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Qt 2020 Predictions: IoT, AI, and ML-enabled medical devices will enhance near-term and long-term patient care

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Roger Mazzella, Senior Product Manager - Medical, Qt

IoT, AI, and ML-enabled medical devices will enhance near-term and long-term patient care

As technology continues to evolve, and the environment of the medical industry is more connected through IoTMT (Internet of Medical Things), the chances your medical device has a software component is extremely high. Indeed, even medical devices whose intended use does not directly require software, will necessitate a software component to be part of a connected ecosystem.

As we move into the new year, keep an eye on these emerging industry trends related to software development and medical devices:

IoT-connected devices significantly reduce human factor risk, impacting near-term and long-term patient care.

Within the next five years, expanding adoption IoT-enabled devices will remove the limitations of human-entered data.

When checking patient weight, a medical assistant must complete several different, manual processes to get the information from point A to B - gathering the data from the scale, writing it down, typing it into a record, saving it for batch data entry later, etc. This leaves an opportunity for the information to get lost or entered incorrectly, which can impact patient care and wellbeing.

By connecting medical devices directly to the health records using mature IoT technologies, healthcare institutions will eliminate human factor risks that endanger patients and deliver real-time data visualization to spot near-term health trends. Additionally, through IoT connectivity, the industry will enable preventive, long-term treatment opportunities, specifically for outpatient care. For example, by installing sensors in people's homes to measure bathroom habits or sleep schedules, which can identify critical conditions and aid in the development of effective treatment plans.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enable early disease detection - leading to use of this data challenging existing privacy regulations.

The increase in data availability and visibility has introduced challenging new conversations to the industry, which will continue to advance in 2020 and beyond. For example, the concern that insurance agencies or potential employers can withhold opportunities due to pre-determined health conditions made available through modern health-focused solutions.

Although there are some critical challenges that need to be addressed along the way, cutting-edge medical equipment will also bring a positive impact to the industry in 2020. Indeed, evolving, data-driven AI and ML solutions will enable complex new use cases for the healthcare industry, such as early disease detection. With the help of AI/ML solutions, doctors will be able to identify the first inception of cancer or degenerative diseases and trigger immediate treatment. In this case, AI/ML-enabled medical devices can process and compare mass amounts of images that have been collected throughout thousands, even tens of thousands, of patients, to identify the smallest incident of a debilitating disease (which they would be unable to identify through manual analysis).

Data privacy and security concerns will continue to play a big role in the adoption of modern technology innovations - and will challenge established regulatory agreements, like HIPAA, in the next few years.

Medical device creators deliver enhanced, smartphone-like user experiences to enable the next generation of healthcare practitioners.

Today's digital health solutions require an ever faster and more intuitive user experience along with a more modern, reliable, and responsive user interface. Expectations are high, as millions of people across the world have gotten used to the high benchmark set by their smartphones. Although existing medical staff is acclimated to the manual knobs, buttons, and dials on legacy systems, younger generations now entering the workforce expect equipment usability to be as intuitive, responsive, and reliable as one's smartphone. As a result, medical equipment manufacturers must adjust product development processes to address a wider variety of accessibility requirements of equipment users.

In the next year, device creators will work to deliver modern, easy-to-use medical devices to market. Beyond reliability, flexibility will be a big trend during the next phase of development as organizations cater to users with varying levels of technical and operational expertise. For example, by creating a single product that can easily switch between different user interfaces, one tailored to seasoned staff (with digitized, traditional controls via touchscreen), and one tailored to next-gen employees (utilizing modern touch screens controls). Moreover, by improving overall product usability and flexibility, a broader group of patients, specifically older generations, can use medical equipment directly while remote or at-home (think connected glucometers or heart rate monitors) to help keep their doctors up-to-date on their status or illness.

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About the Author

Roger Mazzella 

Roger Mazzella is a Senior Product Manager for The Qt Company, in charge of Qt's cross-platform UI/UX software for the medical industry. Roger has extensive experience in product and services management, regulatory law, compliance, and marketing for the medical device and diagnostics industry.

Prior to joining The Qt Company, Roger brought state-of-the-art regulatory and clinical software applications and services to the medical device and diagnostics industry and delivered quality engineering solutions and products for numerous multinational and Fortune 500 customers. Roger also worked as quality and regulatory engineer, making significant contributions to the validation and verification of patient monitoring systems.

Roger received his Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where his focus of study was on medical device design and FDA regulatory law. He received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University, where he won awards in electronic design from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Published Monday, December 23, 2019 7:19 AM by David Marshall
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