The ‘clever technology’ cupboard – future innovation in critical care

23 May 2012 2min read

Team Discussion

Multiple authors

It is easy for those of us involved in medical device development to have a technology-centric view about creating new and innovative products for use in the ICU. The ICU is, after all, a technology-rich environment and the huge advances in critical care over the last 40 years have mostly been enabled by technologies of various and varied sorts.

However the critical care world is changing and I suspect it will impact the innovation landscape. Some of the trends that I’ve seen include:

  • Money isn’t in endless supply so new products can’t necessarily be adopted just because they improve care. New products will need to demonstrate improved care AND cost saving. An improvement in care alone may not be good enough.
  • Infection control is a massive issue and our arsenal of antibiotics and antimicrobials is diminishing. However, the biggest improvements in infection control haven’t come from sexy technologies but from people-centric improvements in practice
  • Usability is becoming more important for regulators and notified bodies. Whilst the clinical staff who work in the ICU are relatively well trained, they are under tremendous pressure and have a huge number of products to interact with. Therefore getting design right can have a huge impact on adoption and outcomes.

I think we need to be mindful not to always reach for the ‘clever technology’ cupboard for our next generation of products.

Technologies of many and various kinds will continue to have a huge role to play but we must focus on delivering products which clinicians find easy to use, fit with established workflow, save time or money, improve outcomes, and create a strong affinity between our customers and our products.

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