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This profile was last updated on 4/6/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Joel J. Nobel

Wrong Dr. Joel J. Nobel?

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Board Member
    Consumers Union Foundation


  • M.D.
  • Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors
    Haverford College
  • Master of Arts degree , international relations
    University of Pennsylvania
  • Thomas Jefferson University Medical College
  • National Board of Medical Examiners
103 Total References
Web References
Joel Nobel, M.D., 5 Feb 2008 [cached]
Joel J. Nobel, M.D.
Founder and President Emeritus
Joel Nobel is the founder of ECRI, currently known as ECRI Institute, a U.S.‑based nonprofit nongovernmental organization engaged in health services research.He developed ECRI Institute's overall policies and programs, such as its healthcare technology assessment, 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 (HPCS), and many other ECRI Institute publications.He also developed ECRI Institute's international programs and its related World Health Organization (WHO) 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 Dr. Nobel completed military service in 1968 and became ECRI Institute's full‑time scientific director.In 1978, he became president and was elected to the Board of Trustees.
Dr. Nobel has been the principal investigator for a number of federal-, state-, and foundation‑funded research and demonstration projects.He has published more than 170 scientific papers and book chapters related to emergency medical services, healthcare technology, medical device safety, risk management, biomedical engineering, and hospital design.He has also lectured extensively on these and other subjects in 29 countries.
In 1968, supported by a federal demonstration grant, he conceived and implemented the Hospital Emergency Command System in three test hospitals.It provided instantaneous and simultaneous mobilization and control of telecommunications, emergency equipment, elevators, and pagers of key personnel to respond to resuscitation and other life-threatening emergencies.He also developed a unique, federally funded, cardiopulmonary resuscitation research program and evaluated all related equipment on the market.His 1969 report showed that 9 of the 18 models of resuscitators sold in the United States were ineffective, and their manufacturers withdrew them from the marketplace.
In 1970, Dr. Nobel conceived a formal program, modeled after Consumer Reports, to evaluate competing brands and models of medical equipment used by hospitals, and he developed the testing laboratories and staff needed.Health Devices, ECRI Institute's monthly journal began publication in April 1971 and continues to serve the health community more than three decades later with comparative evaluations of a wide range of medical products and investigative reports of hazardous equipment and harm to patients.Joel Nobel wrote the first published protocol for management of medical equipment, operation of clinical engineering departments, and accident investigation and provided model record-keeping systems.It was published in the July 1971 issue of Health Devices.He also introduced the concept and application of life cycle cost analysis to medical equipment procurement.
In 1973, Dr. Nobel began development of ECRI Institute's Universal Medical Device Nomenclature Systemâ€"the first effort to implement a worldwide common language for medical technology.That system is in use by more than 5,000 institutions in more than 60 nations, was adopted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine for its Unified Medical Language System (UMLS), and was adopted by the European Union as its interim system and as the substrate for the Global Medical Device Nomenclature.
In 1974 supported by a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, he developed ECRI Shared Services in response to several state hospital associations that wished to support their member hospitals' need for biomedical engineering services.Ten regional centers on the East Coast served 143 hospitalsâ€"one of the largest programs in the United States.
In 1976, Dr. Nobel conceived and began publication of Health Devices Alertsâ€"an extensive worldwide database of medical product defects and problems and, in 1977, created the Health Devices Sourcebook, a directory of medical device and equipment suppliers and their products sold in North America.
In 1985, Dr. Nobel initiated an international working group to exchange information and undertake joint studies with directors from six European laboratories that also evaluated medical equipment.Dr. Nobel has a special interest in international health issues, has traveled to more than 70 countries, and works closely with ministries of health, health organizations, and hospitals worldwide.
In 1986, supported by a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, Dr. Nobel initiated ECRI Institute's first technology assessment program.Its continuing development has brought ECRI Institute an extraordinary international reputation for excellence in this challenging multidisciplinary arena and led to designation of ECRI Institute as an evidence-based practice center by the federal government.
