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.
- Remote Monitoring: These technologies allow healthcare providers to monitor patients’ health remotely, reducing the need for in-person visits and improving access to care for patients who live in remote or underserved areas.
- Artificial Intelligence: AI is being used to analyse medical data and improve the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment recommendations. This technology can help healthcare providers make more informed decisions, leading to better outcomes for patients.
- Miniaturisation: Advances in miniaturisation have made it possible to develop smaller, more portable medical devices that can be used in a wider range of settings. For example, handheld ultrasound devices can be used in remote or rural areas to diagnose and treat a range of health conditions.
- Personalised Medicine: Medical devices are increasingly being designed to cater to individual patient needs, allowing for more personalised treatment plans. This can lead to more effective treatments and better outcomes for patients.
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.