Intel-owned Wind River has been the go-to solutions provider for healthcare OEMs. Gaurav Sareen, its Head of Sales, explains to ENNs Rajesh K Sharma how Wind River plans to market its virtualisation solutions in the Indian healthcare space.
Medical devices are the backbone of healthcare industry. From the neighbourhood doctor to the multispecialty hospitals, everyone relies on medical devices that aid the doctors in their functioning. Machines like MRI and CT scan have helped doctors identify the ailments of patients better, thus being able to save more lives.
But medical devices, like any other technology, need to be updated on a regular basis, to incorporate the latest medical advances in medical science. But designing a newer version of a machine with added functionality is an expensive and time-consuming business, a problem that is addressed by virtualisation.
Wind River Technologies, a subsidiary of Intel Corporation, offers virtualisation solutions that help medical device makers like MRI machine bring down their manufacturing costs. They help in consolidating the complex machines, thereby reducing their costs. It focuses on all parts of medical landscape, whether it is in the service delivery side or the devices themselves, or driving down the cost of innovation for emerging markets, and markets where conventional market technologies cannot be retrofitted, and provide benefits to a large percentage of the populations.
Starting out as a company that developed a real-time operating system to communicate between the hardware and the software running on it faster, Wind River later went downstream and developed applications for the devices as well. With a strong presence in aerospace and defence, it is not getting into industrial design and networking too.
Speaking on Wind Rivers foray in healthcare, Wind Rivers Head of Sales, Gaurav Sareen outlines the plan. Healthcare, he says, can be split up into three different areas “ medical devices, service delivery, which covers hospitals and diagnostics centres and the professionals in the industry itself. According to him, the biggest driver for companies that build medical products is to bring about consolidation among the various medical branches. With newer and faster capabilities available, medical device designers should reduce the form factor of the medical devices, thereby bringing down the prices of the devices. Giving the example of an MRI machine, Gaurav Sareen says that it has a life cycle of 10-12 years. But to incorporate the latest advances in medicine, these machines need to be redesigned to reflect the changes, both, from the hardware as well as the software side. The product design cycle in this case is huge, he says, because of all the regulatory requirements. If a company is manufacturing or designing MRI machines has to move to a new hardware, their regulatory requirements and their testing requirements are prohibitive and have an expanded design cycle, he says, adding, With the technology that we provide at Wind River, this movement gets accelerated almost by a factor of three to five times depending on the product, and significantly accelerates the entire redesign process by being able to do more with the existing application, as they are, on the new hardware. It makes the new hardware almost opaque or virtualized to the existing application, and helps provide a path to that application.
“Wind Rivers real time operating systems impact in medical technology has been immense given its real-time nature. In fact, most medical devices using a real time OS use Wind Rivers OS.”
The medical devices market, he says, is cluttered by device makers that can be classified under people who build bio-medical devices, early detection devices, imaging devices such as MRCT, X-ray, diagnostic devices like DHR, PACS. Wind River is present in all of these markets. In medical devices, each device is classified as class 1, class 2 or class 3 depending on the safety level and security that it expected from the devices. In fact, class 2 devices are further divided into class 2A and 2B. Each of these classes has their own regulatory requirements in terms of how these devices are expected to behave, and what is the criticality of these devices. Sareen says when Wind River offers a solution it keeps the regulatory requirement of the solution in mind.
Wind Rivers real time operating systems impact in medical technology has been immense given its real-time nature. In fact, most medical devices using a real time OS use Wind Rivers OS. It is Wind Rivers first flagship product that gets adopted by medical device manufacturers. Winder Rivers embedded goods migration technology, called Hyper Visor, provides a proven path to visualise a design environment that enables a migration from an old legacy hardware to a new one quickly, with all the regulatory and compliance requirements already considered and factored.
Wind River has put special emphasis on security on its products. Security plays an important when moving from medical devices to deliver, says Gaurav Sareen. He says nowadays, medical devices are interconnected to each other, and exchanging information with each other or with the cloud. With internet becoming pervasive, the robustness of delivery has undergone a change and new technologies that are driving innovation in the field of remote patient monitoring, remote patient diagnostics. Wind River provides the entire infrastructure which enables the devices to aggregate a connectivity and aggregator to cloud connectivity. It provides the basic building blocks of hardware as well as pre-integrated software as a complete platform to enable companies looking to connect medical devices either in a hospital environment or for service providers to leverage all of these devices to deliver medical care to patients and provide for patients in their homes to subscribe to. This entire platform is provided with Intel. Intel is driving the initiative where Intel and Wind River combined will provide a complete readymade platform for the internet of things market, specifically targeted towards medical technology and healthcare.
The solutions provided by Wind River also take care of device security. It makes sure that any embedded device is secure from multiple aspects – from ensuring communication, from making sure that the underlying hardware is driving the device that it is meant to be driving.
Wind Rivers India plans are aimed at helping the indigenisation movement, says Gaurav Sareen. So far, Wind River has provided its solutions to the top medical device makers like GE, Phillips and Siemens. But now, it wants to move downstream, and target Indian manufacturers that are working towards indigenising medical devices to Indian conditions. Gaurav Sareen feels that Wind Rivers solutions can integrated virtualisation solutions can provide a cost effective solution to Indian manufacturers. He is confident about the impact of Wind Rivers presence in the Indian healthcare market. It will make sure that technology becomes available to a broader set of people, he says. He feels that device level consolidation and indigenisation will held drive down the prices of medical devices, thus making healthcare more affordable to everyone.
As Wind River makes its presence felt in the Indian market place, it is betting on a segment that does not exist yet in India. Indian medical device is almost negligible to be of any consequence. But Wind River, with its proven technology, may just ignite the sector towards a bright future.