As medical device manufacturers, keeping an ear on the pulse of the healthcare space is how you ensure you’re delivering the solutions providers need to embrace new and exciting advancements in the field. That’s how device manufacturers have delivered on medical computers and tablets in the past, how they’ve aided interoperability efforts in the present, and it’s how they’re going to help doctors capitalize on the rise of at home care seekers in the coming years.  

As anyone who’s been listening to that pulse in the past few years can tell you, the popularity of at home care is on a steady rise.

Every day, 10,000 people in the US alone reach the age of 65. In fact, the United States Census Bureau predicts that by 2050, 84 million Americans will be 65 or older. The number of patients that are not willing to or are not able to leave their home for more frequently necessary doctor visits is rapidly increasing. And with technology like smartphones, cloud services, and online retail all delivering lightning quick service from home at a moment’s notice, patients are beginning to expect the same convenience and security out of their healthcare. 

So how do device manufacturers step up to meet the expectations of both physicians and their patients?     

1.) Embrace Patient Empowerment

As patients continue to seek out care within the comfort of their own homes, they begin to play a more active role in their healthcare- they desire information about their health and ailments so they can make more educated and actionable decisions about their treatment.

As such, manufacturers should expect some competition in more patient-oriented medical devices that provide them with valuable insights into their healthcare journey. 

With patients being the intended end users of these medical devices, manufacturers will also want to pay special attention to the personalization capabilities of their devices. Patients want to be empowered through education of their ailments/treatments and their physicians will naturally want to help deliver on that front with the right tech. This means they’ll want tools and devices that will engage their patients with their health without making a noticeable impact on their daily routine. Medical devices specifically for home use should provide easy-to-navigate interfaces and function intuitively without demanding too much input from their users.

Those looking for a perfect example of devices that meet these criteria need just look at the at home inject-able medicine market that’s slated to reach $285 billion by 2023. The at home inject-able devices are wearable,making them non-invasive and easy to use while not requiring patients to spend lengthy amounts of time applying or lugging around heavy equipment. More importantly, they also make patients feel more involved and educated in regards to things like their dosage, their conditions, and how they’re being treated. Patients are happy because they’re being treated like an active passenger in their healthcare journey, and physicians are happy because these simple to use devices encourage adherence to treatment plans.

2.) Brace for the Data Storm

Patients aren’t the only ones beginning to demand more transparency when it comes to healthcare information. Federal legislation is also planning on pushing the envelope for open data sharing in 2020 in an effort to further promote interoperability between healthcare providers as well as enhanced patient engagement.  

With this push towards more open data sharing, both physicians and patients will have access to wide swaths of data. Everything from patient health literacy, nutrition and socioeconomic factors to treatment plans and more stand to be available to both parties in order to promote more informed care. Naturally, device manufacturers are sure to notice more competition in devices that seek to consolidate all of this data from various sources into one system.

Device manufacturers looking to fill this need in the space need to understand that accuracy in their device’s ability to consolidate all this data is absolutely paramount. Doctors and physicians know better than anyone that one overlooked piece of valuable information can lead to an adverse outcome in their patients. By reaching out for a new device, they plan on mitigating their liability and the possibility of those adverse outcomes, meaning complete accuracy will be a golden selling proposition for devices looking to gather information from sources such as wearables, EHRs, and more.

Devices that can house more information from disparate sources will likely be a godsend for providers in this data-heavy age. Think devices outfitted with hardware such as RFID scanners that would normally be external or localized in a peripheral. Creating a tool that can store several inputs of valuable treatment data in one device will do wonders for facilities interested in beefing up their interoperability efforts.        

3.) Double Down on Defense

Unfortunately, not everything is quaint and optimistic in the new age of data. With more data and information systems being integrated into the mix, more avenues of cyberattack become available. This holds doubly true when you consider that more patients will be outfitted with devices housing sensitive information to meet this demand for at home care.

With all of this data floating around, cybercriminals stand to steal much more valuable information than they did previously and it’s the device manufacturer’s responsibility to address those security concerns. 

The FDA understands that cybersecurity is a responsibility shared by both provider and manufacturer, however, the latter is given the lion’s share of that responsibility to shoulder. Naturally, the goal of any medical device manufacturer should be to meet this demand for data security. Devices that employ Imprivata SSO certified hardware and software such as smart card readers can be a sound jumping off point for those looking to create devices backed by proper cyberdefense. 

Regardless of the route traveled, device manufacturers should be prepared to provide documentation to the FDA of processes undertaken to address rising cybersecurity risks.     

2020 Medical Devices are all About the Patient

Data is king in the current healthcare landscape and it’s likely going to keep its throne for a good long while. Device manufacturers are more than likely already aware of this fact, but it’s important to keep an eye on the industry and understand how this obsession with data is transforming not just the ways doctors treat, but the ways patients are playing along in their healthcare. Manufacturers who use those insights to create devices meant to address those developments are likely to see success. For more information on how your devices can meet this changing demand in at home care, contact a specialist from Cybernet today.