Medical devices have taken their place in the healthcare industry. Essentially, without them, proper diagnosis and treatment are nearly impossible. Does that mean that medical professionals have grown to rely on them too much? Absolutely not. When you consider the ease with which medical devices operate and how they have streamlined and enhanced the delivery of medical services at all levels, it is not hard to see the important role they play in medicine today. However, there are a few dos and don’ts that should be followed to maintain the accuracy of these devices. We will look closely at a few of them in this article.
1 – Do Design Them To Operate Wirelessly With Other Technologies
According to Orthogonal, medical devices are continuing to embrace the wonders of wireless communication. Examples include Bluetooth Smart and IrDA. With these wireless technologies, medical devices can quickly connect to tablets, computers, and smartphones. Wireless capability also permits connectivity with other medical devices to exchange data. With software applications that can operate on different platforms, wireless communication is easy to accomplish and saves time and effort when needed.
2 – Don’t Make The Device Software Difficult To Use Or Understand
Software to run devices can create bigger hurdles than the ones the device was designed to overcome. If a device is designed to take care of a couple of tasks, its software should be easy to understand and operate. The important point here is that the easier the software is to open, load, download and analyze, the more it will be utilized along with the device it was created to work with. It’s tempting to load up software programs options and features, but the best software is the kind that is straightforward and precise.
3 – Do Include The End-User in the Design Process
Engineers and software developers are intelligent and can create amazing things. However, one part of the equation missing when the development of medical device software is underway is the person it is being designed to help. Sure, end users may not provide the scientific or data-based knowledge required, but they will make valuable contributions. Knowing how a user will use a device is critical to its design. Turning to the end-user for experience-based information and knowing the end-user’s work processes will save a lot of time and headaches after the software has been released and implemented. Design it for who uses it.
4. Don’t Ignore The Capability Of Downloadable Apps
Downloadable apps make integrating with medical devices simple. Being able to activate and operate the devices that are connected to a tablet, smartphone, or computer makes creating the proper treatment plan a lot easier. Plus, many of the new medical devices have brought portability into the fold. This means that for some testing processes, you may not need to be placed on a long waiting list to use a machine in a hospital or clinic. The portable machines provide greater access to those who need it most.
5 – Do Embrace The Use Of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is hard to ignore in the world of new technology. Many online services make use of it in many different ways as does the healthcare industry. It already exists in applications such as diagnosis and treatment recommendations, administration, and patient engagement. According to Healthcare Weekly, this is just the beginning. AI can perform tasks that were once left for humans and can not only complete these tasks more cost-effectively but AI is much better at these specific tasks than humans ever have been.
6 – Don’t Leave Design Controls Too Late In The Process
FDA-compliance is a key factor in determining whether or not your medical device software is going to make it past the drawing board. Take into consideration the FDA-compliance process for your device as you design the software. This prevents the problem of having to try to meet FDA-compliance after the software is created, tested and ready for market. It cannot be stressed enough that software development for medical devices must first follow the FDA-compliance requirements. Don’t think it will happen? It has many times already, so be warned.
Why Does It Matter If A Medical Device Is Connected Via Software?
That is a good question that can be easily answered by exploring the benefits of connected medical devices. Aside from making it easier for medical professionals to diagnose and determine proper treatment protocols, connected medical devices permit the monitoring of chronic diseases in patients.
They also provide a better patient/clinician experience by permitting faster data collection and analysis by accessing medical records from other sources. Software used with medical devices also assists in the management of these devices. Knowing if a battery is running low to when a medical device requires repair or replacement is easier to determine with software leading the way.
Finally, a connected medical device helps your medical professional by providing idea generation from collected data. For example, a patient with a rare disease could take months to diagnose, but case studies accessed through connected medical devices may provide solutions and suggestions from other similar medical histories or shared patient files.
Advancements in technology continue to spread throughout the healthcare industry. These advancements have come in the form of electronic medical devices and the software used to operate them, and everyone who participates in the healthcare industry—patients, doctors, nurses, administrators—has benefitted from these technological changes. Ranging from better and more efficient filing of patient data to devices that assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, we are only seeing the beginning.
With artificial intelligence, cloud storage solutions, and more, technology will continue to play a huge role in the healthcare field. Wireless technology pushed data collection, retrieval, and analysis into a whole new arena that is still yet to be fully realized. Expect greater things to come in the medical device and software world as technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds.