Many biomedical engineering technologists work in hospitals. They inspect, maintain, repair and install biomedical equipment. This can include:
- heart-lung machines
- kidney dialysis machines
- physiological monitors
- lab equipment
- infusion devices
- physiotherapy equipment
- diagnostic imaging equipment
- laser equipment
- laparoscopic equipment
- infant incubators
- anesthesia apparatus
- dental equipment.
Biomedical engineering technologists do performance assurance testing and preventive maintenance. This ensures equipment works properly and is safe. It can also reveal potential problems, which may save costly repairs and downtime.
They also inspect and test equipment to ensure quality and manage risks.
When a device is not working, they find out why. Sometimes the problem is simple or caused by user error. Other times they take the device out of service to look into the problem more. This may involve:
- finding the fault
- taking the device apart
- repairing or replacing parts or circuit boards
- calibrating the device
- testing the device (before sending it back into service)
- inspecting and testing accessories related to the device’s function
- advising hospital staff and management if equipment needs to be replaced
- doing preventive maintenance
- negotiating terms of service with manufacturers or third-party service providers.
Biomedical engineering technologists advise on equipment specifications. They may also help assess proposed equipment and facility designs.
Biomedical engineering technologists may also:
- write operating procedures
- develop preventive maintenance protocols
- install equipment or parts
- check the quality of junior technologists’ work (in certain circumstances)
- alter equipment to meet operating or research needs
- teach hospital staff and researchers how to use equipment.
Biomedical engineering technologists may also work for medical equipment makers or distributors. In these roles, they:
- manage service contracts and customer relations
- maintain service records (as required by Health Canada and the FDA)
- report incidents or potential incidents related to equipment (in accordance with Health Canada and FDA regulations)
- maintain the calibration of certified test equipment
- get regular training to keep up with changes in technology.
Much of the work involves assessing equipment needs. They do this with doctors, administrators, engineers, and other professionals. Some may help design, develop, and test new medical equipment and products.
Technology is changing the nature of biomedical equipment. For example, x-ray machines now capture electronic images, while patient monitors communicate through wireless networks. To keep up, biomedical engineering technologists spend a lot of time studying manuals and attending training sessions.