Over the last century, medical devices have become an integral part of healthcare. Devices range from complex equipment, like MRI machines, to simple ones, like stethoscopes. In recent decades, the definition of medical devices has somewhat broadened.
Medical devices used to refer to any equipment used to monitor or treat conditions, but they were mainly in hospitals. Today, medical devices can be worn or implanted in users to provide 24hr monitoring and real-time data on their health. According to a Globe NewsWire report, the US’s implantable medical device market is projected to be worth $153.8 billion by 2026.
As a medical device manufacturer, such potential presents an excellent opportunity. Not only can you realize and create something that can help others, but it provides a chance to make a great profit, too, and experience incredible success in the medical device industry.
However, precautionary steps must precede any endeavors in medical device manufacturing. If your device malfunctions, it puts users’ lives at risk, as well as your company’s reputation. Over the last few decades, a crucial element in improving medical devices’ efficacy is the use of software.
Software in medical devices comes in four primary categories:
- Software as a medical device: Software that independently serves as the medical device.
- Software in a medical device: Software is used as a medical device component.
- Software used as accessories for medical devices.
- General-purpose software that does not qualify as a medical device.
Whereas the value of software in medical devices is unquestionable, so too are the risks. As the software being used in medical devices becomes more complex, the need to take additional safety and security measures increases. In this regard, the use of embedded systems has become a popular option.
The key to generating sales from your medical devices is to get health practitioners to buy into its effectiveness and safety.
Here’s how embedded software can increase user confidence in your medical devices.
What Are Embedded Systems in Healthcare?
In mechanical and electronic systems, embedded systems are used to perform specific functions. Along with medical devices, embedded systems are also used in automobiles, computers, and factories. In medical equipment, such systems are part of the larger operating system. Being small in size, they have little power requirements.
Primarily, embedded systems serve as data storage units. This is essential since medical devices are used in a wide range of environments, many of which have extreme conditions. As a medical device manufacturer, integrating them into your devices is critical. It will ensure healthcare providers can still access critical patient data should the device become damaged.
Embedded Software in Healthcare
For embedded systems to function, they rely on embedded software. The applications of embedded software in healthcare are numerous. They are used in imaging systems such as and devices such as:
- CT scans
- PET scans
- Glucose monitors
- CPAP machines
- Biomedical sensors
Embedded software is also used in monitoring vital signals, such as amplifying sound in electronic stethoscopes. Biomedical applications allow healthcare providers to monitor patients’ health remotely. Along with other systems, they allow doctors to diagnose and determine appropriate treatments without physically seeing the patient. The right software paired with the right medical device can make a big difference in the lives of those who use them on a regular basis. As a result, you have the chance to experience great success with your medical device.
What Are the Advantages of Embedded Software in Medical Device Development?
Doctors and patients are increasingly adopting and appreciating the benefits of highly connected medical equipment. In this new era, embedded software isn’t just appreciated; it’s expected.
1. Advanced Networking and Communication Ability
The ability to communicate and transmit data to each other is what makes interconnected medical devices effective. Designed as a communication and networking platform, embedded software facilitates such interactions between devices. They have drivers and support a wide range of radio chips for networking. This, along with embedded solutions, enable data exchange and interoperability.
2. Complete Computing Platform
With an embedded software-based medical device, you’ll have a complete computing platform instead of a single task system. The device will be able to run multiple programs, each being more feature-rich and connected. With a complete computing platform, the device will be able to:
- Make real-time updates to patient records
- Relay changes in medication and drug orders instantly
- Make adjustments based on new information or changing conditions
- Improve the quality of care
3. Enhanced User Experience
Considering the implications that come with faulty medical devices, manufacturers put more emphasis on functionality during product development. Though it’s understandable, this often makes medical devices useless to users. When a device’s usability is below par, so will be its performance in the market, even if it’s highly functional. People want things they can actually, functionally use; your medical device needs to be one of them.
Embedded software allows you to improve device usability without taking focus away from functionality. With layout tools provided, you will build user-friendly interfaces, significantly improving user experience.
How to Capitalize on Embedded Software
There are a lot of things that go into medical device development. To achieve them, you need the right team with the right experience. At times, it’s challenging to accommodate such teams in-house, which is why working with a medical device consultancy is a popular option. Doing so, especially for your embedded software needs, can prove to be a wise investment down the line.
Here’s how a medical device partner can assist you:
- You’ll get FDA approved designs with all the necessary documentation
- Designs will be based on product needs, but not merely aimed at completing the project
- Access to a host of microcontroller manufacturers allowing development on the best platforms
- Scalable software teams to ensure your project is completed within budget and on time
- Devices can reach patients quicker as stock and lead times will be eliminated
- Insight and expertise on matters of wireless and Internet of Things
Get the Right Medical Device Design Partner
Along with embedded software, a medical device design company can also assist you in other areas, such as project engineering and electronics design. However, the key is to choose a partner that offers maximum value. Their expertise and experience with similar projects should be a prime consideration.
C3 Medical Device Consulting offers a wide range of support services for medical device manufacturers. Reach out to us today if you need assistance with embedded software.