This Thursday, EETimes is hosting a day-long Medical Electronics Virtual Conference focusing on how technology—specifically wireless networks and embedded systems—are revolutionizing healthcare services. While it’s still early days, the next decade is expected to see a dramatic increase in technology solutions that will fundamentally change the way healthcare professionals monitor, manage and treat their patients. The conference sessions will address some of the key challenges faced by product designers in developing these breakthrough medical devices and systems.
The increasing attention by technology companies on the medical market reflects the growing demand for solutions to address the out-of-control healthcare costs. Many believe the spiraling costs of health care in the U.S. are due in part to the high costs of hospital care and the lack of adequate treatment for chronic conditions. Significant opportunities exist for companies that are developing devices that improve productivity and efficiency in the home, the physician’s office, and the hospital, all of which will be addressed during the virtual conference. The sessions will address the many challenges faced by the device manufacturers.
Following the stage-setting keynote address by Doug Riser, a 30-year veteran of the semiconductor and medical electronics market, the Virtual Conference will include editorial panel discussions that look at wireless networks for hospital, medical devices for the home healthcare market, and ways that companies can speed the product development time for new medical devices. In addition, the conference will include 30-minute chat sessions on topics ranging from optimizing IC selection decisions, wireless networking options, as well as speculation on the next “Big Thing” in medical electronics and the business prospects for the medical technology market. The medical electronics has been growing at a rate of 10% a year for a decade and some pundits expect that growth to accelerate in the next 10 years.
The home healthcare market is one of the most promising areas for medical device makers given the epidemic of undertreated chronic health conditions. Consider, for example, the incidence and rate of growth of obesity-related disease. In total, 66% of Americans, or about 200 million, are overweight, 65 million have chronic heart problems, and 20 million have diabetes.
Home medical device manufacturers are developing products that can lower the cost of treatment for obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes by allowing patients to self-administer drugs. Healthcare professionals can monitor the condition of at-home patients in real time using wireless networks. The annual growth rate for home healthcare electronics is estimated at 12%. The home healthcare virtual conference session addresses these and other opportunities for medical electronics companies and will explore some of the design challenges medical device makers face in the selection of wireless technologies, and systems architectures.
Likewise the networked hospital panel session will explore the design changes for wireless networks in the hospital environment, including the challenges of security to protect patient privacy and the need for compliance with industry standards.