USA – Integrated Device Design Critical to Rapid Medical IoT Development

For a holistic approach to successful design, integrate as many engineering disciplines into the design cycle and keep an eye on materials science and connectivity advances.

Medical IoT holds the promise of vastly improved patient outcomes, along with the potential for an evolutionary step-change in the way healthcare is managed and delivered. Medical IoT devices will enable more rapid detection of disease, continuous remote monitoring of a patient’s condition, and far more targeted, effective treatment of conditions ranging from diabetes to cancer. All aspects of fundamental healthcare will be impacted: Prevention and wellness, chronic care, acute care, and post-acute care monitoring. As a consequence, the market for connected medical devices is estimated to grow from $20.6B annually in 2018, to $63B per year by 2022.1

To meet this demand from a product development standpoint, continual progress in miniaturization, along with decreasing prices and wider availability of sensors, means that new healthcare tools such as monitors, wearables, and diagnostics can move from concept to commercialization in a much more streamlined manner than ever before. In the life sciences space, advances in each unique technology act as a force multiplier to other adjacent and related technologies. (For instance, advances in microfluidics and {bio}functionalization have enabled new strides in optical biosensing. As explained later, progress in surface modification means that biofouling can be better managed or mitigated.)

Recent examples of medical IoT innovations include a 5.5-g wearable ear thermometer for infants that allows parents to continuously monitor their children’s temperature via smart device and react very quickly to rapid spikes, or changes, in fever. Another example is the use of integrated motion and pressure sensors for elderly, infirmed, or sedentary patients to continuously monitor and ensure movement and redistribution of pressure points in the bed to prevent bedsores.

In addition, for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, we have seen a remarkable confluence of previously discrete disciplines such as engineering design, nano- and micro-fabrication techniques, and the biological sciences…