Medical care provides a diverse growth opportunity for designers and manufacturers of electronic systems. The growth is fueled by new discoveries, the need to contain treatment costs and enhance diagnostics, and the increasing number of people who are demanding affordable medical care.
Electronics in health care
Health care is advancing rapidly around the world, driven by new medical discoveries and ongoing demographic and economic changes. Industrial countries are experiencing an aging population, while countries in development are demanding better basic health care to match their newly won prosperity. At the same time, new tests, procedures and medicines make medical care increasingly expensive, forcing the containment of costs even while overall effectiveness improves. In addition, better-informed patients now demand to know more about their health and the treatment they receive, and they are backed by legislative initiatives to make medical data more readily available. All of these factors underline the need for more cost-efficient, more therapeutically effective means of delivering health care.
Electronic systems have an important role to play in meeting all these expectations. New developments in IC manufacturing and design help make medical systems smaller, more power efficient, more accurate, less expensive and more easily integrated into information networks. The result is that the entire health care chain —ranging from hospitals, labs and emergency vehicles, to physicians’ offices and clinics, homes and even wearable devices — can provide more effective diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patient conditions (Figure 1). Combined with social, political and economic trends, advances in electronics technology are rapidly changing the practice of medicine to make quality health care more affordable and better tailored to the needs of the individual patient.
Texas Instruments’ technology includes analog bipolar, with its extreme accuracy for signal measurement; CMOS for extremely low-power logic, processing and mixed-signal functions; plus FRAMs, radio transmission and small-scale packaging options. Applications range from state-of- the-art imaging machines in medical labs, to inexpensive over-the-counter kits for blood pressure and glucose monitoring.
Figure 1: Healthcare trends and opportunitiesClick on image to enlarge