Tag Archives: medical device technology

Who Wants IoT Medical Devices? Everybody, Apparently

Interest and Demand for Wearable Medical Devices Transcends Many Demographics


Writing blogs about IoT medical devices and wearable medical devices requires a lot of reading about those very topics. And although some of what has been recently published is worthy of response on a piece-by-piece basis, sometimes taking a step back to “see the forest for the trees,” to coin a phrase, can be every bit as insight-ful, especially for IoT medical device inventors and innovators. This is particularly true for grasping the tremen-dous and widespread surge in popularity of wearable and IoT medical devices.


The headline proposes a simple question: Who wants IoT medical devices? The answer is both simple yet com-plex. Most simply, the answer is “seemingly everybody.” But more specifically, the answer paints an intriguing portrait of the IoT medical device landscape that includes a diverse range of backgrounds, demographics and geographies. Just one day’s worth of daily headlines from November 28, 2016 addressed supports this notion. Among them…


Seniors and Elder Care


Targeting the Untapped Market of Wearables for Elder Care explained how the growing population of U.S. sen-iors (estimated to be 19 percent of population by 2030) is primed for increased usage of wearable medical de-vices—especially as advancements in nanotechnology and “smart clothes” continue to progress.


What the article doesn’t mention is that 2030’s seniors (defined as a person 65 years old or older) is today’s 50-something—or put another way, a person that is not adverse to embracing electronic technologies. So, if there was ever a demographic that wireless medical device inventors and innovators might want to consider when dreaming up new wearable medical devices, this is certainly one of them.


India’s Healthcare Industry


View from India: Educate Today for Tomorrow’s Internet of Medical Things is very much a condensed argument for numerous advantages and solutions that IoT medical devices provide…in particular, the enablement of self-examination and the opportunity to expand connected healthcare to rural areas.


Of course, these concepts are not limited to Indian healthcare, but instead, are quite universal. Here in the Unit-ed States, self-examination not only is convenient and a crucial part of prevention and treatment for various health conditions, but it also helps reduce healthcare costs. Further, remote monitoring not only is useful for ru-ral areas, but also for seniors and others in urban/suburban areas that don’t have the desire or capability to make frequent trips to a doctor.


The Retail Fitness Tracker Market


Although retail fitness trackers might seem inconsistent when discussing IoT technology as it relates to healthcare, Are Wearable Fitness Devices Effective Enough? opens up some interesting discussions.


The article examines a recent Journal of the American Medical Association study that indicated these devices are “less effective at encouraging users to lose weight compared to a simple diet plan and exercise regime.” Be that as it may, it does imply that consumers simply haven’t been introduced to the right fitness tracker (or fitness-related wearable device) that will encourage them to take an interest in their health…which could help them avoid some of the things for which IoT medical devices are being developed!


DeviceLab has the experience and capabilities to bring your wireless medical device from concept to commercialization. Contact us to learn more.

Got Juice? IoT Medical Devices and Wireless Power (WPT)

Our recent blogs have been focusing on regulatory matters related to wireless medical device design and development—and there will likely be more—but now is perhaps a very appropriate time to talk about another important, related matter: power for wireless and wearable medical devices.


Last week, Hurricane Matthew threatened a substantial portion of the Southeastern U.S. coast. Although it for-tunately did not cause anywhere near the amount of destruction of which it was capable, it still created numer-ous problems—particularly in regards to power outages. In Florida alone, nearly 1.2 million customers lost pow-er.


Of the many reasons that wireless, wearable and IoT medical devices have become so exciting, it’s that they en-able many patients to enjoy life in ways once not possible. However, there are many obstacles that must be over-come if they are to fulfill their potential, and one of them is something called “wireless power transfer.”


As its name implies, WPT gets power from a source to a device without a wire…but really, it means that it does it without a conductor. Instead, it uses electric, magnetic or electromagnetic fields.


The technology is anything but new (it was first demonstrated by Nikola Tesla in the 1890s) or unusual (many of today’s rechargeable toothbrushes get recharged in bases with no visible connections).


However, IoT medical devices pose a series of unique problems, starting with the fact that unlike a toothbrush, it could be a matter of life or death if the device does not properly charge.


Further, people don’t wear, carry or use rechargeable toothbrushes all day, as compared to a wireless IoT device that may need to be worn at all times—or better yet, devices that are implanted. This becomes especially im-portant when having to not only develop WPT sources for those devices, but sources that minimize the risk of exposure to radiation caused by electromagnetic fields.


