The Growing Role of Software in Medical Device Engineering
If you’re a software developer, project manager, or business leader responsible for software design and delivery, you’re probably too busy to follow the trends in every industry where software is at the center of competitive differentiation. Naturally, because that would be just about every industry.
Whether you work in the IT space, or in one of many industries where embedded software is taking systems design to new heights of innovation, the world of development and delivery is a global beehive of partners, stakeholders, and consumers. The growing importance of software as a component within this extensive supply chain is an exciting thing for us at IBM Rational to witness and be a part of.
A recent change in the medical device industry offers a good example of software’s increasing value. As Martin Bakal, one of IBM Rational’s embedded devices specialists, states in his most recent white paper: “Once hardware was king. Older systems used software, of course, but it was not the main focus, and there wasn’t much of a user interface. Software was primarily used for algorithmic work. Now with complex UIs, easy-to-use-at-home medical devices and systems, etc., software has taken on a much more vital role.”
In fact, this more vital role for software has led the IEC -- the International Electrotechnical Commission -- to create a new standard focused on the process of software development targeted for medical devices. The idea is simple: get everyone in the supply chain to adhere to the new spec, and the bottle necks associated with multi-national medical device approval processes practically vanish. Products come to market more quickly, therefore. It also means that software delivery teams have a larger stake in the business outcome, which is an exciting development in its own right.
No matter what industry you’re working in, I think you’ll enjoy the lively discussion in Martin’s new paper, “Challenges and opportunities for the medical device industry: Meeting the new IEC 62304 standard.”
It’s a quick read. Please have a look, and tell me what you think by posting a comment below
About the author:
works as a writer and editor for the brand strategy team within the IBM
Rational organization. His current focus is assisting thought leaders
and subject matter experts as they explain the business value of
Rational products and services through white papers, journal articles,
and other forms of the written word. Prior to this position, he served
for eight years as the founding editor of The Rational Edge ezine. He
can be reached at