1985 Survey of Biomedical & Clinical Engineering Departments In U.S. Hospitals


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Abstract

The Journal of Clinical Engineering has conducted a broad scope survey of hospital biomedical and clinical engineering departments throughout the U.S. An earlier report provided salary and job responsibility data. This second report provides, for the first time, numerical data on the administration, facilities, budgets, department workload, personnel workload, employment benefits, quality assurance, and other professional aspects of the departments. The present report represents approximately 6% of all U.S. hospitals, 10% of all U.S. hospital beds, and over $1.1 Billion dollars worth of hospital equipment service responsibilities. Readers are cautioned not to use the statistical averages presented here as standards or guidelines because of the substantial and appropriate differences between departments. Nevertheless, the survey data provide a useful overview of the hospital-based clinical and biomedical engineering field. The survey determined that 58% of hospital biomedical activities are organized as separate departments reporting to hospital administration. From 1984 to 1985, department budgets increased by + 12% overall. While all budget categories increased, wages were the greatest factor (+ 11%). Teaching facilities have substantially higher budgets than non-teaching. Department floorspace increased + 3.2% from year to year. Nationwide, an average of 226 sq. ft. is used per department staff member. Department test equipment increased by + 11.4% from 1984 to 1985. During the same period, the total dollar value of equipment serviced by the departments increased by + 10.5% and the number of devices serviced increased by + 4.8%. Nationwide, the statistically average department serviced 2,220 devices worth $7,068,000. Department employment is growing at + 10.8% per year (teaching department staffs + 7.6%; non teaching + 15.9%). Employment of BMETs grew by + 8.6%; Clinical Engineers by + 11.5%. A measure called Devices Per Person was steady at 500 devices per person from year-to-year. A second measure called Beds Per Person was, on average, 95 beds per department staff member (lower in teaching, higher in non teaching). Other averages are 136 Beds/BMET; 402 Beds/CE; and 390 Beds/Supervisor. Hospital employment benefits are detailed. Only 23% of departments are now equipped to use telecommunications. Virtually all departments have major Q.C. procedures in place.

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