Sensors Expo 2018: What is Really Going on in Healthcare Technology?

There is much in the way of technology innovation that is happening today. Many sensational inventions are covered in great depth by the general media. However, one area of technological advancement that doesn’t seem to get much general media attention is the development of new medical devices that save lives and increase the quality of life for many people.

 

New medical equipment technology is already fundamentally changing the way we live, so it truly reflects some of the biggest technology innovations in this century. So, what is driving these changes to medical devices and the way that we receive our healthcare?

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The traditional healthcare model has been around for a very long time. Over the last few years venture capitalists and some of the big names in high tech have been making substantial investments into healthcare research and medical device design to change healthcare delivery and tap into a new business model that affects many people’s lives.

 

There is a growing emphasis on home care and personalized medicine. One reason for this is that government and private insurers, as well as medical providers are working to contain the ever-rising cost of healthcare. As new care delivery models are evolving, medical device designs for diagnostic monitoring, therapy and drug delivery must meet higher standards of functionality, safety, connectivity and ease of use.

 

Besides lowering cost, the need for personalized healthcare has changed the way that both medical and consumer device companies approach their markets. Several wearable consumer product technologies are being positioned to transition into products that can be used as medical devices. Medical device companies are also working to develop their own wearable technology or partner with consumer device makers.

 

The laws of various countries provide powerful financial incentives for doctors and hospitals

to show the effectiveness of their care. This sparks demand for new connectivity, security and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to track and analyze patient data.

 

Patients and providers are demanding higher quality procedures and equipment for their healthcare needs. To satisfy the requirements that have come from these changes, new medical device designs will need to include advanced technologies such as:

 

  • Medical device-level security/authentication solutions such as microcontrollers with integrated hardware crypto engines, stand-alone authentication products, secure wireless chips/modules and software libraries
  • Complete, end-to-end IoT and Cloud-based solutions, including analog devices, microcontrollers, firmware/software stacks, wireless products and cloud service development support
  • Electronic components that meet extreme low power requirements to make wearable and implantable medical devices smaller by decreasing the printed circuit board and battery size of the design
  • Innovative, safe and user-friendly low-power touch and input sensing solutions so hospital personnel and patients will have easier and safer ways to control and use medical devices
  • Microcontrollers that attain higher processing power with lower latency, reduced power and reduced code size to lower the overall bill of material costs, power consumption and printed circuit board size of the medical device

 

Besides the technology that medical device designers will need to incorporate into new designs, their selection of electronic component suppliers to partner with has become more critical to their success than ever before. Important characteristics to consider in an electronic component supplier for medical device designs are:

 

  • Financial stability and growth despite fluctuations in the economy, M&A activity, etc.
  • Many years of experience in supporting medical clients
  • Uninterrupted focus and support for medical clients during that time
  • The support of executive management to engage with medical clients without restrictions
  • A reputation for unmatched commercial and technical support to medical clients
  • The ability to supply parts for FDA Class 1, 2 and 3 medical devices across a broad product portfolio
  • A tradition of long-term support for parts in medical devices where the client can count on the parts being available throughout design, certification and the medical design’s product lifetime

 

What many have termed the Digital Healthcare Revolution is already changing the way that medical devices need to be designed and manufactured. What technologies meet the new requirements in medical device designs and which electronic component supplier to partner with are two critical things for medical device designers to consider for the next generation of technology in healthcare delivery.

 

With this ever-increasing pace of change in the healthcare industry, the ability to design a new generation of IoT-enabled medical devices is becoming critical. As previously mentioned, to do that a medical device company needs more than just a supplier. They need a steady and dependable partner.

 

For many years now, Microchip has been an experienced and stable partner of prominent medical companies who design and manufacture clinical, wearable, implantable and life-critical medical devices. Not only do we have a comprehensive product portfolio with easy to use tools and software, but Microchip can also significantly lighten medical device designers’ regulatory burden by providing products with an unmatched history of long lifetimes, world-class global support and our relentless commitment to quality. For more information, visit Microchip Medical.

 

At Sensors Expo 2018, be sure to checkout the Embedded Hands-On Workshop: Prototype an IoT Sensor Node with a Microchip MPLAB Xpress Eval Board pre-conference session, Tuesday June 26, 2018 9 am – 12 pm with Marc McComb, Technical Marketing Engineer, Microchip Technology Inc.