C&K Cutting Edge Blog #2
By Roger Bohannan – C&K Medical Segment Leader
The shift in medical device development from the unconnected device to the connected device is upon us. This shift will make an enormous impact on the quality and effectiveness of medical care over the next decade and beyond. Device design engineers worldwide have already started the transition. Their new connected medical device designs start in personal healthcare and drug delivery. The trend will engulf all areas of medical device design, supporting a connected health care system and improving patient care.
Many of the first generation designs are closely linked to their existing products. Their goal: minimal design modifications, converting products to connected devices. Device manufacturers do not want to make significant visual changes to an already successful product. Engineering teams are being tasked with challenging goals: Transition currently unconnected medical devices to active devices, without causing a disruption in device market share, product size or cost. That is coming very close to breaking some rules. One specifically? Physics. It’s just not possible to fit all the new capabilities into the same physical space.
There isn’t a team leader that wants to drive their device designs towards being larger, heavier and more expensive. That’s never the objective of design teams, quite the opposite. Engineers are always looking to design in higher performance, smaller size, achieving better clinical results and creating greater value.
Connected devices fit nicely within those goals, but there are challenges.
Device conversion from unconnected to the connected environment will require power to every device. Designers will be adding medical switches, sending data, collecting data, managing data security along with application development. And frankly, that’s just scratching the surface. As we unpack these new demands, we encounter adding team members, modifying production lines, all while trying not to negatively impact the consumer market.
We have a new set of challenges demanding complex solutions. This is a new awakening in medical device design. With new challenges, a different relationship will be required between designers and their suppliers. Design engineers will require a new level of supplier support.
While switching is only one of many design factors to consider, the switch can have a definitive impact on customer impression. This impression must be positive. This investment demands support from a supplier that understands touch, feel, sound and force while enhancing performance.
Find a supplier that will partner with you and has the engineering expertise and infrastructure to support your application demands. Work with a switch provider with medical segment knowledge, and has a robust product portfolio and is unafraid to make a modification to an off-the-shelf product or customize a new product to meet the needs of your design.
You can identify the manufacturers that have spent the time refining that first impression. It makes the difference and the challenge of connectivity easier.