|March 26, 2016|
A Bio-Medical Equipment Technician, also referred to as a Biomedical Engineering Technologist (BMET) or Biomedical Equipment Specialist (BES) is a highly skilled technologist that ensures that medical equipment is safe, functional and properly configured. They are employed by hospitals, clinics, private sector, and the military. These persons install, inspect, maintain, repair, calibrate, modify and design biomedical equipment and support systems to adhere to medical standard guidelines. BMETs educate and advise staff and other agencies on theory of operation, basic physiological principles, and safe clinical application of biomedical equipment maintaining the facility's patient care and medical staff equipment.
The acceptance of the biomedical equipment technician in the private sector was given a big push in 1970 when consumer advocate Ralph Nader wrote an article in which he claimed, "At least 1,200 people a year are electrocuted and many more are killed or injured in needless electrical accidents in hospitals."
These technicians perform much work in the biomedical/clinical engineering field that consists of and cover a vast array of different fields and devices.
Examples of different areas of biomedical equipment technology are:
Radiographic and flouroscopic x-ray,
Film image processing,
Positron emission tomography (PET),
Computed Tomography (CT),
Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS),
Magnetic Resonance Imaging instrument (MRI scanner),
Respiratory Services (ventilators)
Computer Networking Systems integration,
Patient Monitoring, and Cardiac Diagnostics
BMETs work closely with nursing staff, and Medical Material personnel to obtain parts, supplies, and equipment and even closer with facility management to coordinate equipment installations requiring certain facility requirements/modifications.
BMETs must conform with safety regulations, and most biomedical systems must have documentation to show that they were managed, modified, tested, delivered, and used according to a planned, approved process that increases the quality and safety of diagnostics and therapeutic equipment and reduces the risk of harm to patients and staff.
In the United States, BMETs may operate under various different regulatory frameworks. Clinical devices and technologies are generally governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) particularly NFPA 99 and chapter 7, NFPA 70, Life Safety Code 101, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 21, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) hospital or Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care standards; and ensures compliance with these codes and standards for the US government registry of biomedical devices.
Other countries typically have their own mechanisms for regulation.
Traditionally, biomedical equipment technology has been an interdisciplinary field to specialize in after completing an Associate degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology, Biomedical Electronics Technology, or Biomedical Engineering Technology. Some BMETs get their training through the military.
Most entry-level BMETs enter into the field with a 2-year associate's degree in biomedical equipment technology, or they spend about one year in full-time military training. A 4-year graduate is an applied engineer who can perform the same medical equipment management duties as a clinical engineer , BMET Manager, or Director/Executive. Practical experience is gained through internships. Continuing education in the form of service schools is typically provided by specific medical device manufacturers.
Many BMETs pursue professional certification, such as satisfying certain education requirements and passing an examination to become a certified biomedical equipment technician (CBET). There are two other certifications BMETs can obtain such as: Certified Radiology Equipment Specialists (CRES), and Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialists (CLES). In many cases, carrying the title of "CBET" is highly encouraged, not mandatory, and is respected within the technical community.
In-House: BMETs work in the hospital's Biomedical or Clinical Engineering Department, but can also find employment with a third-party independent service organization (ISO) or original equipment manufacturer ( OEM).
BMETs working for an OEM or ISO are many times called Field Service Engineers (FSE). FSE are more narrowly focused and specialized technicians who support Service and Sales.
Both must face increased risk of contact with electrical, mechanical, high pressure steam, noise, blood borne diseases, LASERs, chemicals and nuclear contaminates.
All military members entering the BMET career field receive comprehensive down to the component level and theory technical training. Prior to 1998, Army and Navy BMETs received training at the United States Army Equipment and Optical School (USAMEOS) at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center (FAMC) in Aurora, Colorado. Only after a July 1995 Base Realignment Closure Commission decided to close FAMC did the Army and Navy merge with the Air Force, conducting training at the DoD Biomedical Equipment Technician Training School . This school has a partnership with Aims Community College where students receive 81 quarter credits (from the Community College of the Air Force) toward an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree with an emphasis in Biomedical Electronic Technology. In addition to the credits acquired from DoD BMET Training School, a minimum of 24 credits must be completed through Aims Community College to receive a degree.
United States Air Force
United States Army
United States Navy
History of the HM-8410 NEC Prior to establishment of the NEC's HM-8478 & HM-8479 there was one NEC of HM-8498 Medical Equipment Repairman. This Navy Corpsman was required to complete both basic and advance medical equipment repair training courses at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Denver, CO as one course of instruction. The navy had no basic repair tech. The total number of MER's in the navy was 92 until around 1974 when the numbers authorized was significantly increased and the basic repair tech NEC for the navy established. The basic course was a total of 15 weeks with the advance course being an additional approx. 36 weeks. The students enrolled after the period of 1969 could be awarded an AAS from Regis College(now Regis University) after completing a few additional courses. Later the school became affiliated with Colorado Technical College which the students again could be awarded an AAS with a few more courses and a BS with several additional semester hours of work.
October 30, 2006 - HM-8410 was established and HM-8732 NEC was disestabilshed. Former HM-8732s were DNEC and given the 8479 NEC. This was done only due to the fact that the HM-8732 was disestabilished.
HM-8732 billets were converted to HM-8479 billets.
January 1, 2007, HM-8478 and HM-8479 have converted to one NEC: HM-8410
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