In fact, a recent blog, 5 IoT Innovations That Can’t Advance Without Wireless Power, went so far as to list core groups that are hindered “until wireless power goes mainstream,” which included:


• Home
• Industrial
• Retail
• Healthcare
• Wearables


Naturally, of particular interest to us is what the blog said about IoT medical devices in the “Healthcare” and “Wearables” section. In short, it argued that “if IoT medical medical devices can conk out [due to a loss of power], their use is limited,” and for users or wearables such as an IoT glucose meter and automated insulin pump, it asked “Who would risk their life in AAs or a rechargeable battery?”


Which returns us to Hurricane Matthew. Ideally, When a massive storm is approaching, evacuation orders are given, and people ideally heed the warning—which includes people currently and will eventually rely upon wireless IoT medical devices. As shelters are often in gymnasiums where power outlets are scarce (and are likely already being used by others for personal notebook computers, mobile phones and other devices), it could be-come even more difficult for the IoT medical device user to not only find a WPT source, but to be able to safely use it in public areas.


This only touches the surface of IoT medical devices and WPT, but, like regulatory matters, is an area in which we will continue to explore and share.

A Quick Look at Wearable Medical Device Risks

The rapid transition of medical devices into the Internet of Things (IoT) space has prompted some to consider the potential risks involved and to propose ways to manage those risks. One such example is a recent white pa-per that Travelers recently published, The Wearables Revolution Has Arrived: How Technology Companies Can Manage the Risks of Wearables to Reap the Rewards.


As wearable medical device design and manufacturing company, we were naturally intrigued to examine the white paper and not just how we might have fit into the overall picture. Further, we reviewed it with hopes to glean some insights to share with potential customers so that they can better assess their choices when selecting a wearable medical device design and manufacturing partner. Here are some of our takeaways.


There are Three Categories of Companies for Wearable Device Risks


In sum, these categories relate to your experience with wearable device technologies and your position in the wearable device research & development, manufacturing and distribution chains. More simply, they are:


• Tech companies that have direct involvement
• Tech companies that are vendors or suppliers
• Non-tech companies


DeviceLab, of course, squarely falls into the first category, as we work directly with wireless medical device companies to bring their innovations “from concept to commercialization.”


For our category, the white paper provided examples of risks that are among topics in some of our recent blogs.


Safeguarding Wearable Medical Device Data


One of the them was data protection, which we discussed in our blog, Wireless Medical Device Cybersecurity: FDA Draft Guidelines. Arguably, this is perhaps one of the most pressing challenges for wearable developers, distributors and users of wearable medical devices.


Many of the wearable medical devices in the market are modified versions of existing medical devices that have been modified, converted or improved so that they can be worn and used away from a medical facility. Of course, the technologies that enable that freedom (which including the ability to transmit data) are just one part of the equation…another part is securing that data.


Safeguarding Wearable Medical Device “Use-Related Hazards”


The other risk was liability, which closely relates to several of the concepts we addressed in our blog, Deci-phering FDA Medical Device Design Guidance Documents, which focused on “human factors,” which we de-fined as anything that relates to how somebody interacts with a medical device.


The white paper suggested that a company that makes a device could be liable “if their products are blamed for highway accidents due to their customers using their products being the wheel.” This notion relates o the blog’s examination of “use-related hazards”—and more specifically to “critical tasks” (using the product normally) and “abnormal tasks” (using a product in a way that it was not intended).


There are Three Market Driver for Wearable Device Risks


After identifying the categories of companies for wearable device risks, the white paper argued that related risks are increasing of the wearable technology’s tremendous growth. This growth is due to three key drivers:


• Moore’s Law and the Miniaturizing of Technology
• Corporate and Workplace Productivity Applications
• Medical and Health Applications


It goes without saying that the last driver is the most relevant to DeviceLab. But why is that so?


Once again, we can look to another one of our blogs, Top Medical Device Trends: 2016 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, in which we discussed the trends of “outpatient shift” and “personalized medicine.” Wearable med-ical devices are crucial to both of those trends, as they enable patients to access healthcare away from a medical facility, which not only is more convenient for patients, but in some ways, less expensive.


Ultimately, everybody wants a wearable medical devices that is safe, reliable and affordable. The advantages are tremendous, but the potential disadvantages—the risks—are real and must always be considered.


Arguably, the first step in leveraging the advantages and mitigating the disadvantages begins with choosing the right wearable medical device design company…which means that if you are seeking the right partner for your wearable medical device development, you should certainly ask candidates about these concepts and how they will work with you to identify and control your wearable medical device’s risks.