Many of the characteristics that make a medical device worthy of distinction in the Medical Design Excellence Awards can also make it a hit in the market.

Jamie Hartford

One of my favorite parts of our annual Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) program—besides the glitzy awards ceremony where designers of the most innovative products in medtech get to stand in the spotlight—is the jurors’ weekend we hold each February. That’s when we bring an esteemed group of designers, engineers, and clinicians together to debate the merits of all the entries and separate the wheat from the chaff. 

It’s fascinating to...

May 6th, 2016
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Radiofrequency wireless devices must undergo rigorous testing and certification, but there are things manufacturers can do to make the process go smoothly.

David Schramm        

                 

Every radiofrequency (RF) wireless device, no matter what its function, must undergo a rigorous testing and certification process to ensure it meets guidelines set by FDA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and international governing bodies such as the EU. It must not interfere with other wireless devices in the environment or allow those other devices to interfere with it.

Testing and certification typically requires four to six weeks, but manufacturers can take some simple steps...

May 5th, 2016
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In an interview, a senior Boston Scientific executive shares new information on the company's competing device to Medtronic's Micra and St. Jude Medical's Nanostim leadless pacemakers.

Arundhati Parmar

The Empower leadless pacemaker from Boston Scientific 

 

We know about leadless pacemaker programs from Medtronic - called Micra - and St. Jude Medical - Nanostim. But so far, few details are known about Boston Scientific's rival program.

...

May 5th, 2016
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Despite the demonstrated value of the technology, remote monitoring is being used on far fewer patients implanted with cardiac devices.  

Arundhati Parmar

You may have heard this before - remote monitoring can be a tremendous boon for patients with implanted cardiac devices.

Yet, here is the ugly truth. Even though the technology is ready, available and there are guidelines for physicians in place that strongly recommended the use of remote monitoring, many patients are still not on it. 

...
May 5th, 2016
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Your coffee machine could inform the design of medical equipment. What could Keurig-style automation offer the lab testing industry?

Nigel Syrotuck

A tired man in a robe yawns as he approaches the appliance. He checks to make sure there is enough water in the back and examines the pile of various options he can prepare. Eventually, he finds the one he wants and pops it into the unit before pressing ‘go.’ Thankfully he doesn’t have to pay attention after this, the machine will prepare it automatically and he can grab it when it’s finished.

This isn’t the morning routine of a caffeine drinker; this is a technician running analyses in a hospital lab in the near future. In this lab, a single automated medical device is the standard for preparing and running a...

May 5th, 2016
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A new study finds a direct link between pacemaker-related sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation.

Arundhati Parmar

 

Results of a new study show that pacemaker patients who have sleep apnea are at increased risk of irregular heart rhythm of atrial fibrillation.

The study was presented Wednesday at the 2016 Heart Rhythm Society Meeting in San Francisco, and recommended that pacemaker patients be monitored for sleep apnea to identify their risk for developing AF.

"In recent years, pacemakers have increasingly become equipped with sleep apnea monitoring measures, and in using these tools, we were able to identify how pacemaker patients with sleep apnea are at...

May 4th, 2016
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A medical device supplier is trying a novel approach to talk to customers—using named, human characters instead of just product descriptions.

Marie Thibault

It's unusual for a supplier to put anything other than their product front and center when advertising to potential customers. But that's exactly what Smalley Steel Ring Company decided to do when it introduced Shel and Shelli to the world. 

Wait, who? Shel and Shelli aren't exactly mascots, but they do put a human face on Smalley's engineering expertise.

Smalley, a supplier of rings and springs for the medtech and other industries, has approximately 500 employees and is headquartered about an hour's drive from Chicago in Lake Zurich, IL. The...

May 4th, 2016
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UnitedHealthcare is restricting many of its members from using any other insulin pump except ones made by Medtronic, a move that is upsetting the passionate, online diabetes community. 

Arundhati Parmar

 

Could there be an impending fight coming between a insurance giant and a very passionate patient community over a Medtronic product? And can patient's prevail in that fight?

On Tuesday morning, Tandem Diabetes Care, which makes the novel, touchscreen t:slim insulin pump that integrates with Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitor, announced that UnitedHealthcare will no longer cover those pumps. Starting July 1, Medtronic has been selected the preferred vendor for UnitedHealthcare members over 18 and certain other...

May 4th, 2016
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A number of this year's MDEA finalists adhered to trends such as improving the patient experience, democratizing care, using data in meaningful ways, and bringing sleek consumer-device-style design to medtech.

Jamie Hartford

Each year, the Medical Design Excellence Awards serve as an opportunity to recognize significant achievements in medical product design and engineering that improve the quality of healthcare delivery and accessibility. The program, which is judged by a panel of jurors made up of designers, engineers, and clinicians, also highlights some of the broader trends taking hold in medtech.

Here are a few trends that came to the fore this year.

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May 3rd, 2016
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The 2016 MDEA Lifetime Achievement Award winner relates memorable highlights from his prolific career as a medtech entrepreneur and shares a few details about his current venture.

Marie Thibault

The basic details of Manny Villafaña’s biography have been told numerous times. His rise from an underprivileged childhood in the South Bronx to become the founder of several successful medical device companies, including Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. and St. Jude Medical, has made him a pillar of the industry.

Perhaps less known are some of the momentous decisions, between the well-publicized accomplishments, that now seem like turning points in Villafaña’s life. From an outsider’s perspectives, every one of these decisions represents a major risk, but to Villafaña they were a way of life. “You just can’t sit there and say, ‘Wow, Manny, that’s a lot of risk!’ . . . You gotta remember, where I lived in the South Bronx, you had nothing...

May 3rd, 2016
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