In 1988, Dr. Nobel was invited by WHO to apply for special Collaborating Center status for ECRI Institute, and ECRI Institute has since fulfilled a growing international role.He directed the establishment of offices in the United Kingdom (1996) to serve Europe, in Malaysia (1997) to serve the Southeast Asia-Western Pacific region, and in Dubai (1999) to serve the Arabic nations.
In 1992, Dr. Nobel directed a unique project on technology assessment; planning, procurement, and management of medical equipment; and clinical laboratory and radiological quality assurance practices for the Ministry of Health of Turkey.The project, which also produced an essential equipment list system and acquisition priorities for 4,500 different medical products, was a prototype for the health systems of other developing countries and led him to develop similar projects in Bahrain, Oman, and other nations.The success of these projects led him to press development of ECRI Institute's medical equipment planning services and related software, now well proven in a series of projects in several nations for new hospitals and major renovations.
In 1997, he developed a project to monitor the quality of work undertaken by private contractors for the Ministry of Health of Malaysia.This was followed by projects in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, and additional projects in Malaysia.That same year, the Institution of Engineers of Australia selected Dr. Nobel for its Eminent Speaker Program and a five-city speaking tour.In 2003 he was appointed Chairman of the Arab Health Awards Program, an annual event in Dubai.
Between 1968 and 2006 Dr. Nobel directly participated in hundreds of consulting projects, often as the project leader.Among these projects have been hospital and clinic development programs in various countries in which he undertook feasibility studies, prepared project briefs and worked closely with architects, consulting engineers, equipment planners and interior designers in the schematic and design development phases.Much of his work has been focused on design review of facility drawings and design and development of critical care units.
Under Dr. Nobel's leadership, ECRI Institute grew to a full-time staff of 250, which has served thousands of hospitals, health systems, government health agencies, and others in scores of countries.In the management arena, Joel Nobel put in place processes and standards that came far later in most other organizations.A few examples include a prohibition on smoking throughout ECRI Institute facilities in 1968 and an on-site day care center in 1970.In 1971, Joel Nobel also crafted uniquely tough conflict-of-interest rules for ECRI Institute and all its employees to protect the organization's reputation for scientific and business integrityâ€"rules that are, even today, tougher than any other institution's.In employment contracts, he made employees personally liable for the financial consequences if, as individuals, they were the cause of a sexual harassment suit against the institution.
In 2007 Joel Nobel received the first Annual Praxis Award in Professional Ethics from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of Villanova University
Dr. Nobel has testified before the U.S. Congress on proposed legislation, ranging from national telecommunications policy to medical device regulation, and has served as a consultant to many federal, voluntary, and international agencies as well as scores of ministries and departments of health and hospitals.Among them have been the American Heart Association, American Hospital Association, American Society for Quality Control, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Inter‑Society Commission on Heart Disease Resources, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, U.S. National Institutes of Health, National War College, Veterans Administration, and the World Health Organization (WHO).He also re
Joel Nobel ECRI ..., 20 Aug 2014 [cached]
Joel Nobel ECRI Institute founder and President Emeritus Joel J. Nobel, MD, passed away Aug. 13. He was 79.
Nobel of Gladwyne, PA, conceived of the idea for ECRI Institute in 1965 as a resident in surgery when he developed a research program in resuscitation and emergency care. He spent one year as a general surgical resident at Pennsylvania Hospital, during which he designed and developed MAX, a mobile emergency life-support and resuscitation system that reduced the time and number of physicians and nurses needed to start and maintain critical life support measures.
In 1969, ECRI, then known then as Emergency Care Research Institute, published the first comparative evaluation of manual resuscitators, which showed that nine of the 18 models sold in the United States were ineffective. The manufacturers then withdrew them from the market. He recalled that experience as the featured speaker during the Dwight E. Harken Memorial Lecture and Awards Luncheon at the 2003 AAMI Conference & Expo.
The following year, Nobel devised a program modeled after Consumer Reports, to evaluate competing brands and models of medical equipment used by hospitals. ECRI's monthly journal Health Devices began publication in April 1971 and continues its publication to this day.
Nobel was a medical officer in the U.S. Navy until 1968. He developed concepts for improved periscope observation capabilities, employing television light amplification, image and data capture and target matching, according to his biography on ECRI's website.
