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Wrong Joel Nobel?

Dr. Joel J. Nobel

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Background Information

Employment History


The Independent Institute

Founder and President Emeritus

ECRI incorporated




Board Member
Consumers Union

U.S. Naval Institute

Society of Critical Care Medicine

Philadelphia County Medical Society

Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation

American Society for Quality

American National Standards Institute

American Medical Association

American Hospital Association

American Heart Association Inc

Society for Advanced Medical Systems

Pennsylvania Medical Association

Navy League

Instrument Society of America

American Society for Hospital Engineering

American Society of Anesthesiologists

Submarine League

Member of Publication Policy Committee


National Board of Medical Examiners

Thomas Jefferson University Medical College


ECRI Institute

Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors

Haverford College





Emergency Care Research Institute

Master of Arts degree

international relations

University of Pennsylvania

Web References (195 Total References)

JoelJNobel [cached]

Joel J. Nobel, MD (2015)

Joel J. Nobel, MD (2015)
Joel J. Nobel, MD
Dr. Nobel is nominated for excellence in innovation, influence on CE, and technology evaluation in the US and the world. Here is a glimpse at the supporting material for his nomination.
Dr. Nobel is widely known and recognized as one of the pioneers of the application of engineering and managerial skills to support and advance patient care through technology.  Although educated and practiced as a physician, he was never shy in crossing over to and working with engineering and other professionals to advance patient care through safe and judicious use of technology.
While a surgical resident, he designed and developed a mobile emergency life support and resuscitation system, called MAX, which was the precursor of the modern crash cart used throughout the world, saving countless lives.  While developing an integrated Emergency Command System to respond to resuscitation and other emergencies, Dr. Nobel discovered that 9 out of 18 models of resuscitators were ineffective.  This discovery motivated him to found in 1968 a non-profit organization dedicated to the testing and evaluation of medical devices initially called the Emergency Care Research Institute, now known as ECRI Institute.
Under Dr. Nobel's leadership, ECRI became a worldwide reference for technology assessment, product evaluation, risk management, and clinical engineering, including numerous publications such as Health Devices, Health Devices Alerts, Health Devices Sourcebook, and Healthcare Product Comparison System.  In addition to supporting American hospital and healthcare institutions, Dr. Nobel expanded ECRI's activities to numerous other countries, including industrialized countries in Europe and developing countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.  In the latter countries, he worked closely with health authorities at the level of ministries of health to help them understand and improve the management of health technology issues.  These efforts eventually led to the recognition of ECRI by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of its Collaborating Centers in health technologies.
In addition to his efforts within ECRI, Dr. Nobel started in early 70's a shared services program with a grant provided by the WK Kellogg Foundation.  This program grew from humble beginnings to support 143 hospitals on the East Coast before it was span off as an independent for-profit entity (called ISS Solutions).  This initiative, along with similar ones in other regions of the country, eventually led to the creation of independent service organizations (ISOs).  The growth of ISOs expanded considerably the field of clinical engineering (CE) in the USA, reduced substantially the cost of technology maintenance and management, while simultaneously reduced costs to healthcare organizations and improved care to patients.
In the process of establishing ECRI, ISS, and numerous international activities, Dr. Nobel recruited, trained, and served as an inspiration for hundreds of CE professionals worldwide.  His dedication to truth, objectivity, and honesty served as model for all those who wanted to contribute to the advancement of CE.  His legacy was widely acknowledged at the time of his passing last August.
In essence, Dr. Nobel's illustrious career met all the criteria for induction into the CE Hall of Fame.  By inventing MAX and creating ECRI, he proved to be an innovator.  By leading ECRI activities, he made impactful contributions to the development and growth of CE.  By recruiting, training and inspiring new CE professionals, he influenced greatly those persons, the healthcare industry, and the society at large.  By expanding ECRI and his personal activities internationally, his contributions reached CE professionals, clinical users, regulatory authorities, patients, and society at large in numerous countries.

The previous winners of this award ... [cached]

The previous winners of this award are Joel Nobel, MD, founder of the ECRI Institute; Adam Darkins, MD, leader of the National Telehealth Programs for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and Douglas Grey, MD, who retired from Kaiser Permanente in 2012.

