"TI's semiconductor technology makes life healthier" : Rakesh Joshi, Business Development manager, Medical Business, Texas Instruments India, India
Interview

“TI’s semiconductor technology makes life healthier” : Rakesh Joshi, Business Development manager, Medical Business, Texas Instruments India, India

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Rakesh Joshi                                         
Business Development manager, Medical Business, Texas Instruments India
 
As the Business Development Manager at Texas Instruments, Rakesh Joshi is responsible for setting short-term and long-term strategies to develop business with new customers and expand business with existing customers in the medical segment in India.

Rakesh Joshi spoke to eHEALTH at length about the role of semiconductor technology in medical electronics and the innovative products manufactured by TI for this domain

What is the role of semiconductors in enabling design and anufacture of ultrasound equipment?

Increasing awareness of healthcare, aging population and soaring medical costs have created a rapidly growing need for innovative medical solutions which are portable, low power, have robust and powerful data processing capabilities, simpler user operation, wireless connectivity and are affordable at the same time.

Semiconductor manufacturers are rising to this challenge of designing and developing portable and affordable medical devices. The connectivity enabled by semiconductor technology (wired or wireless) will drive applications that will facilitate access to the required level of healthcare. Semiconductors like sensors, microcontrollers (MCUs), microprocessors, digital signal processors (DSPs) and analog front ends (AFEs) bring high levels of functional integration in the equipments they go into including ultrasound equipments, thereby improving their efficiency and performance levels and reducing their form factor.

“The role of semiconductor components is becoming more critical as the medical equipment devices become portable and smaller. Increasing need for improving accessibility of healthcare in remote areas has opened up a lucrative opportunity for semiconductor manufacturers”

Ultrasound has gone portable and has brought medical imaging into remote places such as disaster sites, accident scenes and even onto battlefields. TI with its broad portfolio of digital and analog products has been focusing on medical imaging. Given its many years of experience with rapidly evolving technologies, TI has the expertise to advance the state-of-the-art in medical imaging. Innovation is required to reduce the size and power consumption of portable ultrasound systems while still keeping them affordable and delivering superior image quality. With Texas Instruments’ (TI) integrated analog front-end technology and power-efficient embedded processors, handheld ultrasound systems that fit into a doctor’s pocket are emerging. TI’s TX810 – integrated transmit/receive switch, speeds ultrasound design and reduces board space by more than 50%. TI’s TMS320 and MSP430 families of embedded processors drive ultrasound into portable and hand carried units where computational efficiency is critical for performance and maximising battery life.

What is the approximate market of semiconductors for medical equipment in India? What is its growth potential?

In an emerging market like India, there is a lot of potential for growth and demand for medical electronics. According to a 2010 report by Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA) the Indian medical electronics market currently valued at US $853 million, is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17 percent over the next five years and reach US $2.075 Billion. The role of semiconductor components is becoming more critical as the medical equipment devices become portable and smaller.

Increasing need for improving accessibility of healthcare in remote areas has opened up a lucrative opportunity for semiconductor manufacturers. Given the poor infrastructure in the remote parts of India, there is a need for portable, small in size, high performing, low power and affordable medical electronics. Technologies like telemedicine, e-healthcare and digitisation are fast becoming important in a country like India.

Additionally, increased awareness of healthcare, prevalence of lifestyle diseases and increasing medical costs has created a need for home-based healthcare. Consumers are demanding cost effective monitoring and health management products that they can use at their homes. Some of such home healthcare gadgets include blood glucose meters, blood pressure and heart rate monitors, digital thermometers and pulse oximeters. This has fueled the need for portable and miniature healthcare solutions. Semiconductors play a very significant role in driving this home healthcare trend. Semiconductors like DSPs, MCUs, sensors, analog front ends and others bring high levels of functional integration, portability and reduction in form factor in these medical equipments. Very good examples of this are AFE5807 and AFE5808 – products developed by TI that go into ultrasound machines and optimise the receiver end of analog signal chain in a way that makes the ultrasound machine much more cost effective while meeting its imaging and performance requirements.

Please give a brief overview of your company and its footprint in the medical electronics space in India.

TI has undertaken many initiatives towards revolutionising healthcare by improving the quality and accessibility of medical equipments. TI’s semiconductor technology, with its proven expertise in developing products for the growing market, helps make life simpler, greener, healthier and safer. TI’s complete end equipment solutions for medical applications leverage our product expertise in microcontrollers, high-speed/precision analog, high-resolution imaging DSPs for personal medical devices and medical imaging products. TI is helping shape technology to improve the quality and accessibility of medical equipment to revolutionise healthcare in the 21st century and beyond.

