smart-medical-devices

Smart Medical Devices: An Introduction

Over the course of our past few blog posts, we’ve discussed topics like the Internet of Medical Things (“IoMT”) and intelligent medical devices.

In trying to create a frame-of-reference for understanding the evolving medical device industry, we repeatedly used “smart medical devices” to create a contrast between the different types of IoMT devices (e.g., intelligent devices, connected devices, etc.).

Though this approach has helped people develop a better understanding of the changing marketplace, we’ve been asked by some to dive a little deeper into the concept of smart medical devices.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss smart medical devices in depth and try to shed some light on this promising market.

Recommended: Intelligent Medical Devices: An Overview


What are “smart medical devices?”

In our blog post about IoT-based patient monitoring systems, we defined “smart devices” as devices connected to the internet.

We expanded the definition of “smart devices” in our post about intelligent medical devices to include “the ability to interact with users and other devices.”

Using this amalgamated concept as our basis, we define “smart medical devices” as medical devices that can be manipulated by other devices or users that also have the ability to connect to the internet.

An example of a “smart medical device” would be a smart watch with a user-friendly interface that collects a patient’s heartrate data and uploads it to the cloud.

smart-medical-devices-definition

How are smart medical devices being used today?

Though the smart medical device market has been gaining adoption for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic put pressure on medical device manufacturers to accelerate their timelines for wireless, user-friendly devices.

Within the patient monitoring realm, one medical device manufacturer recently announced it would be producing a tablet that would integrate with its patient monitoring devices and enable physicians to remotely view and analyze patient health data.

The diabetes market has also presented opportunities for “smart” innovation as many established and startup medical device companies continue to push medtech boundaries with wireless glucose monitoring solutions that improve patient comfort and outcomes.

Finally, there are medical device companies using smart technology to improve the monitoring of asthmatic patients—a group that consists of over 19 million people in the United States alone.

This list is far from exhaustive, however, it highlights the diverse ways in which smart medical devices are being used to improve the quality of people’s lives.


Smart Medical Devices and Big Data

One of the common terms associated with “smart medical devices” is “big data.”

Though patient data was recorded long before the advent of smart technology, the adoption of smart medical devices has enabled healthcare providers to collect patient data on a scale that was unimaginable a decade ago.

Further, this data isn’t being collected just because it can be—it’s being collected because it can help drive better diagnostic and treatment decisions.

As consulting firm McKinsey notes:

As we begin building these models, aggregating big data, we’re going to be testing and applying the models on individuals, assessing the outcomes, refining the models, and so on. Questions will become easier to answer.

With smart medical devices paving the way for physicians to monitor patients outside of the hospital and sensor and imaging technology evolving at a rapid rate, the amount of valuable patient data the healthcare world collects will continue to increase.


Additional Resources

As you can see, smart medical devices are already starting to have a significant impact on the healthcare industry.

However, developing a smart medical device can be challenging—especially if you’ve never done it before.

We recommend partnering with an expert who can guide you down the smart device development pathway.

If you’d like to learn more about the future of medical devices, please download our free ebook.