Joel Nobel, ... [cached]

Joel Nobel, MD

Joel Nobel, MD
?The HTM Champion Award winner is Joel Nobel, MD. Joel Nobel was the founder ECRI Institute, a USA based nonprofit nongovernmental organization engaged in health services research. He developed ECRI Institute's overall policies and programs, such as its HTA, product evaluation, risk management, and technical assistance services for the health community. He created the concepts and operating plans for Health Devices, Health Devices Alerts, the Health Devices Sourcebook, the Healthcare Product Comparison System, and many other publications. He also developed ECRI Institute's international programs and its related World Health Organization activities.
ECRI Institute was conceived in 1965 when, as a resident in surgery, Dr. Nobel developed an ongoing research program in resuscitation and emergency care. ECRI Institute's development was intensified when he completed military service in 1968 and became ECRI Institute's full time scientific director. In 1978, he became president, serving until 2005. Many clinical engineers over the past 50 years and the wider CE/HTM profession owe much to who he was and the work he encouraged. This award focuses on how he has changed the profession of Clinical Engineering. A friend and colleague notes: A large group of newly minted 'clinical engineers' met Dr. Joel Nobel at ECRI as new recruits when we were fresh out of college in 1975, when he was about 40 years old. He was clearly a "Man on a Mission" to save patients from pain and injury from defective medical devices, and to improve the efficiency, efficacy, and safety of healthcare. In retrospect, we now know that Joel was decades ahead of his time, but we also learned that neither past history nor the status quo could deter him one little bit! The good Doctor handed each of ECRI's new clinical engineering recruits in the 1970's a loose-leaf binder chock full of rigorous Employee Handbook rules and a bright red Swiss Army knife, and then threw each of us into our first "mission. We were assigned specific medical technology investigations, often outside our college education, with a mandate to learn the scientific, engineering, and medical principles, find the flaws in each product, identify constructive remedies where possible, write up our reports, submit to daunting internal scientific and peer review, publish our results, and then present our findings in public conferences. TALL order for 21-year olds on their first jobs, but Joel Nobel's faith in this crew of young clinical engineers, and his firm direction and discipline, allowed an awful lot of them to succeed beyond their wildest dreams! We should really laugh at ourselves for the trust Joel placed in each of them at such young ages. In only a few years, many found themselves presenting keynote speeches on his behalf at national and international scientific and medical sessions. Initially, most had little more than a Bachelor's Degree and Dr. Nobel's 'say-so' to back them up, too! He would sagely counsel: "Just stick to what you know, and don't let anyone draw you onto their turf. You know more about that product than anyone else in the nation, so stick to your guns." "Few would deny that Dr. Nobel's intellectual capacity was tough to keep up with. He seemed to sleep but a couple of hours a night, and regardless of your medical, engineering, scientific, or legal specialty his habit of endless reading and his sharp, critical mind ensured that everyone needed to bring his or her "A-game" when you talked to him. Holidays and vacations seemed of little interest to him unless tied to a working mission or project, and the concept of retirement seemed unfathomable. Dr. Nobel never, ever sat still, and tracking him down around the globe was a challenge until the end! Not sure most of us would trade our own lives for his, but it seemed those choices afforded him the constant cultural and scientific renewal and impact that made him tick. You will certainly read of Dr. Nobel's accomplishments in the future, but most of the accounts will be humble re-telling of a legacy that did - and will continue to - motivate and empower clinical engineers to improve healthcare around the planet in remarkable and important ways. In the early days, half or more of the medical devices his engineers tested were at best mediocre, and many were a threat to life and/or limb. Fortunately, thanks to the way Dr. Nobel crafted ECRI's hard-hitting and trustworthy testing and published reviews, today such testing reveals good-to-excellent products in the US market that are more commonly differentiated on features, ownership cost, and preference, not safety. Elliot Sloane, a former ACCE president, stated: "To me, early in my career Joel was like a second father, and leaving him and ECRI to expand my own clinical engineering career was not an easy decision to make in 1990.
Honor is due: on ACCE's 25th Anniversary it is worth noting that most of our founding members in 1990 already had great appreciation for Dr. Nobel's leadership in the clinical engineering field.

Quackwatch Medical Advisory Board [cached]

Joel J. Nobel, MD President, ECRI

Who is who in APFA [cached]

Risk Management in Healthcare Services, National Conference by Dr. Joel Nobel, President of ECRI.

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