Biomedical Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Chapter 2
Emerging Issues in Healthcare
2.1 Medicine and Technology in Healthcare Services
We live in a world pervaded by technology. Smart systems have invaded our
spaces to provide us with new services and more comfort. Healthcare has also
become technologically dependent in several applications: from diagnosis to ther-
apy and telemedicine services, all of these processes require technology—and spe-
cifically biomedical technology—to be carried out. Indeed, one of the first field of
exploration of how to apply technological advances is human health.
Biomedical technologies are in general medical equipment used to diagnose
and treat various diseases, ranging from simple devices to complex systems. As
internationally agreed, the biomedical instrumentation can be classified according
to its use, i.e. the purpose it is used for. Thus we have:
• diagnostic devices;
• therapeutic devices;
• rehabilitation devices.
Diagnostic biomedical instrumentation includes all the equipments used for diag-
nosis. It consists of a very wide category of devices, ranging for laboratory machines
(e.g. for the analysis of blood samples), to complex systems for multidimensional
and multimodal bio-image recording, and also very simple items such as a thermom-
eter. In the last years, this category was “populated” by a lot of systems for collecting
biomedical images and specifically most of the equipment used in nuclear medicine
and radiology using imaging techniques for diagnostic purposes. Among the most
representative examples we can mention X-ray radiography, computed tomography
(CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET),
computed tomography; single photon emission tomography (SPECT), and also ech-
ography in all its several applications. Also bioelectrical potential recording devices
(Electrocardiography—ECG or EKG, electroencephalography—EEG, electromyo-
graphy—EMG, electroneurography—ENG, electrooculography—EOG) are another
very broad and widespread class of instruments belonging to this category (Fig. 2.1 ).
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