Post-COVID, there has been a huge rise in the demand for respiratory care devices to meet the requirements of clinical institutions with many new players coming into the market with solutions, but the progression after that has been to make the devices lightweight, portable and portable. Suitable for residential use, with the commercial limitations of being unprofitable in a crowded space with many disposable component parts.
With writers opening up to designs, new technology has had the opportunity to incorporate and integrate functionality into devices that may not have been necessary before. To capture any data for analysis, if a patient is breathing through a mask, the inhalation and exhalation volumes can be monitored by tracking changes in the differential pressure of the patient’s breathing. With the patient’s breathing recorded as ‘data’, this can be set to trigger an alarm if there are unexpected changes, or to provide a captured profile of breathing in a clinical review.
If health indicators can truly be captured and considered as data, it will not only be in respiratory care as similar principles and developments are being made across the full industry as the level of confidence in the technology improves. Capturing deviations or changes can be as accurate as 60 mbar, so this methodology can serve for extended fields such as blood pressure analysis, heart rate monitoring, and brain impulses for epilepsy diagnosis and negative pressure treatment to speed wound recovery.
Technological improvement goes beyond the bio-data a patient will generate, but can be seen in developments in how care is administered. The data generated by the patient could be the “output”, but what about the “input”? When complementary care is required to be provided, this can also be linked through IoT systems and loop in the symptoms presented by the patient.
There is no doubt that advances in medical technology will require multiple disciplines to provide a robust solution to such a tightly regulated field. Unnecessary risks cannot be taken and an MTBF can be the difference between life and death. The decision to develop a new medical market proposition can be uncertain when you consider the time, effort and expenditure that would be required to meet guidelines under a high cost of failure environment.
Even from example to a respirator with IoT connectivity, you need a combination of specializations either from your own team or specialist subcontractors. It needs electrical and electronic engineering for operation and data collection, software developers to communicate data and control parameters, mechanical engineering for airflow, and most importantly medical input to ensure the product is fit for purpose and can function effectively in support of the patient.
These activities can be considered high overhead costs as they go beyond normal business practices to find new, efficient and sustainable solutions. As a way to support innovation in the UK, where the development has taken place, there is help through HMRC to cushion the brunt of that spending.
Wherever development has been applied, there are mechanisms available through tax deduction to claim back some of the expenses. This can apply to expenditures right from the inception of the pre-planning phase through to promulgation and implementation to cover a portion of team wages, consumables, prototyping cost and the cost of specialist sub-contractor input that may be required to provide you with the required levels of performance.