The Role of an Expert in Medical Engineering in Japan
Pp. 210-219 (10)
Masashi Tagaya, Morihiro Matsuda, Shunsuke Ichikawa, Yasuyuki Nishi, Yasusuke Miyagatani and Toshiharu Kawamoto
Recent advancements in medical technology have led to development of
various medical equipment and have improved clinical outcomes. Management of
medical equipment requires expertise and knowledge of technical know-how, and there
is a growing need for professional engineers in clinical practice. In Japan, a clinical
engineer (CE) operates life-sustaining devices and provides maintenance management
of life-sustaining device; the term CE was officially established in 1987. CEs have
contributed to the development of a medical procedure by becoming technical experts.
In our hospital, the hyperbaric oxygen chamber operated by a CE was used to treat
patients diagnosed with sudden sensorineural hearing loss or decompression illness.
This job requires expertise of target illnesses. The oxygenator for cardiopulmonary
bypass surgery is also operated by a CE, and handling of this instrument needs an
inventive approach, as it directly affects the surgical outcome. For implantable cardiac devices, the CE helps to merge knowledge from the fields of electrophysiology and
engineering. Configuring accurate device programming improves patients’ prognoses.
Furthermore, not just life-sustaining devices but also various medical equipment are
centrally managed by the CE. Such management allows efficient use of the medical
In Japan, the CE contributes tremendously to clinical practice. CEs make the efficient
use medical procedures using inventive approach or by active participation or
management of these devices.
Cardiopulmonary bypass, Clinical engineering, Hyperbaric oxygen
therapy, Implantable cardiac device.
Department of Medical Engineering, National Hospital Organization Kure Medical Center and Chugoku Cancer Center, 3-1 Aoyama-cho, Kure 737-0023, Japan.