Innovation & New Technologies Making health measurements easy and comfortable – How to design wearable MedTech Innovation & New Technologies Thanks to technological advancements in processors and printed, flexible electronics, wearable MedTech – devices that can be worn on the body for various health measurements – have become more and more available today. Due to changes in demographics and advancements in treatment, the demand for such devices is also growing fast. Share this story: They are small and comfortable – patches that stick to your skin, for example. No uncomfortable wires. No time-consuming visits to labs. Wearable MedTech devices can these days measure many things and offer a lot of potential. Treatment that is uncomfortable is often avoided, which is why the development and introduction of wearable measuring equipment is so important. Health measurements that can be carried out on the patient’s skin while allowing the patient to pursue their daily activities also make monitoring more successful. Although wearable MedTech devices are not yet widely used, there are some fields, such as sleep research, where they are already standard. Etteplan, for example, has implemented a smart patch project for VTT, among others. Today, when a new product idea emerges, it is highly likely that it can already be realized in some shape or form – much of the required technology is already there. The more we recognize areas where measurements could improve efficiency, reliability and ease-of-use, the more solutions we can develop. Key elements when designing wearable MedTech Usability At the initial phase of any wearable MedTech design process, it is important to know who the device is for and to determine their needs. Usability and ergonomics are of utmost importance in making sure that the device is comfortable and easy to use from the start – not annoying, heavy, or uncomfortable in any way. Individual differences between people must also be considered to verify that the measurements are accurate. Sensors Sensors that can be integrated within the devices are a central part of wearable MedTech. There are many things that can be easily measured from the surface of the skin, such as temperature, heart rate (or the entire ECG curve) and oxygen saturation. Sensor data, if analyzed over a long period, can reveal a great deal about a person’s health. Benefits are even greater when data from many different sensors are combined. Data security In wearable MedTech, device data is quite often managed in the cloud. To ensure data security, data is encrypted all the way from the device to the cloud. Proper access management guarantees that only those with a legitimate need and rights can see the data. Also, in larger databases, the identity of each subject is obscured so that in case of a leak, subjects cannot be identified, and the leak will not cause privacy concerns. Energy consumption Power consumption and power management properties of electronic components have evolved so that we can achieve longer and longer usage times. When it comes to batteries, they nowadays come in various shapes and the smallest of sizes. In some cases, wireless charging can be utilized to ease recharging. Also energy harvesting is possible, especially in very low-power solutions. Sustainability Sustainability and environmental issues are naturally an essential part of the entire design process. As with any device manufacturing, wearable MedTech profits from an early-stage life cycle analysis which helps in defining smart material choices, in optimizing loss and even in planning the recyclability of the product. Etteplan designs wearable MedTech from idea to market, providing everything needed along the way and making sure each device is safe to use and meets other regulatory requirements. Etteplan is happy to be involved in the design process from concept to finish, helping clients to identify ideas, needs, and best practices. Interested in learning more about MedTech device development? Download our free guide here!