Adoption Of Hybrid Imaging And Other Technologies By Medical Device Manufacturers

Diagnostic equipment manufacturers are combining multiple imaging technologies for improved diagnosis and costs advantages. Hybrid imaging includes fusion of two or more imaging modalities for developing a new technique. Hybrid imaging techniques that are currently used include single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/CT, positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), ultrasound and MR, and ultrasound and CT. These technologies also offer assistance in surgical approach and decrease the time for surgical procedures and anesthesia, resulting in reduced morbidity and costs. Major companies manufacturing hybrid imaging diagnostic equipment include Siemens Healthcare, Philips Healthcare and Mediso.

Technological advances such as wearables technology and three-dimensional (3D) printing are also becoming increasingly popular and available technologies adopted by medical device manufacturers.

An example of wearables technology is Philips IntelliVue Guardian Solution which is a single-use, self-adhesive sensor that automatically collects key vital signs and communicates them wirelessly to the IntelliVue Guardian software. The software automatically calculates a patient’s early warning signs (EWS) score. The sensor can measure respiratory rate, heart rate, body posture, and also detect falls. The medical devices market is expected to benefit from the advances in wearables technology, leading to digital transformation of hospitals and healthcare facilities. Wearables technology in the medical device industry will help in efficient, timely, and accurate monitoring of various parameters such as oxygen saturation, ventilation and quality of air. As consumer wearables are becoming more common, patient data volumes are increasing and companies are investing in deploying data management, warehousing and security technologies. Medtronic, for example, has launched a tool to augment cardiac devices to securely transfer device data to doctors and allow them to monitor the critical health indicators of the patients.

The global medical devices market, valued at around $446 billion in 2019, will grow to nearly $522 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.33%.

3D printing is being increasingly used to manufacture medical devices. In 2017, Siemens, a global leader in patient monitoring devices, signed an agreement with Materialise NV, a provider of 3D printing solutions, to incorporate the technology in Siemens syngo.via, an integrated imaging software. Adopting virtual 3D anatomical models facilitates surgical planning and collaboration between radiologists and surgical teams. 3D printing will reduce the manufacturing costs of the devices, thus driving the demand for medical devices.

Health monitors and mobile apps are other areas of technology which have received large-scale investments from medical device manufacturers, technology companies and other investors. These devices are marketed to track personal health, and can be critical tools to monitor chronic illnesses and safety of children and the elderly. AliveCor ECG health monitor tool, for example, uses AliveCor’s app and AliveECG to monitor individuals with suspected or diagnosed heart conditions to immediately record and store electrocardiograms (ECGs).

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