Modern electronics is revolutionising healthcare like never before. While bringing superior diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities, electronic and semiconductor technologies are also making healthcare ever more efficient, accessible and affordable.
Praveen K Ganapathy, Director, Business Development, Texas Instruments India, shares with eHEALTH the most cutting-edge in medical electronics.
What are the advancements in the field of medical electronics over the last few decades?
There are multiple aspects of the medical profession/healthcare industry that is impacted by electronics and semiconductor industry. Mostly, they have resulted in improvement in quality of life and higher productivity. Preventive healthcare is benefited through advances in early detection techniques by studying molecular level changes. Acute disease care has improved through new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. Advanced imaging technologies are providing better insight into disease conditions. Technology is also enabling home healthcare and telemedicine – extending medicare beyond hospitals.
What are the current R&D initiatives of TI in the field of medical electronics?
TIs complete end equipment solutions leverage our product expertise in microcontrollers, high-speed amplifiers, high-resolution imaging DSPs for personal medical devices and medical imaging products. We have associated with School of Medical Science and Technology, IIT Kharagpur, to develop advanced semiconductor technologies for personal medical devices, implantable devices, medical imaging, wireless healthcare systems and bio-sensor technology. This forms part of a global initiative of TI to invest USD15 million to fund medical technology research focusing on improving quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare. The collaboration also reflects TIs commitment to engineering education and developing the next generation of innovators.
What are some of the latest medical products/technologies introduced by TI in the recent past?
In 2008, TI introduced a family of fully integrated analog front ends (AFEs) for portable to high-end ultrasound diagnostic equipments. TIs AFE58xx family allows the design of innovative ultrasound systems with superior image quality and reduced power consumption. The AFE5805, provides nearly 50% space savings, 20% less power and 40% less noise than existing integrated solutions. In 2008, TI also introduced the industrys lowest power, zero-drift instrumentation amplifier, INA333. The device improves accuracy and stability while extending battery life in a variety of precision, low-power applications such as portable medical data acquisition and handheld instruments. In April 2009, TI announced the availability of an embedded processor software toolkit that helps ultrasound manufacturers to easily develop ultrasound applications on the improved processing power of TIs C64x+ DSP platforms.
What are the initiatives of TI towards developing low-cost technologies?
The semiconductor industry will play a pivotal role in designing and developing portable and affordable medical devices that reduce healthcare costs. 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 as needed. Semiconductors can help in revolutionising the medical electronics market. We have seen semiconductors change the paradigm in the area of communications. While it is still early days in this journey, the potential to make healthcare affordable through semiconductor technology is huge. Devices such as the AFE58xx family, INA333 and the C64x+ DSP platforms from TI are steps towards that direction.
What is your view about the emerging market for healthcare equipments in India and Asia? What are the ongoing efforts at TI for addressing this market?
Most observers agree that India and Asia are key markets of the future for medical devices and equipments. Medical electronics represents the fastest growing industrial semiconductor opportunity for suppliers; home health, clinical and imaging end-equipment segments are requiring increased and more advanced component support, as technologies for medical applications continue to evolve. The focus need to continue on availability, accessibility and affordability of medical equipments. TI is helping shape electronics to revolutionize healthcare. TIs expertise across digital and analog technologies, and ability to address the wireless connectivity, digital imaging and power management requirements of applications, helps our customers put innovative medical electronic systems into the hands of more people.