Q: What is the greatest design challenge when it comes to developing mobile medical device technology?
Reusable medical devices are continuously exposed to harsh environments of autoclave and automatic dishwasher as part of standard reprocessing cycles. In the transition from console-based to mobile medical device technology, one of the greatest challenges is increasing the amount of electronics that are present in the sterile field. A smart device requires that electronic control is located inside the device. If the device is reusable and requires sterility to perform its function, there is a heightened requirement for a fully reprocessable electronic system. The impact this evolution has on the relationship between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers is generally positive.
Intense product requirements tend to forge stronger supply chain relationships. OEMs in the medical device industry rely on suppliers to innovate products that meet the demands of the end-product, and successful end products are often the result of strong OEM-supplier relationships through product design, development, and validation. I expect that medical device innovation will be furthered by tight relationships that are forged between OEMs and suppliers.