Top trends, innovations for interconnected medical devices

Top trends, innovations for interconnected medical devices

From band aids to blood pressure equipment – medical devices will be smart; a key focus of the Medica Connected Healthcare forum.

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Can prosthetics be intelligent? Yes, they can.

“Intelligent prosthetics are prosthetics that perceive their surroundings via sensors. Based on these perceptions, they then adapt their functions appropriately to meet the patients’ needs,” explains Prof. Arndt Schilling, head of research and development at University Medical Center Göttingen’s Clinic for Trauma Surgery, Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery, and president of the German Academy for Osteology and Rheumatology Sciences.

Schilling is one of the more than 100 international speakers at the Medica Connected Healthcare Forum. With more than 5,000 exhibitors, Medica is the world’s leading medical trade fair held annually in Düsseldorf, Germany, November 12-15, 2018. The forum is an established part of Medica’s program and focuses on the latest findings, technologies, and solutions to ensure interconnected and mobile healthcare. Top trends and innovative products are the topic of lectures presented in the exhibition area of the Forum.

On November 12 and 13, the Medica Connected Healthcare Forum will focus on personalized medicine for the treatment of chronic diseases and appropriate health monitoring, among other topics. ResMed, for example, offers solutions for sleep apnea as well as non-invasive ventilators for home use (mechanical ventilation). Thanks to sleep onset detection, these devices deliver a low pressure until the user falls asleep and then increase the pressure to the prescribed value. At the same time, integrated radio technology sends the therapy data to the caregiver. Users can change the device’s settings, check that the device is working properly, and solve problems, helping ensure the therapy’s quality. Andreas Grimm from ResMed will focus on how innovative CPAP can improve the mobility of patients with sleep apnea.

Mild electrical impulses counter depression
Korean company Ybrain uses neurostimulation to treat depression. Applied transcranial direct-current stimulation is recognized by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Ybrain has developed the Mindd headband. The device emits mild electrical impulses to the frontal brain lobe – an area associated with depression – shocking the lobe out of its depressive inactivity. The system is connected to a smart phone app allowing users to evaluate the intensity of their depression on a scale, allowing doctors to monitor the treatment’s progress. On Nov. 12, Kiwon Lee, managing director of Ybrain, will explain these devices for non-invasive brain and nerve stimulation.

Measuring blood pressure without cuffs
Extensive monitoring makes sense in many areas, such as in healthcare, sport, when treating diseases, and rehabilitation. ViCardio states that it is the only wearable blood pressure monitor that can be worn across a long period of time using an optical biosensor measures, not the traditional inflatable cuff. ViCardio co-founder Dr. Sandeep Shah will portray the future of blood pressure monitoring.

Biovotion offers a mini-hospital on the upper arm – a medical device measuring parameters such as heart rate, oxygen in the blood, stress levels, or sleep rhythms. The values are recorded via the Everion armband – all day, every day – and are then analyzed. Anika Uhde from Biovotion will explain how this works.

Dynostics, a smart analyzing device with accompanying app, is a solution for spiroergometry (lung function) and metabolic analyses. It can assist in shaping medical training therapies or giving nutrition recommendations based on metabolic values that have been professionally determined. Manfred Günther from Dynostics will explain the significance of performance and metabolic diagnostics.

Medical technology moves to smart band aids and bandagesIntelligent patch solutions are currently conquering numerous medical application fields. Health Care Originals offers an advanced patch to support asthma patients. This wearable technology records symptoms such as coughing, breathing patterns, heartbeat, and more, and is an early warning system for asthmatic attacks. If values deviate from the norm, the wearer receives this information at an early stage to prevent the attack or lessen its intensity. There is also an option to notify someone and it records the use of the inhaler.

On November 13, everything at the Medica Connected Healthcare Forum will revolve around smart patches – band aids and bandages – in healthcare as a whole. They can be used in rehabilitation in endoprosthetics, like TracPatch. This allows patients’ progress to be tracked after the operation, for example when they do the necessary exercises at home. In this case, the smart patches record the joint’s agility and deflection angle, for example. Measuring body temperature can give an indication on inflammations, making this an ideal device to use for training purposes or in mobilization therapy after an operation.

At Karl Otto Braun, the band aid itself is smart and changes color according to body temperature, which is helpful when there are inflammations underneath it. Dr. Eng. Marcin Meyer (Karl Otto Braun) illustrates the role of smart textiles in wireless health monitoring at the Medica Connectect Healthcare Forum.

CyMedica’s forum presentation will support the fact that bandages are also becoming smart. They offer a post-op knee support that stimulates the muscle wirelessly and can be used after an operation – all controlled via an app that tracks therapy progress.

In contrast, the solutions and devices by Kinvent monitor muscle power. A muscle dynamometer and a handhold to measure hand strength can give doctors, physiotherapists, and rehabilitation centers an indication on whether patients are carrying out their exercises at home correctly and how to evaluate the therapy progress.  

However, wearing bandages constantly can hurt the skin. For this reason, the company Covestro addresses this subject at the Medica Connected Healthcare Forum. With the right choice of materials and manufacturing technology, they develop adhesives that adhere securely to the body, are skin-friendly, and equipped with fully functional sensors.