The huge technological strides reshaping the world of medical devices continued to captivate attendees during day two of the Medical Device Technology Exchange (MDTX) 2018. From the presentations to the exhibition and then finally the keynote, attendees were able to get an up-close look at the innovations driving this fast-paced industry.
The keynote, “How 2018 Will Be The Year You Embrace Continuous Connectivity,” was given by Nersi Nazari, CEO of VitalConnect (see figure). He spoke about the universal acceptance for continuous connectivity before mentioning health-and-wellness applications. One particularly interesting facet he brought up is that applications for pets are now being developed.
Nazari then moved on from health-and-wellness to the medical side of the fence. Although the continuous monitoring of vital signs has been around for decades, he noted, the goal is for this technology to extend beyond the ICU.
The keynote address focused on continuous connectivity in the realm of medical devices.
“Essentially, what we are trying to do is keep the patients out of the hospital,” said Nazari. He mentioned that a leading hospital system has gone beyond monitoring patients after surgical procedures, and is trying to admit some patients to their homes right away. “Obviously, we want to keep the patients healthy at home,” said Nazari. “How do we know they’re healthy if we didn’t take measurements? Obviously, continuous monitoring is helpful for that.”
Other presentations focused on a range of topics, such as 3D printing, device miniaturization, and wearable devices. One titled “How 3D Printing Can Change Your Approach to Medical Device Development” was given by Rick Gillespie of Fisher Unitech LLC. He dove into topics like rapid prototyping and prototype tooling. He mentioned how 3D printing can enable realistic anatomical models. One company involved in 3D printing mentioned as an example was ACIST Medical Systems.
Another in-depth talk, “How Manufacturing Changes When You Miniaturize Your Devices,” was given by Carsten Horn of Maxon Precision Motors. He examined the driving factors for miniaturization, and underscored that “smaller and lighter” is associated with more comfort. For surgeries, miniaturization means less wounds, lower infection risks, and shorter hospital stays, he said.
Not to be outdone, Walt Maclay of Voler Systems focused in on “Building a Better Wearable Device – and Getting it Cleared through FDA” in his presentation. One common scenario today involves connecting a wearable device to a smartphone via Bluetooth technology. However, Maclay mentioned that in the future, we can expect to see wearable devices that connect directly to the internet. Maclay also put a spotlight on the key issue of battery life.