Wireless medical devices are one of the fastest growing segments of the IoT market. Silicon Labs (also known as “Silicon Technology”) produced this article to organize the development trends and design considerations of portable wireless medical devices for you. Please read below or visit our online community at the end of the article to get the full content.

Silicon Labs firmly believes in the transformative power of the Internet of Things to deliver significant social and environmental benefits. These astonishing reports provide us with a huge opportunity to rapidly expand the application of smart technologies to support the stable supply of medical services – addressing the challenges related to the overload of medical service capacity, enabling effective diagnosis and remote treatment through data aggregation , ultimately improving the way we and our loved ones live our daily lives.

Market Opportunities in Connected Healthcare

Interest in and demand for telehealth services has skyrocketed since the outbreak began. In the UK, for example, the proportion of remote primary care consultations tripled between February and June 2020. This is a movement that the medtech community is looking/hoping to capitalize on. A recent McKinsey report showed that medtech companies on average had 10% of their pre-coronavirus revenues based on digital health solutions, but they expect this to exceed 50% within five years.

With advances in wireless technology, wearable health technology facilitates remote disease management, allowing patients to be monitored while enabling them to receive ongoing treatment with minimal disruption. Although the development of this technology raises new legal, regulatory and business considerations, the market for portable medical devices will thrive: both existing technology companies and new startups recognize the importance of connected devices in disease prevention and healthcare untapped opportunities. As a result, the global wireless medical devices market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12% through 2025 and is expected to add $17 billion in revenue for IoT device manufacturers.

There has been significant innovation in the field of connected diabetes devices. The major advance is the shift from on-the-spot measurements using blood glucose monitoring devices to 24/7 operations through continuous glucose monitoring. Handheld card readers are being replaced by smartphones, where sophisticated management applications provide automated data logging, reporting and secure identification. Insulin pumps that are wirelessly controlled by different devices are being miniaturized and may eventually be single-use. This miniaturized design trend is driving the need for tiny electronic packages — prompting the semiconductor world to dive into this lucrative field to meet the development needs of device manufacturers.

The Impact of Portable Devices

Today, connectivity in portable medical products is centered around Bluetooth Low Energy. There are some products that run Wi-Fi or other proprietary protocols (such as CPAP machines, which are connected to the grid and therefore less sensitive to low power requirements), but Bluetooth Low Energy is the primary solution for the vast majority of products. According to market reports, more than 5 billion Bluetooth low energy devices will be shipped in 2021, a 40% increase from 2015.

Since Bluetooth Low Energy operates in the 2.4GHz frequency band and typically has a bandwidth of 1Mbps within a range of 15-20 meters, the connected device can be securely connected to the smartphone and embedded in this powerful human-machine interface. Bluetooth Low Energy also enables new features such as reporting data and alerting when the user is misusing it. And the power consumption is so low that the medical device can run on a standard coin cell battery for years.

As the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol rapidly becomes a common communication standard, technical requirements for security and data privacy are rapidly increasing. If not addressed, safety concerns could hinder progress and deter consumers from purchasing. The U.S. Congress passed the first bill in December 2020, mandating that all companies selling IoT products to the U.S. government must provide minimum security. Legislation such as California Consumer Privacy Act SB-327 requires all connected devices to have “reasonable security features” to protect user data.

Silicon Labs is working closely with standards bodies such as DTSec, which is tasked with developing a protection profile for all connected diabetes devices. We are members of the IEEE P2621 committee, working on the development of safety standards for all wearable medical devices. Entities such as NIST and the FDA are jointly developing new standards to help protect portable medical products from remote and local cyberattacks and optimize lifecycle management of deployed products by approving safe commissioning of new products, safeguards for software pre-execution certification .

The Next Step for Portable Medical Devices

Moore’s Law continues to have an immediate impact on technological advancement, and tiny, extremely cheap Bluetooth low energy wireless chips open the door to real-time, one-shot data collection. Shrinking size, larger flash/RAM options, improved RF performance and power consumption will expand the portable medical technology market to new consumer segments and applications including wirelessly connected transdermal patches for controlled drug delivery, smart inhalation device, connected to a scale, etc. Pioneers such as BD Medical, Shanghai Berry and Nonin are exploring this path of development.

The potential of the Internet of Things brings enormous social and environmental benefits, but it will only be fully realized if we successfully address the associated trust issues for device manufacturers and end users. Products coming to the market must have reliable wireless connectivity and long-lasting ultra-low power operation to ensure accurate measurement data is delivered securely in a precise and fast manner. Then we need to reduce the complexity and cost of the device and its production. After a product is released, its software must be continuously improved, tested and distributed on an installed basis throughout the product lifecycle. For connected products to be as ubiquitous as the phone in your pocket, we need to ensure easy and seamless device integration with minimal burden on users.

Closer the distance between big data and individuals

As telemedicine becomes ubiquitous (and its cost decreases), portable medical devices will soon dramatically reduce premature deaths from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, thereby extending the life expectancy of individuals. Low-cost, daily-use disposable connected devices will be able to continuously monitor your health, be able to recognize what’s going on in your muscles and bones, and recommend customized preventive measures to prevent disease from occurring. The human body itself will become the medium of communication, and the era of reactive drugs will be a thing of the past.

Portable medical devices free users from the constraints of cost, accessibility and privilege, provided you are willing to share data over the airwaves.

We will find a way to collect large amounts of critical data so that advanced diagnostics and aggregated data can also lead to more timely medical interventions in poor countries with low resources. The data we collect will be the fodder for AI-powered machines that will process all the data quickly to deliver highly accurate predictions and treatments. Together we can fundamentally reshape the healthcare system to provide the dawn of positive treatment for all.

Health care will become increasingly accessible to the billions of people who are underserved today. Together, we can achieve the WHO ‘Triple Billion’ target and see everyone live longer and more productive lives.

Jumpstart Wireless Medical Device Development

There are three fundamental engineering challenges to developing wireless medical devices. you must:

Ensure accurate measurements are provided in a precise and fast manner

Enhance Wireless Security for Bluetooth Medical Devices Using Powerful Technology

Maximize battery life by design and low power settings

Silicon Labs offers the lowest power consumption and secure Bluetooth Low Energy product portfolio. Our EFR32 Wireless Gecko second-generation wireless SoC platform offers outstanding low power consumption, analog performance, and system integration. Our Bluetooth low energy software stack has shipped through millions of products and undergoes rigorous robustness testing on dozens of Android and iOS smartphones. We have a broad understanding of systems, from initial diabetes connected devices expanding applications to glucose monitoring, continuous glucose monitoring, insulin pumps and pulse oximeters. We have launched a comprehensive Secure Vault security technology to ensure physical and digital protection can meet US and EU regulations, and support the latest NIST and FDA security requirements.

For more information on portable medical device solutions, and what to think about deploying them for your next project, visit the Silicon Labs website.

Original Title: [IoT Application] Cases and Solutions of Portable Wireless Medical Devices

Article source: [WeChat public account: SiliconLabs] Welcome to add attention! Please indicate the source of the article reprint.

Reviewing editor: Tang Zihong

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