"While there is no way for all of us to truly know just how much Joel contributed to the world, we all know that he made a huge difference. Quite simply, the world is a better place because of Joel," said Anthony J. Montagnolo, ECRI's chief operating officer, in a prepared statement.
"Joel was another forward thinking pioneer in the field of medical instrumentation who helped a then young field grow and prosper," added former AAMI President Mike Miller.
"During my 40 years at AAMI, I always worked well with Joel both personally and professionally. I think AAMI and ECRI worked well together because Joel and I knew that, for the most part, we were striving for the same goals-although often in different ways and at times with distinct and changing constituencies. Through it all, AAMI members respected Joel's and ECRI's credibility and objectivity and contributions to patient safety."
Nobel is survived by his wife Qingqing, his daughter Erika, and his sons Josh and Adam.
Read Tributes from collegues and friends ..., 24 Aug 2014 [cached]
Read Tributes from collegues and friends | Joel J. Nobel, MD, December 8, 1934 – August 13, 2014 American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE)
Our Tribute to Dr. Joel Nobel, Founder and President Emeritus of ECRI Institute
Joel J. Nobel, MD
Joel J. Nobel, MD, December 8, 1934 - August 13, 2014
I had the pleasure to work with Joel Nobel for almost 30 years. Our most recent conversation was about a month ago related to an invitation he received to be a keynote speaker at an upcoming Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) conference on the reuse of single use medical devices. Joel had politely declined the invitation and asked me to find another ECRI colleague to fill in for him. During our conversation his voice sounded weak and I could understand how he may not have been up for a trip to Saudi Arabia. Little did I know that it would be the last time we would speak.
ECRI Institute has been receiving tributes from all over the world since we learned of Dr. Nobel's death. An e-mail from one of our SFDA colleagues I think says it best about how influential he was to so many. I quote, "this news falling like a rocket over my head! As you can imagine, the ECRI Institute offices have been a somber place since we learned of Dr. Nobel's passing. Those of us who worked closely with him felt like we got hit by that rocket.
Read more
I've had a hard time picturing an ECRI Institute without Dr. Nobel. He was such a force of nature and had his strong hands on so much of our operations. It's sensible to ask how we can figure a way forward without him. But among Dr. Nobel's many gifts I think that the most important was how he was able to impart his knowledge and wisdom, entrepreneurial spirit, and sense of purpose to so many individuals. That definitely applies to ECRI Institute. Visitors to ECRI Institute are often amazed at how many staff have worked here for decades. We're also proud of our many colleagues who have come back to the fold after working elsewhere. We stayed or returned because we believe in the amazing mission he started nearly 50 years ago. And, although we are sad that Dr. Nobel has passed away, we are so confident in what he has taught us over the years that we feel well prepared to carry on.
As I am winding down my final days as ACCE President, I feel honored to have represented ECRI Institute and, in effect, Joel Nobel in this role. The Clinical Engineering profession owes Dr. Nobel a huge debt of gratitude. He literally got us off the ground and has been our guide for nearly 50 years through the services he ran and provided at ECRI Institute. Just like the legacy that he left with ECRI Institute, ACCE's membership is filled with those who were influenced by and learned from Joel.
I am also very confident that ACCE has a strong future. A big part of that comes from what many of us in ACCE were taught by Joel. It's that we should do it for the patients, do it well, and do it with honesty and integrity. If you would like to learn more about Joel Nobel and his legacy, click here for an ECRI Institute tribute. ECRI Institute will be organizing a formal memorial event in Dr. Nobel's honor sometime during the fall of 2014. I'll be sure to keep the ACCE community informed about this and any other memorial-related activities.
Thanks for all you have done Joel.
Since I entered the profession, Dr. Joel Nobel was a person to be respected and a force to be reckoned with.
He was a pioneer, locally and globally, and encouraged many of us to take the profession to greater heights and deeper depths.
I am thankful for his friendship, his attention to meticulous science, and the organization that he created that has added great value to the US and the world.
When I met Dr. Joel Nobel at ECRI I was fresh out of college in 1975 and 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 and efficacy of healthcare. In retrospect, I now know that Joel was decades ahead of his time, and I learned that did not deter him one little bit!
