As the internet of medical things (IoMT) evolves, the healthcare sector is experiencing a digital renaissance that is improving the experience of both patients and practitioners. The remote care facilitated by the IoMT results in better patient outcomes and improves the experience of healthcare workers.
The IoMT expands telemedicine capabilities and enables device-to-device communication between devices in hospitals and home health care settings. Physicians can meet with and monitor patients remotely and leverage real-time patient data to recommend targeted care plans in less time.
As a leader in test and measurement, Keysight supports medical device companies to enable IoMT technologies. Keysight tools help device designers support the safety, efficacy, and reliability of connected medical devices for patients and physicians.
The IoMT at work
Connected medical devices include pacemakers, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, cardiac monitors, pulse oximeters, infusion pumps, wearables, and more. They collect, analyze, and transmit real-time actionable and life-saving data while monitoring their own performance and battery life. Recent advancements where IoMT technologies have made a significant difference include implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) and glucose monitors.
An ICD is a small connected medical device that attaches to the heart to continuously monitor and regulate potentially life-threatening electrical problems. The ICD may even transmit data to a physician for interpretation in real time. Most importantly, the device can deliver an electrical impulse to the heart when it senses a life-threatening change in its rhythm.
A glucose monitor is a wearable or implantable sensor that enables diabetes patients to monitor blood glucose continuously. Most glucose monitors can alert patients and their physicians when nearing the end of battery life.
High stakes for connected medical devices
Medical device engineers must constantly reduce patient risk, which requires a laser-like focus on device design, development, verification, validation, and manufacturing. As a result, comprehensive testing throughout the product development cycle is critical to reducing risk and ensuring safety and efficacy.
In addition to the risk and safety perspectives of medical device engineering, IoMT devices must also reliably connect to the internet or central devices to send and receive information and maintain connections while roaming. Battery-powered medical devices must have stable and long-lasting battery charges and coexist with other devices.
Keysight design, test, and measurement solutions help address these requirements to fuel innovation in the IoMT. Here are three ways Keysight solutions can help IoMT device engineers overcome challenges to accelerate purposeful innovation across the IoMT ecosystem.
1. Event-based power analysis
Long battery life is critical for patient satisfaction with connected medical devices such as blood glucose monitors. Complete battery life is essential because fluctuating blood glucose levels require continuous monitoring to detect sudden changes that can send patients into diabetic shock.
Medical device engineers can use event-based power analysis software to optimize battery life. Keysight developed the X8712A Internet of Things (IoT) battery life optimization solution by which engineers can analyze a device's power consumption to obtain an accurate view of specific features and functions draining the battery. The solution helps engineers understand how their device operates in various use cases and physical environments. It also gives engineers the necessary data for optimal hardware configuration and firmware programming decisions.
Product development engineers can also quickly re-test and verify design changes to improve battery life throughout the development process before releasing the product to manufacturing.
2. Power integrity and signal integrity
Surgical robots take on a vast and increasing amount of work in operating rooms worldwide. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), they perform image processing and crunch a lot of data, which requires robust computing power. Traces on printed circuit boards are so close together that crosstalk between signals can adversely affect each other and reduce signal integrity.
Keysight provides tools that simulate a circuit’s performance, power integrity, and signal integrity ahead of board fabrication. Engineers can use PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS) to quickly simulate circuit operation and iterate designs. PathWave enables them to reduce risk faster while reducing the need for expensive, time-consuming prototypes.
Accelerating time-to-market gives patients access to cutting-edge, life-saving medical devices sooner. It also reduces patient risk by lowering the device problems caused by power integrity and signal integrity issues.
Solving power integrity challenges
Design engineers often use low-voltage components that use less power. They want to see power integrity across the entire circuit board — consistent voltage levels and flat impedance. Because components are specified to work at certain voltage levels, improper voltages may cause a circuit to malfunction or not turn on.
Power integrity issues can lead to a longer debug cycle which slows time-to-market. Engineers must discover these issues before releasing the device to manufacturing. Faster time-to-market means physicians can help their patients sooner and reduce risks to patients with high-quality, precise, and reliable medical devices.
3. Wireless chargers
Wireless charging technology is a critical enabling factor in the IoMT. For example, implanted medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators often require recharging. Wireless charging solutions' safety and efficacy are essential for connected medical devices. Medical device manufacturers must conduct extensive verification and manufacturing testing to ensure the wireless performance of their chargers. Keysight provides network analyzers, power meters, and signal analyzers that medical device manufacturers can use to test wireless chargers.
Improving quality of life through innovation
High-performing medical devices within the IoMT positively impact patients’ quality of life. Battery, signal integrity, power integrity, and wireless testing are constant needs in an ecosystem where connected devices must communicate with one another, patients, and physicians.
As the IoMT universe expands, unique challenges in designing and testing electronic devices will continue to present themselves. Keysight researchers and engineers are already at the forefront of this wave, developing solutions to help medical device manufacturers overcome these challenges.