Medical devices are now extremely common in the home, with almost everyone at some point having reached for their glasses, thermometer, or crutches. In light of World Health Day 2023, Design Development Engineer, Elena explores the role of medical devices in public health:

In recent years, the benefits of home use have pushed the industry to develop a wide range of medical devices that are more complex and tackle various areas of patient care from home environments. Even devices such as ventilators, infusion pumps and dialysis machines are now being used outside of the healthcare environment.

Medical devices have contributed to the detection, prevention and control of many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, by providing early detection and treatment options. These devices can be classified into various categories;

Diagnostic devices such as imaging equipment and laboratory tests help healthcare providers accurately diagnose diseases and health conditions. Therapeutic devices, such as insulin pumps and pacemakers, help to manage and treat various health conditions. Monitoring devices such as blood glucose monitors and blood pressure monitors, help to track patients’ health status and provide early warning signs of potential health problems. Supportive devices, such as wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs, help to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The push for the use of medical devices outside of medical settings has come as a result of various reasons including:

  • The climbing cost of healthcare services and hospital stays
  • Shortages of healthcare facilities and staff
  • User comfort and convenience, both for use and obtaining devices
  • Advances in technology making diagnosis more accurate and hospital visits unnecessary
  • Increasing geriatric population with limited mobility

These bring new opportunities for devices that have historically been bound to hospitals or care homes. Devices are becoming more sophisticated, compact, and personalised. Trends in medical device design for public health provide a snapshot of what the future looks like. Some emerging trends include:

  • Wearable Technology: Wearable devices, such as smart watches and fitness trackers, are becoming increasingly popular for monitoring and managing health. These devices can track vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure, and provide real-time feedback to help people make healthier choices.  

A key example of the significance of ‘home use’ medical devices is their role in the public sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This public health emergency saw medical devices and equipment such as diagnostic tests, masks, gloves, sterilisers, and ventilators commonly used in homes.

With the rapid rise of this market comes concerns about specific barriers, amongst these are cost, stringent regulations, quality control and improper use. However, in a market that is already so highly regulated, we have demonstrated that overcoming these difficulties in short timeframes is viable.

Overall, the future of medical devices in public health looks bright. Future technological advances will bring new devices such as improved pacemakers, cochlear implants, and drug delivery systems such as autoinjectors. New technologies and innovations are constantly being developed to improve health outcomes and make healthcare more accessible and effective for everyone. Please get in touch to discuss how the team at Haughton Design can help accelerate your medical device development.

Medical Device Design Development Engineer, Elena Slobodyuk Elena Slobodyuk 31 March 2023

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Get in Touch with Elena Slobodyuk

Elena graduated from Loughborough University in 2017 with a degree in Product Design and Technology. Since, she has worked as a Design Engineer working at a consultancy designing children’s car seats before working as a designer and product lead at a start-up where she oversaw product development from concept to manufacturing of prosthetic limbs, with a heavy emphasis on user-centred design and human factors in addition to involvement with business development activities to grow the company.

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