Biomedical Engineering Department
Cork University Hospital
Phone +353 (0)21 4922849
The Biomedical Engineering Department is committed to providing Technical and Clinical Engineering and Managerial expertise, in line with best practices, in the identification, acquisition, and support of safe, effective, and economical technology as part of a healthcare professional team, in the provision, delivery, and advancement of patient care in a quality healthcare system
The Biomedical Engineering Department at Cork University Hospital was established in March 1993 to provide an in-house service and maintenance programme for medical devices equipment. Like the medical devices technologies themselves, the role has evolved into a much more sophisticated and complex one. Managerial skills as well as engineering skills are used to advise on and plan all aspects of medical equipment from pre-purchase to final decommissioning.
The Biomedical Engineering Department currently (July 2023) has twenty engineering and one administration support staff. Each of the engineers specialises in providing technical and clinical support for the diverse and complex medical devices equipment in the different clinical areas of the hospital, such as operating theatres, maternity services, intensive care units, dialysis, cardiology, endoscopy and laboratories, to list just some of the specialist areas.
Some of the medical devices equipment are maintained in-house by the engineers, some are on service contracts with the medical devices equipment suppliers, and some others are supported by a combination of in-house engineers and company engineers plus clinical specialists. Biomedical Engineering acts as a single point of contact for medical devices equipment service contracts. In collaboration with the various clinical areas we coordinate and collate the budget service contract costs for the Finance Department, ensuring that the costs are in line with both national agreements and tender outcomes. We work with the Purchasing Department who issue the relevant purchase order numbers.
The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) issues Safety Notices/Alerts pertaining to medical devices equipment on a monthly basis. The Biomedical Engineering Department, in collaboration with the Supplies Department, manages these alerts along with managing Manufacturer’s Field Safety Notices. Engineers liaise with the appropriate Head of Departments, Service Managers, Unit and or Ward Managers, depending on the medical devices equipment under their responsibility which are affected by the safety notices/alerts.
To ensure compliance with European Regulations, National HSE Financial Regulations, and National HSE Procurement Policies, procurement of medical devices equipment is managed by the HSE Health Business Services, Portfolio & Category Management. Engineers from the Biomedical Engineering Department form part of the multi-disciplinary Product Evaluation Group (PEG) as part of the tendering process. In these instances, we provide engineering expertise by formulating the necessary technical specifications that meets the clinical requirements. We perform the product evaluations with the other members of the PEG. Following purchase of devices, we assist in overseeing the installation and commissioning of them. We add these devices to the medical devices equipment asset database.
On an ongoing basis any work carried out on medical devices equipment is recorded so that when necessary the maintenance and repair records can be retrieved. Following any repair work, the appropriate functional, operational and safety tests are carried out in line with manufacturers documentation and recorded before the unit goes back into service.
To maintain the engineering expertise required, engineers attend specialized training provided by the equipment suppliers.
Engineers provide clinical support and consultancy services to the business managers, services managers, and medical staff and other H&SCP in their specialized area. Some engineers provide lectures and training to various clinical staff within the hospital such as the Anaesthetic Department and the School of Nursing on particular medical devices.
As the complexity, interconnectivity, and interdependence, of medical devices continues to grow, our engineers work closely in partnership with other engineering grades in the health sector such as those supporting and overseeing ICT, Hospital Networks, and Estates.