The Bachelor's degree programme in Clinical Technology was launched six years ago. The aim of this new programme was to bridge the gap between medical experts and engineers. The prospects of clinical technologists on the job market are looking good. And rather than holding them back, the coronavirus pandemic now seems to be a driving force behind this process.
Collaboration between medicine and technology lies at the heart of the Clinical Technology programme. Clinical technologists look at the human body from an engineer’s perspective, working with the latest technologies in healthcare. This is a joint programme between TU Delft and the medical faculties at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University.
A clinical technologist is someone who understands both the technology and the medical side and can help to find solutions by forging a link between the two domains.
According to its Director of Studies, Pleun Hermsen, last year saw two crucial developments that will help boost the job market for clinical technologists. 'Since recently, they have been able to join the BIG-register of recognised healthcare professions. This gives clinical technologists a protected professional title and the power to perform certain medical procedures. They are also now permitted to initiate their own treatment processes and claim the costs. This is making it an increasingly interesting position for clinical practice.'
In Hermsen's view, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated crucial changes in healthcare: 'I sense that there has been a kind of paradigm shift and clinical technologists could turn out to be even more important than they already were.'
Forging a link
So, what exactly does a clinical technologist do? Hermsen: 'In healthcare, there are numerous unresolved medical problems where the embedding of technology can prove advantageous. A clinical technologist is someone who understands both the technology and the medical side and can help to find solutions by forging a link between the two domains.'
This fast-growing professional group is quickly spreading across the healthcare landscape.
That link is needed to bridge the age-old gap between doctors and engineers. Hermsen has previously described doctors’ reluctant attitude towards clinical technologists as ‘cold feet’. The end of that phase now appears to be in sight, agrees Tim Boers, who chairs the Dutch Association for Technical Medicine (NVvTG). 'This fast-growing professional group is quickly spreading across the healthcare landscape. As a result, our added value is being increasingly recognised.'
Invitation LDE Talks
On 8 December, at 15:30-16:30, doctors, clinical technologists and students will provide insights into the value of Clinical Technology and Technical Medicine. Sign up for this online information session here.