Designing for the Medical Device Industry: The Future – Connected Health

By Helene
Initially posted by CORE77

With the explosion of wearable technology and legislation like the Affordable Care Act, the medical product industry is rapidly evolving. Healthcare is seeing unprecedented changes, creating new opportunities for devices that connect consumers and doctors to information faster, easier, and more efficiently.

“It’s coming to a point where there are just amazing breakthroughs every day,” says Tor Alden, Principal and CEO at HS Design (HSD), where he has been directly involved in medical design for over 14 years. “[Technologists] are innovating and changing the landscape of how healthcare is going to be done to the point where we’re not going to recognize it in the next three or four years from where it is now.” It’s a changing landscape that has caught the eye of many innovative startups, who now make up half of HSD’s client list.

These new products have amazing technology, but it needs to be humanized and centered on user needs to be successful.”

HSD is positioning itself to be a bridge connecting the medical and healthcare startups with the investment banker communities. Alden predicts that if the growth continues at this rate, that number could be closer to 80% in the next few years.

The AliveCor heart monitor. Designed by Karten Design.

One of the factors opening the door for innovation in the medical device industry is the Affordable Care Act. As requirements roll out for health care providers, there is an increasing need for new tools and products that ensure patient compliance. Take a typical hip replacement, for example: Under the Affordable Care Act, if a doctor or hospital is not tracking the compliance and rehabilitation of that patient and they return within a year with no improvement, the hospital owes money to the government. There’s a financial incentive to make sure patients get better and, therefore, to track and evaluate their progress. This could spur invention around hip replacements—possibly leading to one with a chip (i.e., embedded UDI) to track rehabilitation or remind patients to get complete their physical therapy exercises.

“The Affordable Care Act is a great opportunity for the design community right now. Everybody is trying to figure out how to innovate increase patient compliance and allow caregivers tools to manage the healthcare services,” says Alden. “Between that and the iHealth generation of iPhones, smartphones, iPads, and everybody wanting to have more control over their healthcare knowledge, there’s a huge opportunity for new products.”

In the century of the wearable device, nearly everyone has some type of personal fitness tracker. For the medical device industry, this means a rise in connected health as consumers clamor to track everything from their steps to calories to sleep cycles. With that surge in technology comes an accelerated need for the design and development of interfaces between the technology and the consumer. “This is the most interesting space that a designer could work today. It’s fascinating,” shares Aidan Petrie, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Ximedica, a medical product development company headquartered in Rhode Island. “We work between humans and the products they use and make sure that they are more usable, satisfactory and safer.”

Ideation & Concept Design

Despite the incentive for new and better products, the medical device industry remains a difficult niche to break into, due to FDA regulations, enormous amounts of capital required, the need for a high level of specialization, and timelines that span 2–6 years. All these factors contribute to a high failure rate, causing many of these projects to be cancelled before they even reach the prototype stage.

Dassault Systèmes is trying to lower that rate of failure by creating software applications that help these companies better understand and anticipate these challenges from the beginning of a project. The software company released an all-in-one program called Ideation & Concept Design for Medical Device industry solution experience, a cloud-based platform designed specifically to take a team through the entire product development process. From initial ideation and market research to verification and validation, the system tracks deliverables and traceable requirements demanded of the strict FDA and other regulations around this sector. With Ideation & Concept Design for Medical Device, Dassault Systèmes shortens the amount of time it takes to bring a product to market, which is critical in a quickly expanding market where there is no time to waste.

The medical device industry will explode for the next twenty years. It will be the place to be focused as a designer,” says Petrie. “It’s great doing things that change people’s lives, and a product can still look beautiful at the same time.”


Check out Beyond the design of the Medical Device to dig deeper into this topic and access the “Ideation & Concept Design for Medical Device” information kit here, over on Dassault Systèmes’ site:  Ideation & concept design for medical device.

Drones for daily life are on the horizon

By Catherine

Written by Catherine Bolgar*

Drone

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are used to hunt for oil, to monitor hurricanes, to film movies and for search and rescue operations. As regulations become clearer on how and where UAVs can be used, and as technology continues to develop, we’ll see even more applications for UAVs in the future.

When UAVs were strictly for military use, the electronics onboard were big and clunky,” says Michael W. Heiges, principal research engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta. “The computers didn’t have a lot of capacity.”

Big UAVs have to be controlled by a team of people and can cost over $1 million. However, technological advances in consumer electronics have driven down costs and improved sensors that could also be used on UAVs, making them smaller, cheaper and more nimble. Micro UAVs have wingspans as small as one centimeter, though such tiny drones can fly only a short time and can use only limited sensors. In between lie a range of UAVs that can cost $500 to $2,000.

