Considerations When Designing Life-Saving Medical Devices
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"If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design." –Ralf Speth

No matter what type of product you’re creating, it pays to get it right the first time. While improvements can be made and released over time, you don’t want to release a product before all components have undergone rigorous testing and research.

This is especially true in the medical field, where a bad design can affect someone’s quality of life. Always remember that the true costs of bad design go beyond dollars.

Top Considerations in Medical Device Design

Safety and Reliability

Safety and reliability head the priority list when designing devices for the medical industry.

In this fast paced world, there’s increasing pressure to shorten the time-to-market of any new device.

More and more companies are outsourcing different aspects of the design to experts in specific fields, which allows for better utilization of internal resources.

When choosing a design partner, it is a good idea to find one that meshes well with your team. Communication is the number one way to guarantee a great partnership. References should always be requested. This old saying still holds true: “your design is only as good as its weakest link,” so make sure your choice is one that represents you best.

Designing a quality device starts with quality materials as well as top tier vendors. The medical industry is no place for sub-par components or suppliers. The availability of comprehensive testing and supporting data can help ease the decision-making process for critical components. Know your market, the regulations, testing, and certifications required for entry into your market, and plan ahead for this process. Consider product safety testing and timelines in all aspects of your design.

Quality and reliability are byproducts of a good design!

Thermal Management

Think about your computer or laptop; it has a built in fan. This is because electronic components have a habit of producing heat, and in order to run efficiently, they need to balance the heat load.

In smaller devices, there’s typically no room for a cool-down mechanism like a fan (which is why so many devices have been in the news for blowing up in people’s pockets, where there’s more thermal insulation).

This can be a huge problem in the medical field since so many devices are exposed to human body heat. Especially in implantable devices, designers must think of ways to dissipate heat.

Battery Life and Backup Power

When people depend on life-saving medical devices, it’s crucial that the power source is long lasting.

Another consideration is whether it’s possible to include a back-up power option in case the battery is running low, and the user is not in a position to change or recharge it. During natural disasters this can be a life or death situation. For this reason, think of all possibilities for power, and make sure it’s easy for patients to manage on their own. There may be times when they can’t get to a hospital, so you must plan for any situation in your design.

When designing medical equipment and devices, there are many factors to keep in mind. All of them focus on ease of use and dependability to ensure the best possible outcomes. If you have any questions about how to choose a power source for medical devices, let us know and we’ll work with you to find the best solution.


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