Engineers working with biologists and physicians will develop new therapies, new devices and new diagnostic tools that improve the quality of life while giving people more control over their medical choices. Advances in biocompatible materials, optics, nanotechnologies, and biosensors and electronics are integrating with state-of-the-art communication devices and imaging and data-management systems. Innovation in this area will complement or even replace massive, stationary, hospital-bound equipment with small, portable and even self-administered devices.

Researchers from Lehigh and partners such as the Mayo Clinic are working on projects in medical systems engineering, integrated devices and monitoring, and emerging medical materials. Advances in these areas promise to have a significant impact on several aspects of future medical care.

Systems engineers play a central role in understanding and managing this emerging technological infrastructure, as well as broader efforts to improve healthcare quality and deliver it more efficiently. In the past decade, studies by NAE, NSF, NAS, the Institute of Medicine, and half a dozen other agencies have argued persuasively that systems engineers are ideally suited to help healthcare become more patient-centered, more responsive, and more flexible.