A smart medical device: the new nurse

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Medical devices are getting much smarter. A hospital bed is not simply a place for patients to rest; it is a personalized hospital that can assist the nurse by performing numerous observations. For example, consider a hearing aid device that knows you intend to make a call by detecting that your mobile is approaching your ear, or a glucose monitor/insulin pump that detects when and how much insulin is needed before injecting it automatically.

To perform all these actions in a safe and reliable way, medical devices are getting smarter by adding embedded software that can measure vital parameters, elaborate on elementary diagnoses, communicate with the patient or the medical staff and sometimes automatically deliver the treatment.  While embedded software provides clear added value, software innovation is always challenging, especially in a risk-averse industry like healthcare.

To successfully address this challenge, the automotive and aeronautic industries are using software to write and test software. By  breaking down complex actions  into elementary steps, it is possible to automatically generate the code needed to perform each simple task. The combination of numerous simple steps leads to very advanced software that can reliably perform complex actions. Furthermore, by applying different input signals that can model either user or environmental stimuli, the software engineer simulates — and hence optimizes — the expected behavior of the system.

This automatic code generation performed by SCADE tools is becoming so reliable, e.g., for the aeronautic industry, that this software is automatically certified by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA), provided that the code has not been modified by any human being. This approach is so powerful that there is no doubt that the healthcare industry will soon use it to accelerate and amplify the added value brought by smarter medical devices.

To learn more:  How to Successfully Address Embedded Software Challenges for the Medical Device Industry – Webinar

By Thierry Marchal Global Industry Director Healthcare, ANSYS, Inc.