Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Physicians and engineers: boosting communication

         Observing the experiences acquired from an engineer studying to become a physician, a question comes to mind: how ally the acknowledgments from two areas apparently and practically too different? Some institutions are promoting symposiums to find a link between medical doctors and engineers aiming to achieve a better communication and consequently develop better projects in the future.

        The main issue consists in two different mindsets; while surgeons are looking for solutions to improve their acquired skills, engineers are trying to be more innovative developing devices with new capabilities able to accomplish the same task. The fact is that the medical expectation is different from the engineered progress. The engineers have a challenge between the innovation and the conventional medical practice.

        According to Dan Buckland, an engineer who is training to become a physician, communication between physicians and engineers can be sometimes a little noisy because of the way they are trained: “Engineers learn to always approach a problem from first principles, whereas physicians are trained to see problems from a categorical view”. This happens due to their distinct training, point of view and also because of their experiences and perspectives.

        Improving communication between both parts will drive to an optimum way of finding solutions. To work in cooperation, surgeons should realize that engineers are trained to solve problems by optimizing the results and they are not going to consider “surgeons’ way of doing” as optimal. Likewise, the experience of senior and junior surgeons is essential to help engineers to design innovative products to save lives and assist surgical procedures to become faster and more efficient.