Medical devices are constantly evolving in order to identify and treat medical conditions more efficiently and effectively. The trend toward digital, remote technologies was well underway before Covid-19, but the pandemic significantly increased the demand for remote patient monitoring and care. For these reasons, there have been significant advancements in telemedicine and telehealth – and analysts agree this trend is expected to continue. Opportunities abound for growth and innovation within the medical device industry, and below are the top 5 medical device trends in 2021 and beyond.

1. Further Expansion of IoMT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is simply the use of the internet in everyday objects. The IoT is playing a big role in medical devices. Connected, or “smart” medical devices provide a wide range of data such as blood pressure, body temperature, and blood sugar for healthcare providers. This data can be used for various applications ranging from prevention, diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy. In 2021, we will continue to see the IoT evolve into the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which will utilize IoT devices, telemedicine, and telehealth technologies – all of which facilitate remote patient care. IoMT apps and devices optimize patient care and improve operational efficiency of medical services. Examples of the IoMT applications include an electrocardiogram monitor that will detect irregular heartbeats or rates that are too low as well as diabetes devices such as smart insulin pens and glucose meters.

2. Continued Demand for Wearables

Examples of wearable devices are a Fitbit to count your steps or a similar device to track your heart rate. There are millions of people worldwide with wearable, connected devices and this figure is growing as the demand increases for wearables, such as smart watches, exercise trackers, oximeters, and heart rate monitors. These devices collect valuable data that enables the patient and healthcare provider to manage health remotely, flagging any potential issues. Wearables are also in high demand for individuals that do not have a given medical condition and simply wish to improve overall wellness. As demand for more personalized wearables increases, tech companies are busy developing new innovations.

Additionally, wearable devices present a huge opportunity to collect data for clinical trials. This type of data is simpler and faster to collect as well as less expensive, allowing researchers to make real-time assessments on the patient’s well-being – rather than wait for data collection via surveys and focus groups. There are already many clinical trials taking advantage of wearable devices and we expect this number to grow significantly in 2021 and beyond.

3. Sensors, Sensors, and More Sensors

One of the biggest booms in medical device technology is sensors. These come in various shapes and sizes and include chemical, optical and pressure sensors that are used in wearable and even ingestible devices. Medical device sensors have the ability to link data collection to real-time decision making, which will allow the healthcare industry to shift more towards individualized patient care. For example, we are seeing the development of an ingestible device with sensors that remain in the stomach for over a month, collecting measurements and administering medicine based on the data-collected.

Biosensors are one of the latest innovations. One example is a bandage or patch with a sensor enclosed to monitor sweat and/or blood to track a patient’s condition and alert the individual or healthcare provider if an intervention is necessary. More medical device technologies like these are expected to be underway in 2021.

4. Increased Utilization of Robots

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more of a presence in healthcare facilities, and one of the fastest growing forms of AI are robots. In many hospitals, robots are already performing repetitive tasks such as restocking supplies or assisting with disinfecting activities. Robots are also assisting doctors with surgeries in the operating room.

Robotics innovations are resulting in robots capable of more complex and intricate tasks. A huge area for research and development is nanomedicine. One advancement underway is the creation of tiny microbots that are capable of entering a patient’s capillaries to assess and repair human tissue. This is an exciting development and, in the future, may result in a treatment for cancer or other diseases that includes a patient swallowing a pill that encapsulates a programmable microbot.

5. Expanded VR Device Usage

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation that can be interacted with in a seemingly real way by an individual wearing special equipment such as goggles or a helmet. In the healthcare community, VR devices are used for medical staff training as well as patient care.

Doctors, nurses, and medical students use VR to practice their skills and simulate “real” medical procedures in what they perceive as a healthcare environment. This hands-on training is invaluable and is believed to translate to higher knowledge retention.

When it comes to patient treatments, VR is used as therapy to treat a variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, vision problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For PTSD care, patients are able to explore a simulated environment to determine what triggers a response and how to work through a patient’s emotions and responses to said triggers – all from a safe environment in the presence of a healthcare professional.

VR medical devices are expected continue to play a big role in product development in 2021 and beyond.

ProMed’s Molding Capabilities

ProMed was founded in 1989 to address an industry need for cleanroom manufacturing of silicone components, specifically those having a medical application. We have garnered a reputation as the world benchmark of implantable silicone components and assemblies – and are one of few companies in the world to provide contract manufacturing of drug-eluting products.

ProMed has expertise in working with the full spectrum of silicones covering a wide range of properties and characteristics. We will assist in your material selection to help ensure all design requirements are met. Our manufacturing facilities and equipment are designed for a single purpose—to mold medical and implantable silicone, combination components, and bio-material grade plastics with uncompromising quality and service. We currently have four divisions that are located within two manufacturing sites. All are certified class 10,000 / ISO Class 7 cleanrooms.

We can identify the right manufacturing solution for any project. We have extensive experience in a wide range of injection molding techniques including:

  • Automated Injection Molding
  • Multi-cavity tooling
  • Micro molds and micro molding
  • Servo-controlled de-molding capabilities
  • Insert molds, overmolds, and automation integration
  • Transfer molding
  • Compression molding

ProMed is committed to utilizing advanced technologies, and we are well positioned to partner with OEMs to take advantage of the growth potential within the medical device industry in 2021. Contact us today at 763-331-3800 to discuss your next medical molding project.

Top Medical Device Trends in 2021
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Top Medical Device Trends in 2021
Top medical device trends in 2021 including increased demand and utilization of wearables, sensors, robots, and virtual reality.
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ProMed Molding
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