I have to laugh to myself for the trust Joel placed in each of us as such young ages. In only a few years, many of us found ourselves presenting keynote speeches on his behalf at national and international scientific and medical sessions, and most of us had little more than a Bachelor's Degree and Dr. Nobel's say-so to back us up. As he sagely told me while calming my jitters before one of my first national debuts, "Just stick to what you know, Elliot, 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."
I have to admit that Dr. Nobel was never easy 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 that was a choice that afforded him the constant cultural and scientific renewal and impact that made him tick.
I still hearken too many of the rules and explanations in that Employee Handbook, even though I've not been an employee at ECRI Institute for 25 years. Pearls like "a non-profit organization is not like most other corporations" as he tried to make it clear to everyone that ECRI's public mission and integrity took precedent over profit or rewards. Firm guidelines about spending funds as frugally as if they were your own personal money regardless of the situation, and incredibly restrictive conflict-of-interest and disclosure rules for each and every employee are today embedded in IRS and FDA guidelines and their peers around the world. I, and the non-profit organizations that I lead strive to live up to those requirements each and every day!
When I talked to Dr. Nobel as recently as last year, he had lost none of his missionary bravado, focus, or acuity, and his global treks were only limited by the wear and tear of travel. No country was too small, and no slice of society was unworthy of his time and attention. Unfortunately, though blessed with a brilliant mind and visionary perspective, his solid, stocky body turned out to be less robust than his intellect. Though I probably had close to a foot of height advantage over him, he was never less than a giant in my mind. I am sure that I won't be the only one to remember him that way, either!
You will certainly read of Dr. Nobel's accomplishments in the future, but I can tell you first hand that most of the accounts will be humble re-telling of a legacy that did -- and will continue 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. Today, though, most such testing reveals good-to-excellent products in the US market that are differentiated on features, price, and preference. That is quite an achievement, and it was won one year at a time relying on Dr. Nobel's commitment to "The Discipline of Science. and "The Integrity of Independence. That is the current marketing byline that the ECRI Institute that Joel founded, and it speaks volumes about the organizations ongoing mission.
Personally, few will know of Joel's wry humor and bent towards practical jokes, and few will know just how far he would go to help a younger engineer or physician develop a successful career. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his training, discipline, and visionary leadership, and can honestly help say that Dr. Nobel helped shape my career and life.
There are probably several other hundreds of my peers around the world -- younger and older -- who will have similar recollections and feelings, and I hope they all eventually say their piece. To me, early in my career Joel was like a second father, and leaving him and ECRI to expand my own career was not an easy decision for me to make in 1990, but he knew, too, that it was time for me to move on, and his friendship and support for me and many others proved to be unending. Farewell my dear friend.
I do not know how many of you know who Dr. Joel Nobel was or had the pleasure to meet and speak with him. I had the opportunity of working with him for five years. Dr. Nobel was the Founder and President of what was then the Emergenc
ECRI Institute, 1 Aug 2014 [cached]
In Memoriam: Joel Nobel, MD, Pioneer in Patient Safety and Founder of ECRI Institute
In Memoriam: Joel Nobel, MD, Pioneer in Patient Safety and Founder of ECRI Institute Founded the non-profit organization with strict conflict-of-interest rules to ensure independence and trust
Plymouth Meeting, PA-ECRI Institute, an independent non-profit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, sadly reports the death of its founder and president emeritus, Joel J. Nobel, MD. Dr. Nobel founded ECRI Institute in 1968 with a mission to improve the safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness of healthcare. He provided hands-on leadership for 34 years. A physician, inventor, and researcher, Dr. Nobel's remarkable vision and work led to many patient safety and technology improvements.
Arab Health Innovation & Achievement Awards, 29 Jan 2014 [cached]
The judges included Dr. Fadi El-Jardali, Health Management and Policy, American University of Beirut, Accreditation Canada; Dr. Joel J. Nobel, Founder and President Emeritus, ECRI; Dr Lena Low, Acting Chief Executive, The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards; Ashraf Ismail, Managing Director, Middle East International Office, Joint Commission International; Jan Schmitz-Huebsch, Director for Business Development & Projects, Munich Health Daman Holding.
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