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FROM HOME TO THE HOSPITAL, MEDICAL DEVICES ARE STRENGTHENING HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS
CHECKING OUT OF THE HOSPITAL AND INTO HEALTHCARE TECHNOLOGY - Healthcare and life science technology is no longer the domain of hospitals and pharmaceutical labs. Shifting demographics, ageing populations, lack of physicians and cost pressure on the medical sector have spurred innovation in the field – expanding it to settings like telemedicine, decentralized care facilities and homes. A transition to digital healthcare and to the new “4P” approach – which stands for Preventive, Predictive, Personalized and Participative – require innovative solutions in terms of medical technology, materials and sensing devices.
Many devices used in today’s medical applications depend on semiconductor technology. These include sensors and MEMS, communication ICs, microcontrollers, discrete devices, microfluidic devices, memory, power management devices, as well as analog, digital, and mixed-signal ICs. Such devices are driving a host of applications in fields like clinical diagnostics and therapy, medical imaging, and remote monitoring. Semiconductor-enabled equipment such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines, pacemakers, handheld ultrasound imaging systems, blood pressure monitors, chemistry and blood gas analyzers, and wireless patient monitors are all part of the medical revolution today.
Semiconductors allow for simpler, faster, and more cost-effective health systems. They drive all major medical and in-vitro diagnostic innovations, as well as in the DNA sequencing revolution.
In-vitro and biology devices are being introduced to doctors’ offices or patients’ homes. They require simple but highly integrated processes for the detection of several pathologies at a lowered cost. In parallel, cutting-edge innovations like next-generation sequencing and Organ-On-a-Chip (OOC) using high-end microfluidic chips participate in the development of a personalized type of medicine.
The medical imaging market is seeing trends towards lower radiation doses, with new types of detectors like CMOS Flat Panel Display (FPD) and IGZO FPD, or new principles such as photon counting using CdTe. Invasiveness is also a major challenge when patients need bronchoscopy diagnostics or intravascular procedures. The medical imaging sector is benefiting from miniaturization through semiconductor and MEMS technologies that enhance both comfort for patients and imaging resolution for physicians’ diagnostics.
At Yole Group, we have developed a strong understanding of the $11-billion market for sensors, medical imaging detectors and microfluidic chips. We’ve been keeping our finger on the pulse of the highly regulated life sciences and healthcare sector overall, and of its specific challenges: integration of artificial intelligence, materials and biocompatibility, continuous monitoring and low power requirements and data exchange/storage.
In addition to major players like GE Healthcare, Philips, Illumina, Medtronic and Siemens Healthineers, we have been tracking the development of new consumer healthcare players. In integrating health functions to wearables or smartphones, these consumer electronics outfits are prompting the meeting of the consumer and healthcare sectors. They elicit issues relating to the complexity of short product life cycles, the reliability and accuracy of sensors, and cost pressure. This situation leads to revived, intense activity in the life sciences and healthcare player ecosystems, including the stimulation of strategic collaborations and mergers and acquisitions.
At Yole Group, we have defined three main categories of systems to keep an eye on. First are in-vitro and biology devices, in which microfluidics technologies are dominant. Then, medical imaging equipment, in which detection technologies from X-ray to ultrasonic are targeted. Last but not least, electronic medical devices, in which sensors and actuators are analyzed.
We are focusing our attention on new sensor types using optical detection, inertial sensing and acoustic principles to measure heart rates, monitor blood pressure, enable fall detections and support patients with hearing impairment in their daily life.
Wearables, hearables, portable and connected medical devices are naturally among the other major trends we identified.
Semiconductor-based sensors and MEMS technologies are particularly well adapted to this new generation of medical devices that use thermopiles for temperature measurement or MEMS microphones for hearing aids. And they are an obvious choice for implant systems that require a small footprint, such as inertial sensors in pacemakers.
With sensing becoming one of medicine’s key building blocks, we are perfectly poised to understand the added value of semiconductor devices, and how they can transform the healthcare industry. From main traditional healthcare stakeholders to certification bodies and electronic players, we interact with the whole supply chain to monitor the factors fostering the change in healthcare.
Through our collection of market and technology analyses, we examine the overall global devices market, providing market data by product and device. We also analyze the market dynamics and describe the competitive landscape with detailed market shares. Beyond the identification of new functionalities, our investigations also conduct to the definition of technology roadmaps.