This Week in Devices [6/15/12]


200 Years of Surgery

  • We've truly come a long way in even a comparatively short time. A historical overview of the last 200 years of surgery, including some of the techniques and devices of days gone by. 
    Source: The New England Journal of Medicine

An Artificial Pancreas for Diabetics

  • An artificial pancreas has recently completed a successful human clinical trial and is pointing to potential breakthroughs in healthcare for diabetic patients. 
    Source: io9

Fake Medical...

June 15th, 2012

As a busy design engineer, your principle focus is creating innovative electronic products that exceed your customers’ growing expectations. A big part of successful electronic product development is offering your production team a functional workspace that maximizes their ability to design and build quality products. Your laboratory’s work benches have a huge impact on a staff’s overall productivity. Purchasing and installing the right work bench for your lab could mean the difference between an efficient, high-capacity output and, well, something far less than ideal.

Here are four qualities to look for in a great laboratory work bench system:

  • Work benches that accommodate future expansion plans: your next work bench system should have the ability to change with the increasing growth and...
June 11th, 2012

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will likely not succeed in reducing the cost of healthcare in the United States, according to a recent survey of 2694 physicians. At least, that was the opinion of 70% of the survey frespondents. 67% of them also felt the legislation would not improve the doctor-patient relationship. Only 12% of respondents reported that the ACA “brought the reform needed in healthcare.”

The survey also asked physicians to grade the reform. Although 31% of felt the reform was worthy of an “A” or “B,” the mean average grade was a “D.”

According to the survey, which was organized by Jackson Healthcare:

  • 66% of respondents said ACA would weaken physicians' control over their practice decisions.
  • 61% said ACA would not improve the quality of healthcare.
  • 55% said Congress should scrap ACA and start over.
  • 54% said ACA would increase patients' access...
June 11th, 2012

That's the question art student Dan Chen challenges audiences with in his File > Save As > Intimacy project. The art project, made for his masters thesis at Rhode Island School of Design features a medical device, called the End of Life Care Machine, that is designed to provide comfort to dying patients in their last moments. It might be a heartwarming thought, but Chen's project is not designed to illicit comfort. Susie, the voice of the machine, speaks in a monotone computerized drawl more suited to a female Hal 9000 than a care provider.

In a statement on his Web site Chen says, “The process of dying is probably the most vulnerable moment of a human life, where one seeks the assurance of human connection. In this installation,...
June 11th, 2012

[Editor's note: This is the last installment in MD+DI's 10-part "Women in Medtech" series.]

As commissioner of the FDA, Margaret Hamburg has a tough job. Part of her role is to walk the thin line between protecting patients and giving them access to innovative, lifesaving products.

She brings to the task her background as a physician as well as years spent working in public health. Hamburg has served as FDA commissioner since 2009, and she is just the second woman to be nominated for the agency's top spot.

MD+DI: How did you first become involved in the medtech industry?

Margaret Hamburg: As a medical professional I have obviously been exposed to medical technology issues. However, prior to...

June 8th, 2012

This Week in Devices: [6/8/2012]

House Repeals Medical Device Tax

  • Ding-dong the tax is dead! At least in the House of Representatives as Republicans and Democrats vote overwhelmingly to kill the 2.3% device tax.
    Source: Reuters

The Medical Device Tax – A Bipartisan Issue?

  • A roundup of articles and op-eds from both sides of the political spectrum examining the medical device tax.
    Source: News-Medical

Are Americans Getting Too Much Medical Testing; Too Often?

June 8th, 2012

It can sometimes seem like the medical device business wasn't the best career choice. It's an industry rife with lawsuits. Medical device designers must continually walk the line between the products they want to make and the products that can achieve 510(k) clearance or premarket approval. On top of all that, the government is trying to take 2.3% off the top of your sales.

It's enough to make you wonder why you started in this industry in the first place.

The next time you need a reminder, search "cochlear implant activation" on YouTube. What you'll find are videos like this one, of 2-year-old Cooper hearing his mother's voice for the first time: 


June 5th, 2012

As reported on, the northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna, the heart of Italy's manufacturing industry, has been rattled bei several strong earthquakes in recent weeks. When the first 6.0-magnitude quake hit the region between Modena and Ferrara on 20 May, seven people reportedly died, many buildings and historic structures were either destroyed or heavily damaged and thousands were left homeless. After hundreds of aftershocks a second strong earthquake, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, shook the region on 29 May and another one on Sunday. This ongoing series of heavy earthquakes has a dramatic impact on the area's medical device industry as the region between the cities of Modena and Mirandola is home to over 100 medical device manufacturers. "The companies cannot operate for safety reasons," says Paolo Galavotti, General Manager Nexion srl, who lives near the epicenter in heavily...

June 5th, 2012

1. What is “Analytics”?

Analytics examines raw data through the process of cleaning, preprocessing, modeling, and postprocessing with the goal to highlight useful information, detect patterns, test hypothesis, develop explanations, and support decision making.

2. What are the main applications of Analytics in medical devices?

The main applications include:

  • Monitoring algorithm, application, and system performance
  • Providing integrated information to the healthcare providers from the interface of data from the medical device at the healthcare organization environment at which the device is located
  • Using Bayesian Statistics in Medical Device Clinical Trials [1]
  • Integrating several data sources e.g., Quality Systems, Operations, Technical Services, Supply Chain, and Lab Management data to correct current issues and prevent future problems (CAPA)

3. What are the main tools used in Analytics?...

June 4th, 2012


This Week in Devices [6/1/2012]
U.S. House Panel Backs Medical Device Tax Repeal
  • A Republican-controlled congressional panel voted on Thursday to repeal a tax on medical devices. 
    Source: Reuters

Open-Source Medical Devices
  • Manufacturers want to apply the open-source model to medical device software design. But...
June 1st, 2012