enjoyed getting to speak with Derek Jewell, he gave me some advice which is to “start by challenging yourself to understand what you really enjoy and what you are good at, find the things you aren’t good at and be honest with yourself.  While finding what you enjoy and studying hard, learn how to engage in the world with things you are learning and understand how your fundamental education applies to you.” (Jewells) The reason this job will stick with you and change the way you look at life because it requires thinking outside of the box and can really help a person in life.

Within the journal entry by Mario Kossmann, “The significance of requirements engineering for the medical domain,” expresses how necessary requirements are to succeed in creating a new product.  To make modern technology or products useful according to Kossmann, a Systems Engineer and Capability Integrator for Airbus, every qualification for that product or technology must be know which is the job of a Requirement Engineer.  He believes it is equally important to know how this new product or system will affect the people using it and who it is being used on.  The requirements are so important because if any changes must be made to the product it has to be reviewed to make certain that it does not break any of the initial statements.  He showed how it is the job of requirement engineers to make certain none of the prerequisites were overlooked.  The source I got the journal entry from was Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology which is used for evaluating the relevance of requirements for engineering.  The requirements for production of a product is extremely important because it makes so there are less errors because there are precise ways to create the product.

John Morrissey wrote the website article, “The Medical Technologies That Are Changing Health Care.” he is qualified because he has a Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, National Alliance for Health Information Technology, and Modern Healthcare.  This technology brings the capability of creating a personalized, affordable, and higher quality treatment.  He shows how Kaiser Permanente used this technology to create an aorta for a patient who survived due to this technology.  He shows how the medical industry is dramatically changing because of the unique technology being created.  With technology being created he has discovered that the patients are “getting their diagnoses even sooner and are given individualized medical care.” (Morrissey) Morrissey demonstrates how the devices that counted people’s steps, calculated their heart rates, and sleeping cycles is becoming a tool “to improve healthcare delivery and outcome.” (Morrissey) With all this new technology one of the major goal is how to enter the body without physically entering it.

Victor W. Wong and Geoffrey C Gurtners academic journal, “Tissue engineering for the management of chronic wounds: current concepts and future perspectives” expresses the need for the advancement in healing wounds.  Gurtner a practicing surgeon and professor at Stanford University and Wong is a Mechanical Engineering show that because the population continues to grow so does the amount of people prone to an impaired wound healing process indicates Wong and Gurtners.  They reveal how matrix dynamics, stem cells, and skin regeneration need to be incorporated to fix the wound.  The skin according to Wong and Gurtners is “one of the most complex organ systems” (Wong) which creates immense difficulty in the regeneration process.  Although if they achieved this regeneration then many wounds would be healed.  They convey the technology for regenerating skin would be capable of healing those wounds that people have been getting because of the change in wound healing.  It also examines the research that still needs to be conducted to better this innovative technology.

Anthony Atalas explained how to grow new organs on a Ted Talk, which are used to find out more information on a topic.  Atalas is a practicing surgeon and a researcher around regenerative medicine. The videos focus was on logos since they are medically engineering equipment to be able to produce or create organs, muscles, and tissues.  While Derek Jewell is more credible because this was a firsthand experience, Jewell is well qualified because he has a Bachelor’s of Science, Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah.  He also works at BD Medical as a Research and Development Engineer which gives him authentic experience in the Medical Engineering industry.  Since this was an interview it is there were mainly concepts of logos and ethos, with all the knowledge I gained from this experience and the credibility of Derek Jewells.  Mario Kossmann is fairly credible due to him being a Systems Engineer and Capability Integrator for Airbus, created a journal entry looking into the importance of

Requirements Engineering, since it was published on a medical engineering journal its primary audience was engineers who are interested in Requirements Engineering.  This was mainly based on logos for it is based on how requirements can better the production time and the actual products being created.  John Morrissey discussed through a website article how technological advancement is changing health care.  The source this is from is Hospitals & Health Networks which is for hospital system executives and emerging leaders. This is primarily based on logos because Morrissey gives real examples of how technology is changing the medical practice like 3-D printing.  Although Victor W. Wong and Geoffrey C. Gurtner created an academic journal focusing on Tissue Engineers looking into the maintenance of long-lasting wounds. These two men are credible because Gurtners is a practicing surgeon and a professor at Stanford University in reconstructive surgery, material science, engineering, and bioengineering.  The reason Wong qualified is that he has a B.A. degree and is a Mechanical Engineer.  The audience for this viewpoint essay would be everyone in the medical field because the regeneration of skin would create a faster recovery time and more people that would survive chronic wounds.  The logos of this academic journal is examining how to correct chronic wounds.

These sources convey the influence Medical Engineers have had on the Medical domain.  With all the new technology coming into existence it has only made the medical field more productive and faster at diagnosing the patient.  All the areas when making a new product must work together to better engineer the product and stick to all the restrictions that had been put on the product.  Even though there are different engineers focusing on specific areas like Research and Development, Requirements, and Tissue they are making more advanced and faster medical equipment to improve the medical practice.  With modern technology rising it has influenced engineers because they can use that technology to better their equipment and create new products.

In conclusion Medical Engineers are creating new and enhancing old technology to create a better medical product.  This is extremely important because if they were to regenerative organs many lives would be saved and there would be less on the donor list.  The interview with Derek Jewells really shed some light on what it is truly like to be a Medical Engineer.  He had so much knowledge and advice about Medical Engineering.  There is extreme importance in Requirement Engineering if known creating a medical product flows smoother.  There are precise stipulations that must be followed for the product to run on schedule and stick to the budget which if not follow could lead to disaster.  With technology constantly improving so does medical equipment because there are new ways of making a product faster and more effective.  Tissue engineers are creating ways to regenerate skin cells for chronic wounds.  So many people would be helped if chronic wounds were healed because with the skin so complex there would be major advances with the knowledge of how to regenerate it. I believe that Medical Engineers are the biggest influence on the medical practice do to their involvement in medical devices. The medical practice wouldn’t have advanced at all if it weren’t for the development of new devices from Medical Engineers.

Work Cited

Atala, Anthony. Anthony Atala: Growing new organs | TED Talk, Oct. 2009, 13, Nov. 2017.

Jewell, Derek. “Personal Interview.” 2 Nov. 2017.

Kossmann, Mario. “The Significance of Requirements Engineering for the Medical Domain.” Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology, vol. 38, no. 5, July 2014, pp. 238-243. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3109/03091902.2014.918199. Oct 2017.

Morrissey, John. “The Medical Technologies That Are Changing Health Care.” Hospitals & Health Netwrks, 14 Apr. 2015, 12, Nov. 2017.

Wong, Victor W. and Geoffrey C. Gurtner. “Tissue Engineering for the Management of Chronic Wounds: Current Concepts and Future Perspectives.” Experimental Dermatology, vol. 21, no. 10, Oct. 2012, pp. 729-734. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0625.2012.01542.x. 6, Nov. 2017.

Keywords: engineering organs, interview, research and development engineer, requirements engineering, technology, tissue engineering

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