Speaking of which, TI recently launched two new products – AFE5807 and AFE5808. These two products are an addition to TI’s analog front end (AFE) family. The AFE5807 and AFE5808 address ultrasound designers’ need for superior performance and image quality with the best noise performance. Also, these new devices are 25 percent smaller than competing solutions and ensure a compact system footprint for higher channel count. Another initiative by TI is TX810, an integrated transmit/receive switch which speeds ultrasound design and reduces board space by more than 50 percent, hence enabling designers to build portable ultrasound equipments. TI’s ADS1298 for ECG machines reduces component count and power consumption by up to 95 percent as compared to discrete implementations, with a power efficiency of 1 mW/channel, enabling customers to achieve the highest levels of diagnostic accuracy at low power.

TI’s experience in diverse markets enables engineers to meet increasing needs for higher speeds, higher precision, lower power and smaller equipment, while maintaining the high standards for quality and reliability that the medical market demands. 

Having a strong global footprint, how do you place Indian market in terms of size, opportunities, challenges and trends?

The Indian healthcare sector to be specific is booming. The growing hospital infrastructure and healthcare spending is fostering the need for highend devices for accurate and fast treatment. The key drivers that are fuelling growth in medical devices include increasing population and affordability by patients, increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases and improved hospital infrastructure.

Improving Indian economy and increasing disposable income has led to significant change in the manner an average Indian views healthcare. Visiting a hospital only when severely unwell is pass; the new Indian now undergoes regular health checkups at periodic intervals.

Further, with the shift towards urban lifestyles growing at a rapid pace, the incidence rate of diseases like diabetes, chronic heart diseases, cancer and hypertension has increased significantly in India. Increased diabetic population in India is has led to more and more people taking their personal healthcare more seriously than ever.

The past decade has witnessed a significant growth in the number of high-end hospitals in urban India. Healthcare has become more accessible in these areas. In the tier II and III cities which are yet to witness this growth, there is a growing demand for high-end medical equipments and quality healthcare

In an emerging market like India, there is a lot of potential for growth and demand for medical electronics (of which semiconductors are an essential part). The increasing awareness of healthcare has created a rapidly growing need for innovative medical solutions like portable & affordable ultrasound applications for use in doctors’ equipment, ambulances, mobile triage solutions and remote regions.

Semiconductors are set to play a pivotal role in designing and developing portable and affordable medical devices. The connectivity enabled by semiconductor technology (wired or wireless) will drive applications such as telemedicine that will facilitate access to the required level of healthcare.

Also, Indian electronics OEMs are developing a number of portable devices like digital thermometers, blood pressure monitors, insulin pumps, heart rate monitors, digital hearing aids etc. in addition to hospital equipment like CT and MRI scanners, x-ray machines, ultrasound scanners etc. 

The move towards the greater adoption of semiconductor technology in medical has resulted in an improvement in the quality of life and higher productivity. Areas like preventive healthcare, technology solutions for disability and high quality healthcare for diseases are also being addressed. Also, medical practices are gradually moving out of the doctors’ chamber into other spaces like the internet and homes. Modern technologies like telemedicine, e-healthcare and digitization are enabling more people to remotely monitor ailments without physically visiting a medical facility. Patient data storage and access has become safer and easier with patient consultation & diagnosis moving to the internet. Healthcare facilities have started using data servers to monitor and access complete patient information over a common network. 

What are the various products, solutions and services offered by you in the Indian market?

TI is working closely with its customers in India in a wide array of sectors such as industrial electronics (UPS, inverters, energy meters, lighting, etc.), medical electronics (ultrasound scanners, x-ray machines, ECG machines, MRI scanners, etc.), consumer, telecom and automotive. TI sees a lot of growth coming from these areas and to address the needs of the market, they have a strong portfolio of products comprising of microcontrollers, data converters, transceivers, amplifiers and microprocessors. Some of the major products that TI launched in 2010 include MSP430 Value Line series of microcontrollers, AFE5807 and AFE5808 analog front-ends, TPS63020 buck-boost converter, CC8520 transceiver and THS770006 operational amplifier amongst others.

TI sees a lot of opportunity in the country rapidly booming market for technology products and services. It has 14 sales and marketing offices across 12 cities in the country including some in small cities like Nashik, Coimbatore and Chandigarh to cater to aftersales applications support.

TI’s field application engineers also co-design with partners and customers and help them in trouble-shooting in terms of system design. Unlike earlier, TI customers no longer have to travel to US or Bangalore for any kind of assistance, the engineers at the local offices provide on-ground support. 

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