The days of manufacturing and selling a medical device to healthcare providers have long vanished. Now, users and healthcare providers seek value, ease of use, intelligence, and mobility. The two key trends in medical devices and technology are digitalization and miniaturization.
Smart and digitized medical devices enable preventive medicine, remote monitoring, and invaluable patient data collection. On the other hand, smaller medical devices represent minimally invasive surgeries. This article looks into key medical device trends and the future of medical devices and innovations to watch in 2023.
One key trend of medical devices is miniaturization; devices are getting smaller each day. The medical industry now prefers smaller gadgets with more advanced features. These medical devices/gadgets are small, lightweight, and more portable, meaning they use less storage room and energy and have more mobility.
Their portability is important because providers and patients can carry them easily to monitor health concerns, such as oxygen, blood sugar, motion, heart rate, etc. More mobility is essential, particularly during ambulatory care and patient transport.
For medical device manufacturers, this translates to a growing demand for ultra-fine medical devices (such as wire) with advanced sensing and transmitting capabilities. Meeting these future demands will require more innovation and tech advancements. They must also consider the outlook of medical device regulations.
Digitizing medical devices is now inevitable, thanks to technology and innovations. In the future, most medical devices and services will be digitized. Smart and digitized medical devices enable preventive medicine, remote monitoring, and invaluable patient data collection. The future of medical devices under the digitalization umbrella entails the following:
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Stemming from the Internet of Things (IoT), IoMT is a collection of medical devices (software and hardware) that can be linked to networks to enable or facilitate access to healthcare IT systems. IoMT allows the transmission of medical information (data) across a secure network.
This helps reduce the need for unneeded hospital visits or stays and the strain on healthcare, human resources, and infrastructure. IoMT devices include remote monitoring equipment, tracking medication orders, identifying admitted patients, and remotely monitoring patients.
Smart Wearable Medical Devices
Thanks to IoMT, patients may also have smart and wearable medical devices that enable remote communication with providers and caretakers. Wearable medical gadgets help monitor the user’s body while being worn. They can provide data on conditions such as:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Oxygen saturation
- Temperature, etc.
While the Internet supports healthcare digitization, 5G makes it simpler and quicker. Surgeons, Physicians, and radiologists now rely on 5G to get quicker patient information from medical devices., including real-time data. This makes activities like remote patient monitoring easy in the future. Through 5G networks and technologies, patient claims, pharmacy benefits, and workers’ compensation have become quicker and easier with mymatrixx which is a unique PBM.
Digitizing medical devices also comes with concerns like medical cybersecurity and data breaches. As vast amounts of medical data are now exchanged between multiple devices and stakeholders (patients, healthcare providers, and manufacturers), cyberattacks are also increasing.
Data privacy and cybersecurity are now key concerns in healthcare — both for the devices and patients. The threat continues to grow. In the future, providers and manufacturers must focus on protecting the data.
While medical artificial intelligence (AI) could be classified under digitalization, it rises above it and stands on itself due to the factors involved. It falls under intelligence. Medical gadgets collect data, which AI helps process and analyze to help reach better medical outcomes. Providers use AI to spot diseases or their onset using patient-specific health data.
In addition, AI facilitates predictive analysis and tracks interventions’ effectiveness. And medical device manufacturers employ AI technology, such as computer vision, to enable speed diagnosis and robotic surgery. Overall, medical AI and Machine Learning (ML) help healthcare save time, lower costs, and increase patient treatment outcomes and quality.
Technology and innovation in healthcare are advancing at a higher rate and that’s a good thing. The projections reflect an increasing demand for innovative medical devices, smart equipment (like wearables), better services (like health data), eHealth, and more. However, there are also challenges for data security, privacy and protection of patient information as medical devices remain vulnerable to hacking and remote penetration. Manufacturers and providers must find ways to balance the benefits and challenges of medical devices for the benefit of the patient and service provision.