Challenges and Trade-offs in Developing Connected Medical Devices

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Connectivity may be most widely known for consumer products like the Amazon Alexa, but connected technology has many more applications than just home automation. 

The healthcare field is one industry where smart devices could serve an important role. Healthcare professionals are becoming more interested in potential benefits related to tracking trends in data to better serve their patients. 

Sunrise Labs recently presented at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA, on the topic of designing medical products in the evolving, and increasingly connected environment of healthcare devices.

Sunrise Labs Director of Software Development, Jim Turner and Director of Electrical Engineering, Nick Lesniewski-Laas participated in a panel moderated by Rory Pheiffer of Nutter Law. Discussion focused on their experience dealing with connected device development, including challenges in interoperability, design trade-offs, requirements definition, design and implementation, and post-launch support and maintenance. 

 “With medical devices, we try to design for five years, and we have to be able to maintain it for at least five years, and often longer,” said Jim Turner, Director of Software Engineering. “Medical device security is becoming a bigger topic of concern for healthcare systems and manufacturers. During development, engineers have to keep in mind the balance between convenience and usability vs. security risk. There also needs to be a maintenance plan in place to be able to update and adjust security settings throughout the life of the product.”

Another key issue related to implementing connected devices into the medical field is complying with regulatory standards and implementing ISO-13485:2016, which emphasizes a risk-based approach. 

With an engaged audience, the panel imparted a better understanding of evaluating trade-offs between cost, ease of use, longevity, and mitigating the risk associated with interconnected devices. 

At Sunrise Labs, we are known for offering bright, innovative ideas to solve our client’s design challenges, and are partners in changing the quality of healthcare. 

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