International – Connected medical device design for the Internet of Things

  • Connected medical device design and development paradigm shifting due to impact of Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Closer aligment of human factors research with connected device design and development will help drive adoption rates;
  • Holistic device design approach necessary as IoT impacts healthcare environments more and more.

In the established landscape of the design of digital products, software and UI/UX design is generally broken down into two formats: desktop and mobile. For years, user interactions with “connected” medical devices have revolved around PCs and, more recently, mobile phones and smart televisions.

The Internet of Things (IoT) introduces a break in this paradigm, enabling devices beyond standard PCs, tablets, etc. to not only be digitally connected but to also require users to interact with non-physical outputs. For example, it could be a possibility that a surgical instrument transmits operation information (i.e., number of firings, duration of use, etc.) to a database during a case. The surgical instrument that was once the end-point for the human-machine interaction now becomes a tool for a user to communicate with another system that provides data on device performance. It becomes more of a cycle than a linear process.

When applying the concept of IoT to healthcare, there is a sudden accessibility of knowledge and control of healthcare for patients and their healthcare teams in a way that has not been possible before. For instance, the level and fidelity of data collection on, say, operating room use that humans can obtain simply doesn’t compare to what machines can do. This data can then be translated into something accessible for healthcare teams that may lead to quicker decision making. This raises new questions in the development process…