Evaluation of the impact of technical physicians on improving individual patient care with technology

Marleen Groenier*, Koen Spijkerboer, Lisanne Venix, Lars Bannink, Saskia Yperlaan, Quinten Eyck, Jeannette G. van Manen, Heleen A.Th Miedema

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: The rapid introduction of technical innovations in healthcare requires that professionals are adequately prepared for correct clinical use of medical technology. In response to the technological transformation of healthcare, a new type of professional, the Technical Physician (TP), was created and is trained to improve individual patient care using technology tailored to the needs of individual patients. This study investigates the TPs’ impact on patient care in terms of innovation, effectiveness, efficiency, and patient safety. Method: Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 30 TPs and 17 medical specialists (MSs) working in academic or teaching hospitals in the Netherlands. The pre-structured and open-ended interview questions focused on: 1) the perceived impact on innovation, effectiveness, efficiency, and safety, and 2) opportunities and challenges in daily work. Results: TPs and MSs unanimously experienced that TPs contributed to innovation. A majority indicated that effectiveness (TP 57%; MS 71%) and efficiency (TP 67%; MS 65%) of clinical practice had increased. For safety, 87% of TPs but only 47% of MSs reported an increase. The main explanation given for TPs positive impact was combining medical and technical knowledge. Mainly organizational barriers were mentioned as a potential cause for a less visible contribution of TPs. Conclusion and discussion: TPs and MSs unanimously agreed that TPs contributed to innovating patient care through their integrative medical and technical competencies. Most TPs and MSs also reported increased effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of patient care due to the TPs’ work. TPs and MSs expected that the TPs’ impact on direct and indirect patient care will be enhanced once organizational barriers are removed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number181
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Early online date23 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Medical devices
  • Medical education, health professions
  • Outcome assessment
  • Patient safety


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