Last decade witnessed a phenomenal growth in the medical device industry with an average annual growth of 5%. Changes in power equations due to governmental involvement like OBAMA care, heightened regulatory scrutiny, ever increasing rate of innovation, new healthcare delivery models and the emergence of emerging markets.

QuEST has been supporting medical device firms for the last 2 decades to face market challenges and help them leverage evolving technology. Besides changes in the domain, medical devices software development has also witnessed changes in all its phases and tools, strategy including development life cycle, the way source code is managed, how it can be tested and released to the customer, etc,.

Following technology changes have an impact on medical software design and development:

  • Internet Of Things (IoT)
  • Data Analytics
  • Service Oriented Architecture
  • Changes in Ux Development
  • Database development
  • Test Automation compared to Manual testing

Today, we cannot think of a medical device design, which doesn’t consider remote connectivity for support or collect data for monitoring, analyzing and predictive medical equipment maintenance. The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly being recognized as one of the most sophisticated technologies in connected healthcare.

Being ready for analytics is an important part in medical device software design and development. Data analytics is opening up a world of opportunities for OEMS and enterprise hospitals to improve their productivity, create an impact on end user or strategize their investments in a fruitful manner.  Data analytics also plays a major role in predictive monitoring of medical equipment for optimizing regular maintenance spends. Recently QuEST has helped a customer to build a real time analytic platform for radiology workflow. This enabled the customer to analyze radiology operational details including equipment utilization, resource utilization and clinical details in the radiation dose exposure at different sites, efficiency and results of each procedure. Clinical analytic module work as the backbone for clinical decision support system to improve the radiology work flow.

One of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry is finding reliable, secure and cost-effective ways to exchange data. The key benefit of achieving interoperability through Service Oriented Architecture is improved visibility, sharing and re-use of data between healthcare applications and devices. QuEST has helped different customers in implementing various medical device software systems based on SOA. This enables parallel development, better maintenance and provides opportunities to combine with isolated systems.

When mobile phones are becoming medical devices to improve productivity or as point of care devices, web based systems are becoming norms of the day, user interface design is another challenge that software designers needs to deal with. The evolution of HTML5 is revolutionizing the way the Web evolves, works, and is used. It is simplifying the work of programmers, harmonizing access to diverse devices and applications, and giving users amazing new capabilities.  

Database development is another area, which has witnessed many changes in last two decades.  QuEST has got enormous experience with various types of databases including relational, object oriented, hybrid, to mention a few. Today in the medical device industry, business models and deployment models are changing drastically. While designing medical device systems, to meet the dynamics of market needs, database experts  need to consider  various design aspects including  scalability, data security, vendor neutral database design, increasing image size, migration from old database systems to new databases, handling of private data, etc,.

Test automation & automated tests over manual testing are being widely accepted due to the agile product development approach. Manual testing is time-consuming and error prone, with functional and system testing starting late in the software development cycle. QuEST has been providing automation solutions to various customers. QuEST has been providing test automation solutions including UI based testing, performance testing, API based testing to mention a few. QuEST experts are helping customers and partners to formulate the test strategy based on the return on investment.

Currently more and more and medical device manufactures are testing water in the SCAM (Social, Cloud, Analytics and Mobility areas). Innovation shall be the focus of product development and there shall be a shift to services rather than isolated products. Architecture and design of products also should be prepared in tune with this change in dynamics.

Written by Kannan Kesavapillai

on 23 Feb 2016