Presented by Keysight Technologies

ARTWORK: Keysight Technologies

By Tobi Elkin and Brad Jolly, Keysight Technologies

As the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) evolves, the health sector is experiencing a digital renaissance that is improving the experience for patients and practitioners.

Remote care facilitated by the IoMT results in better patient outcomes and improves the healthcare worker experience.

The IoMT extends telemedicine capabilities and enables device-to-device communication between devices in hospitals and home care facilities. Physicians can meet and monitor patients remotely and leverage real-time patient data to recommend targeted care plans in less time.

As a leader in test and measurement, Keysight helps medical device companies enable IoMT technologies.

Keysight tools help device designers ensure the safety, efficiency, and reliability of connected medical devices for patients and physicians.

The IoMT in action

Connected medical devices include pacemakers, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, heart rate monitors, pulse oximeters, infusion pumps, wearable devices, etc.

They collect, analyze and transmit actionable and vital data in real time while monitoring their own performance and battery life. Recent advancements where IoMT technologies have made a significant difference include implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and glucometers.

An ICD is a small connected medical device that attaches to the heart to continuously monitor and regulate life-threatening electrical issues.

ARTWORK: Keysight Technologies

The ICD can even transmit data to a doctor for interpretation in real time. More importantly, the device can deliver an electrical impulse to the heart when it detects a life-threatening change in rhythm.

A glucometer is a wearable or implantable sensor that allows patients with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar continuously. Most blood glucose meters can alert patients and their doctors when battery life is approaching.

Important challenges for connected medical devices

Medical device engineers must constantly reduce risk to patients, which requires a laser-like focus on device design, development, verification, validation, and manufacturing.

Therefore, thorough testing throughout the product development cycle is essential to reduce risk and ensure safety and efficacy.

In addition to the risk and safety perspectives of medical device engineering, IoMT devices must also reliably connect to the Internet or central devices to send and receive information and maintain roaming connections.

Battery-powered medical devices must have stable and long-lasting battery charges and coexist with other devices.

Keysight’s design, test, and measurement solutions help meet these requirements to fuel innovation in IoMT.

Here are three ways Keysight solutions can help IoMT device engineers overcome challenges to accelerate targeted innovation in the IoMT ecosystem.

1. Event-Based Power Analysis

Long battery life is essential for patient satisfaction with connected medical devices such as blood glucose meters.

Full battery life is critical because fluctuating blood sugar levels require continuous monitoring to detect sudden changes that can send patients into diabetic shock.

Medical device engineers can use event-based power analysis software to optimize battery life. Keysight developed the X8712A Internet of Things (IoT) battery life optimization solution whereby engineers can analyze a device’s power consumption to get an accurate view of specific features and functions draining the battery.

The solution helps engineers understand how their device performs in various use cases and physical environments. It also provides engineers with the data needed for optimal hardware configuration and firmware programming decisions.

Product development engineers can also quickly test and verify design changes to improve battery life throughout the development process before releasing the product to manufacturing.

2. Power Integrity and Signal Integrity

Surgical robots take on a huge and growing amount of work in operating rooms around the world. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), they perform image processing and process lots of data, which requires robust computing power.

Traces on printed circuit boards are so close together that crosstalk between signals can interfere with each other and reduce signal integrity.

Keysight provides tools that simulate a circuit’s performance, power integrity, and signal integrity before board manufacturing.

Engineers can use PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS) to quickly simulate circuit operation and iterate designs. PathWave allows them to reduce risk faster while reducing the need for costly and time-consuming prototypes.

Accelerate time to market gives patients faster access to cutting-edge, life-saving medical devices. It also reduces risk to the patient by reducing device problems caused by power integrity and signal integrity issues.

Troubleshoot power integrity issues

Design engineers often use low voltage components which consume less power. They want to see power supply integrity across the entire PCB – consistent voltage levels and flat impedance. Since components are specified to operate at certain voltage levels, improper voltages can cause a circuit to malfunction or not activate.

Power integrity issues can cause a longer debug cycle, which slows time to market. Engineers need to uncover these issues before releasing the device for manufacturing. Faster time to market means physicians can help their patients faster and reduce patient risk with high quality, accurate and reliable medical devices.

3. Wireless Chargers

Wireless charging technology is essential favorable factor in IoMT. For example, implanted medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators often need to be recharged.

The safety and efficiency of wireless charging solutions are essential for connected medical devices. Medical device manufacturers must perform extensive manufacturing checks and tests to ensure the wireless performance of their chargers.

Keysight provides network analyzers, power meters, and signal analyzers that medical device manufacturers can use to test wireless chargers.

Improving quality of life through innovation

High-performance medical devices within the IoMT have a positive impact on the quality of life of patients. Battery, signal integrity, power integrity, and wireless testing are constant needs in an ecosystem where connected devices need to communicate with each other, patients, and physicians.

As the world of IoMT expands, unique challenges in designing and testing electronic devices will continue to present themselves. Keysight researchers and engineers are already at the forefront of this wave, developing solutions to helping medical device manufacturers overcome these challenges.

About the authors

Tobi Elkin is a writer/editor and business reporter at Keysight Technologies and an adjunct professor in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Brad Jolly has been with Keysight Technologies (formerly Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies) for over 26 years, including roles in software R&D, user interface design, learning products, application engineering, product support, training, product marketing and product management. He is currently working as an applications engineer specializing in healthcare and IoT solutions.