Medical device design is changing rapidly, leaving an indelible effect on healthcare. Modern medical devices have transformed the healthcare industry in various ways. New services are now available, patient recovery time is substantially shorter and remote patient monitoring a reality. We could mention many other benefits that advanced technology has brought to healthcare. As these devices infiltrate homecare and hospital environments, the future of electronics looks bright.
Electronic manufacturers can thank advance in technology for the emerging opportunities in healthcare. However, these new platforms come with their fair share of challenges. Apart from stiff competition, medical equipment design companies have to respond to regulatory requirements, increased material costs, stiff control issues and so forth.
The media will highlight the high cost of medical devices, but rarely will they talk about the electronic design problems manufacturers and designers have to face. Let us look at five electronic design difficulties that contribute to high cost of medical electronics.
Electronic Design Problems for Medical Devices
1. Temperature Management
The usability guidelines and safety standards for medical devices are extremely strict. One inevitable regulation for any designer in this sector is the IEC60601-1 standard that dictates required surface temperature for products. For components that come in contact with the patient’s skin, meeting certain temperature requirements is paramount. Part of the design process is simulation, whereby possible material and design modifications are identified.
2. Electrical Hazard Management
Leakage current can be tragic in any medical device, but there is the IEC60601-1 standard to take care of that. Adhering to the standard means the designer must identify leakage early. Combating the electrical hazard can be treacherous and expensive– affected components may need exchanging, securing or application of control mechanisms.
3. Mechanics and Industrial Design Needs
The fact that most medical devices are reusable and applicable for several patients is a serious electronic problem. Equipment and components ought to be designed for easy cleaning without chances of leaving dirt or residue behind. Also a guideline to the design is the need for thorough cleaning. To cater for use of antibacterial cleaning products, these devices must meet IP classification standards. For an effective design process, tests such as light guide simulation and Finite Element Method (FEM) are necessary.
4. Durability and Mechanical Endurance
Majority of medical devices are expected to offer extended service life. Consequently, mechanical endurance is part of electronic design problems for electronics designers. Breakages or failures can emanate from many things including improper mechanics and chemical contact in the course of use. Ensuring proper design as well as hiring competent and reputable contract manufacturers are key to guarantee product durability. Only then you can be assured of thorough quality assurance.
5. Material Selection
Medical devices also tend to be costly because of the challenging material selection process. Consider the following desired qualities of these materials:
- RF transparency
- High endurance
Designing with utmost adherence to these requirements calls for careful selection of research and development partners. Ensure that the team has simulation prowess and an adequate material portfolio to fast-track your material selection process.
Many healthcare organizations are experiencing smaller bottom lines emanating from budget cuts. Apart from maintaining their equipment properly, such organizations can have it easier by sourcing from reliable manufacturers. Experienced manufacturers may have relatively expensive products, but lifecycle costs of such equipment tend to be more affordable.
Are you looking for the highest level of performance for your electronic components in the medical industry? Consult a company that takes a project from the conception stage right up until the manufactured product is obtained.
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