Kevin Parmenter, Excelsys Technologies, Vice President Applications Engineering, N. America
Medical electronics is a rapidly evolving market with advancements in many interdisciplinary areas converging together to provide patients what is needed to offer better care and diagnostic capabilities. Medical imaging keeps getting better and better and artificial intelligence (A)I is becoming more widely used in the medical industry. According to Wired magazine, AI software can now read and interpret medical images such as X-rays better than radiologists can. Clearly AI will have the ability to spot patterns in data and offer patient benefits across a wide range of tests and instrument uses. This will be employed in medical imaging, clinical chemistry – genomics and DNA analysis and research – and more – what else is coming? Big data in medical applications, combined with AI to look for patterns and deterministic results in data, can be done faster and better than humans can provide. This combined with the ability of the various instruments to be networked will have tremendous impact on the quality, speed, and levels of care provided by medical institutions.
But it’s not just the professional high dollar instrumentation being impacted. Practitioners are bringing their own equipment into the medical environment with interesting results. Recently on a check up trip to the doctor, the nurse brought in a handheld instrument of her own that checked my blood pressure, heart rate, and O2 level. It was small enough to fit in the palm of her hand and battery powered. She mentioned that her husband bought it for her as a gift and she used it because the rolling cart instrument was not always available and seemed faster and more accurate. This means that consumer apps and electronics are getting as good as enterprise-grade gear at a fraction of the cost.
Patients can obtain their own wearable gear and send info to the doctor periodically as telemedicine becomes increasingly popular. In fact, the wearable may send data automatically as patients take on their own medical care and send it on-demand to the doctor. There are a host of issues around the accuracy, security, and PII around these devices, but I anticipate these will be overcome.
Wearable tech also has the potential to bypass the bureaucracy in the medical delivery system. If you can just proactively send your doctor info without coming into the office to arm wrestle with forms and release documents, who would say no to that convenience?
The coming medtech revolution is projected to grow at 12% through 2024 to a 148 billion dollar market, according to Global Market insights. This will require massive amounts of diverse power electronics technology from end-to-end, which is a boon for the future of all aspects of our industry.