According to the healthcare industry blog, Startechup, a cutting-edge digital product development company that partners with the most innovative companies in the world to create custom software solutions that drive business growth, in its February 3, 2023 edition, The future of healthcare is definitely looking hi-tech. Its important to stay informed about any technological advancements. Organizations and stakeholders should also keep an eye on new tools and technologies that promise more accurate and expansive care.
Medical device manufacturers, especially, need to constantly keep their eyes on the prize. Hospitals and healthcare professionals rely on all of us to be more sensitive to their changing needs and, thus, to make a more concentrated commitment to fueling R&D. When we offer them new technologies and systems that work better, offer better safety and security and help them deliver superior results everybody wins: the device manufacturers, the hospitals and their staffs and, most of all, the patients themselves. It is vital that we maintain clear ongoing communications with our customers, so that we can be more responsive in a timely and targeted fashion.
A variety of technology trends will shape the future of healthcare from 2023 and into the future. These include: AI-infused technology, which is already speeding up the diagnosis process and in the development of better robotic systems, and IoMT (internet of medical things), which establishes a network of connected medical devices that are integrated with computing systems.
Seems like an overly simplistic question, no? But, in our industry alone, foot switches for medical devices and systems, you'd be surprised at how many manufacturers are trying to pass off industrial grade products as medical grade. In a 2020 blog, Tapecon (a company that works with OEM product teams to improve their market competitiveness through outsourced manufacturing solutions), the FDA specifies that materials approved for medical devices must be used in a suitable manner and manufactured to certain standards in order for the final product to be approved for medical use. So you have to ask yourself: is specifying such industrial technologies in the best interests of customers and the patients we serve? Granted, some of these industrial grade products may save a few pennies, but long-term, is it worth jeopardizing relationships with customers vital to the success of your business?
In a July, 2021 article from BrainLab, global developer of software and hardware devices for better digital medical technology, with new, touchless methods of software control being developed for every day devices, the future of the O.R., will also offer the surgical team new ways of interacting with devices and software. Offering the surgeon the possibility to control devices and software without having to leave this field, keeping their hands free to operate on the patient, will have a huge impact on outcomes and patient safety. In the near future, touchless solutions like gesture recognition, eye tracking and speech control, will enter the O.R.
In view of this trend, Steute is now evaluating the benefits of voice control, gesture control, touch control and control by eye movement (eye tracking) and is developing a unique innovation called OPtimal. This will provide the best multi-modal operation, ie: task sharing between foot and voice control, also enhancing a more integrated O.R.
In a review published in March, 2023, by NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), the use of 5G networks in healthcare has increased in recent years, and their applications have been supported by advancements in the internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics, which can change healthcare systems into a new connected ecosystem. When compared to other connectivity solutions 5G technology provides security, increased capacity for the number of connected devices per square kilometer, greater service reliability and mobility.
Via our KliNet5G program, we, at Steute, have made a substantial commitment to researching the use of 5G and low energy sensors within the computer network to better locate the controlling devices as well as the devices to be controlled everywhere on the hospital grounds.
The medical device manufacturers who will end up on top in the future will be the ones who use R&D and technological breakthroughs to improve their product and service offerings to their healthcare clients. The systems you provide to hospitals and O.Rs today can quickly become obsolete tomorrow. Conditions, especially in the O.R., can present daunting challenges, whether it be in terms of safety, security, performance or outcomes. Constant innovation is the key to ongoing success.
For over 30 years, Steute has remained the recognized world leader in medical-grade footswitch technology one innovation after another. This article contains but three examples of the ongoing body of research we are conducting. Visit our website at www.steute-meditec.com and select the Innovation tab to see several more examples of the technological breakthroughs that are coming your way. We are, first and foremost, a technology company, not just a foot switch company. We encourage others to consult with us, because the better we do, the better we'll all do together.