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Bringing Innovation to Life in the Medical Technology Industry | By Shawn Luke, Technical Marketing Engineer, DigiKey

What To Know

  • For example, an adjustable bed is now on the market that can sense when someone is snoring, and the bed automatically changes its incline to try and help reposition the person and open their airways more.
  • A key aspect of this evolution is the involvement of wearable sensors, edge computing, and wireless devices to create seamless connection points useful for the entire medical ecosystem of doctors, nurses, engineers, designers, sourcing professionals, patients, families, and others.

Technological advancement in the healthcare industry, particularly with medical devices, is enabling faster and more accurate diagnoses and treatments for patients around the world. From wearables to AI-powered innovation, medical technology has opened the door to more personalized and real-time care.

Our society’s aging global population, coupled with the rise in chronic diseases among younger populations, is putting significant pressure on healthcare systems. The need for new solutions is fueling innovation and digitalization across the industry. New advances in data analytics through artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing the future of the MedTech industry – a market size predicted to reach $996.93 billion by 2030.

So, what is happening behind the scenes and how are modern healthcare products getting smarter and more efficient? The team at DigiKey, along with several partners, are working tirelessly to create and distribute cutting-edge products, parts, components and solutions that improve individual health journeys and save lives.

A key aspect of this evolution is the involvement of wearable sensors, edge computing, and wireless devices to create seamless connection points useful for the entire medical ecosystem of doctors, nurses, engineers, designers, sourcing professionals, patients, families, and others.

Wearables and Personalized Treatment

Creating and launching a new medical device is no easy feat and overcoming stress testing individual components and filing for regulatory approval are just two of the hurdles. But many are leading the way and successfully bringing user-friendly medical devices to the market to empower people to better understand and regulate what’s happening in their bodies.

These devices use key technologies, including IoT functions, sensors, and wearables, to help patients monitor their vital signs, such as percentage of blood oxygenation, heart rate, blood pressure, and more.

It is estimated that one in three adults will own a wearable device by 2025. Real-time knowledge is insightful and powerful for making lifestyle changes and maintaining good habits. This technology is also creating a new model of care where so much more is being done at home. Behind all of this are wireless, sensor, and semiconductor products that are driving the collecting, connecting, and sharing of data and insights.

As medical technology continues to evolve, the personalization of treatment will get better, too. Physicians will more regularly review data remotely and offer recommendations for treatments and even helpful home products. For example, an adjustable bed is now on the market that can sense when someone is snoring, and the bed automatically changes its incline to try and help reposition the person and open their airways more. This may be a key solution for those who struggle with sleep apnea.

Edge Processing

Making personal health data and insights immediately accessible to patients is a result of edge processing which in many cases includes AI and machine learning models. Semiconductor manufacturers are highly focused on this right now. It allows insights to occur closer to the patient and requires less bandwidth and data to be exchanged with the cloud.

Edge computing brings data processing, analysis, and storage closer to the source, such as a patient’s cell phone, watch or iPad. Edge computing works as a complement to the cloud. This strategy can help both patients and health systems optimize the collection, storage and analysis of data—which requires the consideration of privacy, storage space, and costs. But above all, the desire for immediate access to information is the real motivator.

Semiconductor suppliers such as NXP, STMicroelectronics, and Microchip are providing the path for real-time diagnosis and personalized treatment. For instance, NXP has a long history of providing rigorously tested products to verticals, including the healthcare industry. Their products integrate functions, including how to process information at the far edge, along with security, computing, and connectivity measures. They are one of the leaders behind products in edge processing and bringing real-time data to people’s fingertips.

From a power standpoint, a supplier offering drop-in solutions with medical certifications like RECOM Power can save design time, energy and cost. Medical grade AC/DC power supplies and DC/DC converters that are fully tested through rigorous agency certifications or made for the rigor of a medical setting can expedite medical technology development time. Buying appropriately suited medical power solutions will become increasingly advantageous as applications get smaller and require voltage levels to remain safe for providers and patients.

For patients, the easier they can access their personal health data, the better. Someone who wants to actively monitor how long or deep they are sleeping each night, can collect those data points continuously and have them pushed to their preferred device through edge computing. Knowledge is power, and today’s technology is proving you don’t have to be a doctor or nurse to review data and understand some of the things happening in your body on a daily basis. Wireless devices and sensors keep improving, allowing patients to self-serve more.

Wireless Modules and Devices

The acceptance and popularity of wireless devices grew exponentially when the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated remote access and, in turn, spotlighted many other benefits, including more efficient healthcare delivery and continuous patient monitoring. Heart monitors and continuous blood glucose level monitors are examples of healthcare devices that have gained widespread acceptance in improving patient outcomes and remote patient management.

This all feeds into the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), where networks of patients with portable and/or wearable medical devices and sensors and their corresponding healthcare systems and providers are connected through the Internet. IoMT devices help automate data transfer, thereby reducing human errors.

The wireless concept here is important because it allows for near-field and/or short-range communication. Wireless modules also allow a broader aggregation of data in the cloud, which enables practitioners to remotely monitor patients and access a wider sample for benchmarking and diagnosing.Using anomaly detection, certain events or triggers throughout a patient’s day can select periods where more verbose diagnostic data can be helpful and provide extra data for those events. Having all this data available in the cloud to a patient’s full bench of providers is instrumental in more complete and accurate patient management.

Opening Access to Patient Care and Looking Ahead to the Future

Medical technology is not only personalizing healthcare, but it’s also increasing access to it. By lowering burdens on patients and physicians, more people will be able to use and enter the healthcare system. The AI and data revolution is reimagining the future of care, surgery, therapy, medication usage, and more. It will be exciting to see where we’re at ten years from now.

While the medical technology industry continues to face significant challenges related to regulatory requirements, cybersecurity issues, recalls and lawsuits, leaders in the industry are navigating and overcoming these areas to push innovation forward like never before.

The impact of IoT will continue to grow as more medical sensors are developed and drive more secure connections to deliver sensitive health data. As device usage keeps increasing among the general population, there will be more data to store and make sense of, which will spur additional AI models doing the detection work that doctors and specialists are currently charged with today. Using devices for continuous monitoring is already showing the deep and remarkable impact personalized healthcare can make.

At DigiKey, we understand the importance of having the right products available to enable technology and innovation in the healthcare industry, where the stakes are high when it comes to patient care. We have a wide selection of medical technology products, along with application details, articles and technical resources, which keep the smartest minds in the industry working with us.

Learn more about our work and partnerships by watching our new MedTech Beyond video series.

Shawn Luke is a technical marketing engineer at DigiKey. DigiKey is recognized as the global leader and continuous innovator in the cutting-edge commerce distribution of electronic components and automation products worldwide, providing more than 15.3 million components from over 2,900 quality name-brand manufacturers.



Medical Device News Magazinehttps://infomeddnews.com
Medical Device News Magazine provides breaking medical device / biotechnology news. Our subscribers include medical specialists, device industry executives, investors, and other allied health professionals, as well as patients who are interested in researching various medical devices. We hope you find value in our easy-to-read publication and its overall objectives! Medical Device News Magazine is a division of PTM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. Pauline T. Mayer is the managing editor.

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