Input and insights from Mark Semkoff, President and General Manager of Valtronic Technologies USA
Medical devices not only have to address medical needs but may be required to adapt to major demographic and social changes. In conversation with Mark Semkoff, we reviewed what major trends are impacting the medical device industry. Our society is seeing a shift from hospital care to point-of care and remote patient monitoring. This change in electronic medical device requirements has produced a race for innovative products with higher performance, increased functionality, and smaller and lighter form factors.
To stay ahead in this highly competitive and rigorous market, medical device OEMs need to develop a strategy to design and manufacture next generation products and partnering with a full service Electronic Contract Manufacturer (EMS) can be a solution to this challenge.
What Major Social and Demographic Changes are Impacting the Medical Device Industry?
As the aging population increases, there is a growing need for efficient prevention and remote monitoring solutions. Older adults have a higher rate of chronic diseases that need to be monitored closely. There is also a need to reduce hospital stays and increase home treatment options to optimize the management of hospital resources and lower overall costs.
So how is healthcare evolving?
- Continuous health monitoring for aiding prevention and treatment
- Remote surgery or treatment
- Minimally invasive surgery for faster recovery and reduced hospital stays
- Treatment at home
- Increased use of neuromodulation including novel indications such as reduction of opioid use
Evolving medical care creates a huge demand for new solutions which improve productivity, cut costs, and support the shift of healthcare from hospital to the home. This means a shift to electronics with an urgent need for smaller form factors while increasing performance.
The Increasing Role of Electronic Manufacturing Services
Mark Semkoff has been in the medical industry for over 20 years and notices a clear evolution in what medical device OEMs’ are expecting from a CM/EMS partner. “Our role as a full-service electronic contract manufacturer goes far beyond conventional PCB assembly”, he comments. The trend to scale down devices brings many challenges in terms of design but also in terms of manufacturing. “Customized high-density components and box-builds can be extremely challenging to manufacture, especially when an extremely fine pitch is required”, he adds. With this added complexity, OEMs are much more demanding when looking for a full-service electronic contract manufacturer. In addition to assembly capabilities, they also require engineering and quality systems be in place to ensure their device will be both manufacturable and of high quality.
Shrinking Form Factors: PCBAs and Complete Medical Devices
The need to integrate monitoring, analyzing, and data sharing functionality increases the complexity and size of PCBAs and fully assembled devices. “From customized high-density PCBs to their integration in box-builds and complete devices with embedded systems, OEMs entrusting the complete device assembly to Valtronic is saving them a considerable amount of time and money”, explains Semkoff. “At Valtronic, we understand our customers’ needs. Our experience and our dedication to the medical device market make a huge difference”, he adds. “From miniaturized PCBAs to the full assembly of complex medical equipment, it is very important to remember that it is all about medical devices. They need to prove reliable in very harsh environments”. Outstanding electronic engineering and manufacturing quality is indispensable when bringing first class innovative medical devices to the market.
Increased Demand for Responsiveness and Flexibility
In the highly regulated medical market, it takes some intermediate steps before proceeding directly to full manufacturing ramp-ups. Responsiveness and flexibility are a valuable asset but not all electronic contract manufacturers can afford it. “Valtronic has the ideal footprint, business model, and experience to quickly adapt to customers’ needs”, explains Semkoff. The current pandemic is a case in point to illustrate how quickly needs and priorities can change. “At a time when respiratory assistance was key, we efficiently organized our sourcing and manufacturing to quickly triple the manufacturing volume of a complete console that our respiratory therapy customer needed to meet the demand. This is but one example of our contribution to saving patients’ lives of which we are very proud.”
Next Generation Devices: Endless Possibilities are In Front of Us
Thanks to incredible advancements in electronics, the possibilities are endless to improve existing devices and develop innovative new ones to tackle unmet medical needs. “Advanced electronics will be integrated into devices that never contained electronics before”, explains Semkoff. “From small high-density PCBAs and electronic packages, to the full assembly of complex medical devices, we at Valtronic look forward to working with our customers on their next generation devices”.
For more information on how Valtronic can support you with your next generation medical device, contact us today!