3 Game Changing Trends in the Medical Device Industry
The game is changing. The medical device industry is experiencing game changing evolutions of technology that greatly impact the way we design, build and interact with medical devices and how we manage our health. Most of this is due to the rise of technology made for, and popular in, other industries.
I remember my first “car phone” which was bigger than my dog and had to be carried around in its own bag and often didn’t work – but it made me feel pretty cool to be an early adopter of this technology and be able to carry around my bag phone at the time! Mobile technology has evolved today to where I can not only fit a phone in my back pocket (my dog won’t fit there thankfully) but I can also hold within that phone more computing power than when NASA first sent astronauts to the moon.
Today, doctors in hospitals are using tablets and even Google Glass to see patient records literally real time in front of their eyes. Medical images can be sent to provider’s mobile phones so diagnosis can be done from anywhere. Mobile medical apps allow consumers to access their medical records, telecommunicate to care givers, monitor their well being and even control physical medical devices.
Internet of Things (IoT)
This acronym is everywhere these days (cars, home security, traffic management, smart meters, etc.). Basically things today have the ability to send all kinds of data. There is an invisible network of things all communicating and creating an explosion of data. IBM has a wonder short and sweet video on IoT:
Medical devices have long been transmitting data. Often machine to machine data is sent back to manufacturers so they can monitor equipment and be able to perform upgrades and fix things that break. Patient data can be used deliver better care – such as transmission of CPAP data to determine is a patient with sleep apnea is using their machine effectively and regularly or a heart monitor sending signals so that abnormalities in rhythm can be diagnosed.
But now providers and medical device developers are looking at ways to further leverage this and they are spending big bucks in this area. How about clinical remote monitoring – perhaps leveraging devices within and on the body, communicating to our home automation and security systems and apps on our mobile phones and then off to central monitoring stations and direct to our care giver’s tablet can allow more of us to stay in our homes safely after surgeries or as we age. In hospitals connected devices could communicate their locations so more effective use of expensive and life saving equipment can be facilitated perhaps saving lives with faster access to the right devices at the right time. In operating theatres, an IoT of operating devices, imaging, data with predictive analytics and in room and remote surgeons could allow surgeries to be safer, faster, and avoid delays or errors that could arise if devices are not where they should be or don’t work as anticipated.
Software has revolutionized consumer products – every new phone, new video game, new car, new tv, new appliance we que in line to obtain on its debut is usually driven by new software creating game changing new and must have features.
Embedded software, medical device user interfaces and active and remote monitoring software has likewise significantly impacted the world of medical devices. Most advanced diagnostic methods available today are only made possible because of the software running both inside and outside the device. This has given rise to reams of FDA guidance on software development and the birth of a very popular international standard for medical device software lifecycle process: IEC 62304.
How do I win the game?
I still have that bag phone but I am very happy that engineering changed the game and I no longer have to lug that thing around in order to stay in touch. Likewise I am glad medical devices are beginning to leverage these three game changing technologies we talked about to revolutionize healthcare.
Medical device manufactures who win the game deliver high quality, safe and innovative devices, capitalizing on new technology and delivering products to market quickly enough to capture the market.
IBM Rational is relentlessly focusing on game-changing capabilities like continuous engineering. Continuous engineering is an enterprise capability that speeds the delivery of increasingly complex and connected products. IBM Rational tools help unlock engineering knowledge, maintain a continuous verification process and support strategic reuse. IBM also provides software and systems for medical device development with solutions that support FDA and IEC standards. If you want to win the game, then facilitating quality, control and visibility across the development lifecycle, while managing risk and complexity, is a must.
Mobile DevOps solutions can help you to align the development, test, deployment and delivery of mobile applications with business objectives, within budget and time constraints, and centered on the needs of the customer.
IBM is now seeking ways to meet the demand for development, data analytics and interconnection in the world of IoT. An IoT IBM-connected platform is in the works and it will focus on connecting devices to each other and connecting engineers to customers. Through this platform, software engineers will create connected products and deploy them, collect data through the cloud and develop new offerings using DevOps processes.
We live on a smarter planet where data, mobile, social and cloud are transforming industries and allowing us to create value in new ways. How will you capitalize on these three game-changing trends in the medical device industry? Leave your comments here or connect with me on Twit