The Need for the Establishment of Biomedical Engineering (BME) as an Academic and Professional Discipline in the Philippines — A Quantitative Argument
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Background: This article quantitatively presents the relationship between volume of BME publications produced from 1990 to 2019 in the member states of the ASEAN and 12 indicators of overall and physical health. The objective was to show that ASEAN states that recognize BME as an academic and professional discipline have been successful in producing research in the field, and thus, have advanced the provision of high-quality healthcare for their people.
Results: Acceptable relationships [Pearson correlation coefficients (PCC) > 0.6000] were found between BME publication volume and all indicators. Stronger relationships (PCC > 0.7000) were found between BME publication volume and the natural logarithm of the indicators. Brunei data behaved anomalously and was removed to check for any improvements in PCC. Indeed, PCCs for all indicators improved significantly upon exclusion of Brunei data [PCC > 0.8000 for six indicators (linear scale), PCC > 0.9000 for five indicators (log scale)]. These PCCs signify especially strong relationships between BME research yield and healthcare quality in a country. To visualize the relationships, BME publication volume was plotted against GDP per capita, while the remaining 11 indicators were each plotted against BME publication volume. Linear, logarithmic, and exponential regression curves were overlaid on the datapoints. Coefficients of determination (R2) were calculated to measure the aptness of the fits. R2 > 0.9000 for two indicators, R2 > 0.8000 for five indicators, R2 > 0.7000 for four indicators, and R2 < 0.7000 for only one indicator were calculated from the curve fits overlaid on the datapoints excluding Brunei data.
Conclusion: We believe that it is time for the Philippines to adopt BME as an academic and professional discipline, so that it may one day enjoy the benefits brought about by advancements in the provision of healthcare, which are experienced by its neighbors that have gone ahead with movements to cultivate the highly essential discipline.