Title Enabling and Benefitting Patients, Fostering Independence Clinical Biomedical Engineering Solutions
Type Stage Two
Code HPE317
Requirement Compulsory

Module objective

By the end of this module the Clinical Scientist in HSST will be able to analyse and synthesise their understanding of the importance of enabling & benefiting patients and fostering independence using clinical biomedical engineering solutions to: 

  • support patients who by virtue of an inherited/congenital condition, accident, or disease(s) become impaired in their ability to be as independent as possible.
  • provide an overview on how the independence, community integration, and well-being of individuals with long term conditions can be improved through the increased use of and access to technology;
  • examine existing and emerging technologies, with a focus on technologies most likely to be employed (“straddling promise and reality”) to improve health outcomes.
  • identify barriers to deployment and adoption (and abandonment) of technologies. 

They will also be able to seek and critically evaluate evidence from a variety of sources and analyse their responses to normal or unusual circumstances, consistently demonstrating the professional attributes and insights required of a Consultant Clinical Scientist.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this module the Clinical Scientist in HSST will be able to analyse, synthesise and critically apply their expert knowledge with respect to the challenges and promises offered by technologies to benefit and enable patients and foster independent living spanning issues such as:

The Challenges

  • High technology is not necessarily the answer to every problem. Relatively simple technologies are needed to solve common but extremely complex problems, such as going to the bathroom or getting out of bed. (Fernie)
  • Many excellent technologies are not widely used for a variety for reasons, including
  • Inadequate reimbursement, insufficient funding for translational research and technology and a lack of collaboration and training among technology developers and providers. (Cooper)
  • Because families are smaller today than in the past, fewer children are present to care for parents, and many of them live farther away and have jobs. (Coughlin)
  • Until technologies that are obvious, easy, relatively affordable, and sensible are widely available, the market will have failed the people who could benefit from those (Coughlin)
  • Interoperability and interconnectivity of different technologies, such as between health care systems and devices, are necessary to facilitate the exchange of information and to ensure the continuity of information and care especially for individuals who receive care from, or transition between, multiple care provider organizations. (Alwan)

The Promise

  • The convergence of aging and disability has created an economic and political opportunity to rewrite the narrative of aging. (Coughlin)
  • Technology can both prevent disabilities and provide people who have limitations with as much mobility and freedom as possible. (Fernie)
  • Technologies can make life possible for individuals with diseases that in the past would have ended their lives. (Saling)
  • Universal design, in which all homes include the features needed to accommodate
  • Limitations, can benefit everyone who lives in or visits those homes. (Cooper)
  • More accessible and useful transportation can meet the needs of people with disabilities and could have widespread benefits for all travellers. (Yousuf)
  • Workplace accommodations are about more than the performance of work tasks; they also can create participation in the workplace that leads to a sense of belonging, inclusion, and recognition that work is adding value to the organization. (Sanford)
  • Maintaining accessibility across all Web environments is essential for healthy aging, whether someone has a disability or not. (Brewer)
  • The Web will not be usable and available to all people without devoting effort to accessibility initiatives that shape the shared public infrastructure. (Lewis)
  • Monitoring health conditions among older people using newer methods of biomonitoring can improve health but still face technological and cultural barriers. (Agostini)
  • Technological advances, motivational influences on behavior, and cultural change among individuals and in communities are enhancing the capacity of rehabilitation science to forestall the onset of disability. (Winstein)
  • When automated interactions between the health care system and patients more closely emulate human-to-human interaction, they can better promote accessibility, engagement, adherence, and retention. (Bickmore)
  • The disabling process, recognising it has four major components: pathology, impairment, functional limitation, and application of the WHO ICF nomenclature
  • The models of disability, eg IOM Enabling-disabling
  • Functional capacity index and the 10 dimensions of function, (cardiopulmonary function and pain are excluded as functional categories, recognising the former is essential to other functional elements and the latter is seen as an impairment to functional capacity).

Technical and clinical skills

By the end of this module the Clinical Scientist in HSST will be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of current research and its application to the performance and mastery of the following technical skills:

  • Identification, evaluation and implementation of technologies to promote activities of daily living and independence, addressing functional capacity
    • Locomotion – Mobility systems
    • Hand and arm manipulation
    • Bending and lifting
    • Eating
    • Elimination
    • Sexual function
    • Visual function
    • Auditory function
    • Speech
    • Cognitive function
  • Ability to identify and supply appropriate additional supporting technologies
    • Environmental systems
    • Communication systems
    • Technologies to promote social connectedness
    • Personal health monitoring
  • Identify the role of Clinical Biomedical Engineering in specific health conditions and clinical presentations  e.g. Falls prevention
  • Strengthen the science. Develop and validate accurate tools for measuring and predicting functional limitations, disability, and outcomes.
  • Focus on the enabling–disabling process. Investigate critical factors in the physical, social, and psychological environments that can affect transitions in the enabling–disabling process over the life course.
  • Transfer the technology. Develop and implement effective linkages between research and practice that will involve consumers, assure quality, and enhance service delivery.

By the end of this module the Clinical Scientist in HSST will be expected to critically reflect and apply in practice a range of clinical and communication skills to advise and communicate effectively with patients, relevant clinicians, patients and the public and other healthcare professionals and will:

  • provide altered supportive environments for people with long term and/or rapidly deteriorating conditions.
  • develop strategic partnerships among acute, primary care, and long-term services to aid the adoption of technologies.
  • support the development of technologies by having individuals using them in their homes and communities, to determine effectiveness and what is needed.

The Clinical Scientist in HSST will also be expected to reflect on the challenges of applying research to practice and suggest improvements, building on a critique of available evidence.

Attitudes and behaviours

By the end of this module the Clinical Scientist in HSST will be expected to evaluate their own response to both normal and complex situations demonstrating the professional attributes and insights required of a Consultant Clinical Scientist working within the limits of professional competence referring as appropriate to senior staff and will:

  • be proactive in identification of technological change required in the institution for patient benefit to keep healthcare at the limits of science
  • be mindful of the ethos and constitution of the NHS in ensuring best outcomes for patients.


Code Title Action
HPE3-1-20 Clinical Biomedical Engineering [v1] View