Introducing Wireless Medical Devices and the Internet of Things (IoT)

In the past several months, the majority of changes to our Website have related to the launch of our Wireless Medical Device Design Center, which itself is the “home” for our very recently announced Apollo™ wireless medical electronic systems platform. Although we’ve been developing all kinds of medical devices for more than 15 years—including wireless and mobile devices—we are now moving into a new era that embraces and adopts the Internet of Things, also known more simply as IoT.
 

Defining Wireless Medical Devices and the Internet of Things

Wireless medical devices and mobile medical devices are largely self-explanatory, and their primary features and benefits are largely implied: They are medical devices that “cut the cord,” so to speak, and enable caregivers to use devices without being physically tethered to another device (known as “machine to machine” or “M2M”) whether at healthcare facility, in a home or virtually anywhere in the world.
 
The Internet of Things, however, may require a little more explanation. Ironically, IoT is not a physical “thing” as much as it’s a concept that describes an advanced connectivity of devices, systems and services. It’s very likely that you are already using IoT devices and systems in your home. For instance, Nest® (the home automation system that lets you control and monitor sensor-driven and Wi-Fi enabled devices such as thermostats, smoke detectors and lights) is a solid example of IoT. Another example is AT&T’s U-verse®, which lets you record programs on digital video recorder (DVR) in one room, pause and resume them in another…and do the same outside of the home on a mobile phone or pad.
 

Where Medical IoT Is Now…and Where It’s Going

The present is a very exciting time for electronic medical device development companies such as ours, as we not only need to respond to a rapidly increasing demand for smaller, faster, lighter and often wireless medical devices, but to ensure that they will “play nice” in the scope of IoT. The future is even more exciting, particularly as new advancements will beget even more fantastic applications and benefits.
 
Like with defining a “wireless medical device,” listing the immediate applications and benefits IoT medical devices are largely self-evident. Perhaps most importantly, it is already giving caregivers the ability to do more in home health and point-of-care facilities, especially with relieving the stress on understaffed nurses and physicians. For that matter, it’s already giving them the ability to do more in more places, as monitoring and diagnostics can be performed more remotely. And, although it’s sometimes an unpopular discussion, it’s also enabling to do more for less, financially speaking.
 

Let’s Talk About Wireless Medical Devices and IoT Development

In coming weeks, this blog will continue to examine ideas, challenges, advancements, debates and other discourse related to wireless medical devices and IoT development. We will start by addressing the fundamental components of medical IoT development, which includes:

  • Innovation and Process: What are the models and best practices for getting started with bringing a new IoT/wireless medical device “from concept to commercialization”? How does time and money factor into the process? What other critical considerations are there?
  • Regulatory: All medical devices must satisfy numerous regulatory concerns and institutions, starting with the U.S. FDA. By making them wireless and mobile, IoT medical devices will have to address many other regulatory matters. What are they? How do we anticipate and respond to them?
  • Platform: Our new Apollo™ wireless medical electronic systems platform will be the backbone for our Wireless Medical Device Development Center. How we will be using and improving it to remain a highly respected member of the electronic medical device community?

 
Your comments, questions and other input will most certainly be welcomed…in fact, we’d like to hear about what you’d like to read in future blogs, your perspectives about the present and future states of wireless/IoT medical devices, and anything else related to this rapidly evolving technology!