Celebrating Innovation in Healthcare

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD

I don’t have to tell you that healthcare is wildly controversial in this country. Per capita national health expenditures run about $10,348 (2016), with total national health expenditures of $3.3 trillion, 18% of the nation’s GDP. You may have noticed that healthcare decided an election or two.

Luckily, most of these policy issues are above our paygrade, leaving us to focus on technical innovations. And that’s what the October issue is all about – celebrating the state-of-the-art in “Health + Wellness”.

Terrence Murphy and Christopher Rowland, with TE Connectivity, discuss healthcare and the smart home in the aptly-titled “Designing in Reliability as Exercise Equipment Joins the Connected Home.”

“The growth of fitness trackers and wearables is increasing this push for exercise equipment that fits comfortably into their connected home ecosystem,” claim the pair.

“For designers, more functionality and connectivity mean choosing reliable components and power connections has never been more critical.”

Gresham Power Electronics’ Wiebe Hart considers power supply design and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) performance in relation to general technological advances, an aging population, and government healthcare reforms.

“To meet increased density, reliability and efficiencies goals, power ratings need to be reviewed carefully. Other vital considerations include product life, thermal issues, input voltage, load, and cooling needs,” he says.

Maxim Integrated ponders a more comfortable ECG monitor amidst the explosion of portable medical devices and fitness trackers. Traditional Holter monitors are about the size of a small camera and several wires and electrodes attach to the skin to record ECG signals throughout the day and as you sleep.

But the Holter ECG monitor’s cumbersome form factor “makes them somewhat uncomfortable, particularly when trying to sleep.” Oh, and wearers can’t bathe or shower.

Maxim suggests a design that incorporates clinical-grade ECG monitoring into a wearable health and fitness monitor. As I mention in this issue’s Final Thought, consumers demand versatility in portable gadgets, so a Fitbit that relays vital medical data is a natural evolution.

Finally, I’d like to highlight the piece by Danielle Sklepik from Bear Power Supplies. Sklepik discusses medical power supply design in terms of four key challenge areas, including creepage distance and air clearance, leakage current (primary to secondary), dielectric strength, and strict EMI requirements.

“Power supplies for medical equipment must comply with IEC/UL 60601-1 3rd edition. Within this standard there are three categories of equipment,” Sklepik says.

“All three categories pose special challenges for the power supply designer, with the CF-Rated category being the most difficult. These challenges fall into four main areas.”

Enjoy the October issue, and be sure to check out our full medical coverage on powersystemsdesign.com.  


Best Regards

Jason Lomberg

North American Editor, PSD