Now you can maneuver them around very easily, like a hockey puck on ice,” Dr. Heiges says. “It took away a lot of the skill involved to operate.”

Amazon.com Inc., the online retailer based in Seattle, said last December it was developing drones for package delivery. The company’s goal is for packages to arrive within 30 minutes of an order being placed online. However, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said such a use of UAVs wouldn’t be allowed, at least for now.

Delivery drone

Dr. Heiges and Georgia Tech are working with cable news channel CNN to study how to safely use UAVs for newsgathering.

In the U.S. and some other countries, small UAVs are governed by the same rules as remote-controlled model airplanes, which must fly no more than 400 feet (120 meters) above the ground. They also must be kept away from populated areas and full-size aircraft. There’s also a distinction between hobby use and commercial use. All business use of UAVs is under FAA regulation, and requires a certified aircraft and certified pilot.

Here lies the rub: For now, in the U.S., small UAVs need to stay within sight of their operator on the ground, and bigger UAVs need to be monitored by a chase plane. That limits the ability to send in UAVs where it’s too dangerous or difficult for people to go—for example, near a railroad derailment with a toxic spill or to fly over a damaged nuclear plant to track radiation leaks. In Europe, UAVs are being used for safety inspections of infrastructure, such as rail tracks, dams, dykes and power grids, according to a communication from the European Commission in April. National authorities in Europe also are using them for disaster relief, such as flying over flooded areas or supporting fire fighters.

Larger UAVs are being flown remotely—though over unpopulated areas—for example, in search and rescue operations in national parks, or behind the lines of wildfires, Dr. Heiges says.

Technology could address this challenge soon. “The main thing people would like to see is sense and avoid capability, either radar or video or some combination of the two,” he says. “That capability is needed to avoid other aircraft and for being able to understand how far away other aircraft are. Until we do that, UAVs have to remain in sight of an observer on the ground.”

The current sensing systems “all have shortcomings in one way or another,” he adds. For example, radar-based systems are good for detecting other metal aircraft but not seeing things such as parachutists or balloonists. Cameras on UAVs can transmit images of what’s near a UAV to a person farther away, but the cameras don’t work well in clouds or if they’re facing the sun.

To be reliable enough to pass regulatory muster, sense and avoid systems “will have to be better than a human,” Dr. Heiges says.

Until then, there are many applications for UAVs in unpopulated areas.

One of the first markets that’s really ripe for use of the technology is agriculture,” says N. Dennis Bowman, extension educator, commercial agriculture-crops at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “The ability to do surveillance of crops and livestock really fits the technology.”

Farmers in general are cultivating more acres, making it more difficult to get to every patch of land to see whether there’s a need for more irrigation, or whether pests or disease are affecting crops.

We’re looking for breakthroughs in software that can take series of photos and stitch them together to get a big picture, but without having to fly at such a high altitude that the UAV would interfere with airplanes,” he says. “At lower altitudes, you could get better resolution and more detail, but you also want to see a whole field at one time.”

In Japan, farmers use UAVs for crop dusting, which isn’t allowed in the U.S.—though the size of U.S. fields is too big for the carrying capacity of drones today, Mr. Bowman says.

Ranchers, whose sections are 600 acres or more, could use UAVs to locate cattle, to save crews’ time when the animals need to be rounded up for procedures such as vaccinations.

*For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join The Future Realities discussion.

Dassault Systèmes will talk “Services” during the After:Market Conference, October 22– 24, 2014

By Diana

With margins on a continual decline, Original Equipment Manufacturers can no longer rely on selling equipment to make a profit. OEMs are entering the 4th industrial revolution that partly relies on providing high added value services to make their customers’ day-to-day job easier.

In addition to being a CAD provider, Dassault Systèmes presents industrial companies with many solutions to manage the product throughout its entire lifecycle and to complete its customers’ journey by providing them with value added services.

Thanks to the brand expertise of EXALEAD, Dassault Systèmes proposes key technologies and new applications to address large volume and heterogeneous data challenges with performance and agility. EXALEAD CloudView for e-services will transform your data into real enterprise benefits (boosting sales, improving machine knowledge, facilitating interaction between customer and manufacturer, offering advanced reporting…).

By associating an Industry approach with EXALEAD service expertise, Dassault Systèmes is now able to provide Industrial Equipment companies with a tailored service offer.

If you want to learn more about our service offering for the Industrial Equipment industry, come to the After:Market Conference, October 22nd – 24th 2014 at The Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, in the Netherlands.

Register now

 



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