Technology and the Future of Healthcare

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



As usual, autumn means conference season. And this year conference season will be dominated by electronica as it is every second year. All of the famed German organisational stereotypes will be tested to their limits, with the conference expanding to 16 halls. For me personally, that means even more walking between meetings, but this year at least I could win a prize. As a light-hearted joke at a recent pre-electronica summit, connector company Harwin jokingly presented all the journalists with an activity tracker wristband that included a step counter, and promised to give a prize to the editor who did the most walking during the event. The way things are shaping up at the moment, I reckon I could be in with a decent chance of winning, but then again I suppose there will be 50 other journalists having the exact same thought.

Electronics for healthcare will also be in focus in electronica’s Munich venue in the conference centre and the exhibition stands, as well as worn by the journalists.  In fact, the organisers have decided the subject is worthy of its own showcase and have added a dedicated conference on November 15th. The market for medical electronics is currently huge, and the trend for connectivity has further boosted the market by opening up opportunities for remote monitoring applications. Global Market Insights thinks the international medical electronics market will provide sales of USD 148 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 12%. Markets and markets also anticipates some serious growth and predict medical IoT devices to reach just under USD 64 billion by 2023, and have a CAGR of 25%. No wonder everyone wants in on the act.

Not to be left behind, medical electronics and healthcare is our feature subject for this month’s magazine. It is an exciting time for medical electronics with many innovations in the field. As mentioned above, the IoT is due some of the credit, for example telemedicine has the potential to take some of the strain from overworked doctors by helping thin out the number of people who attend healthcare centres by monitoring the patient’s vital signs at home.

Robotic assisted surgery is another new technology with a huge potential to cut down on errors and provide surgeons with more accurate support that can minimise the trauma that a body takes when under surgery and a perfect sewed finish that cuts the amount of recovery time necessary. Hopefully that will mean no more large scarring from operations.

Power is vital for every application, and in medical electronics there is a large focus on keeping the patient safe in all circumstances. In this issue, Mark Patrick from Mouser Electronics tells us how we can meet the 4th edition of the IEC 60601 standard, which comes into force in early 2019. We also have something a little bit different for you, as Mike Jones from MicroCare describes the challenges that come from manufacturing medical electronics and how proper cleaning during the process can maximise yields.


Best Regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD