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Healthcare: Medical device innovation through Ansys simulation

Safe, accurate, durable, and affordable wearables and medical devices can be designed with lesser cost and a reduced time to market thanks to Simulation. 

amazon alexa healthcare tools
Image: Amazon

Considering the current times, we know that patient welfare is currently hanging in the balance. All product development processes are rigorous, time-consuming, and resource-intensive but this is especially true in the healthcare industry as time here means life. Disruptive innovation is an everlasting concern when it comes to medical devices and in healthcare, product failure is not an option as it can have dire consequences. This is where engineering simulation comes in.  

The application of engineering simulation throughout the development of medical devices is the best possible way to reduce failure and save time and cost. Clinical testing cannot address every possible situation because of its limited scope, therefore today medical device companies are adopting engineering simulation-based in silico testing to detect and resolve different scenarios that hinder the production and design of medical devices. This is the best way to bring newer treatments to patients while meeting safety standards as well as product deadlines. In order to save lives and comply with the regulations as well as manage reliability in terms of design, simulation is the only way!

It is not a new trend to use engineering simulation to develop healthcare devices. In fact, today, considering that it can significantly reduce time and costs, simulation is being leveraged to demonstrate product performance during the regulatory approval process. By engineering and testing patient solutions in a virtual design space, healthcare companies can propel products to the launch phase much faster, and with a higher degree of confidence that they will perform as expected in the real world.

For instance, ASME has worked with USFDA & medical devices companies to come up with Validation & Verification guidelines 40 (V&V40), which concerns “Assessing Credibility of Computational Modelling through Verification and Validation” for medical devices.  By building 3D models of products and the human body in a virtual design environment, healthcare product developers can test and verify performance, using simulation and digital exploration to make modifications quickly and easily. Simulation is any day much faster, more cost-effective and less invasive than building and testing physical prototypes. 

Medical Devices and Innovate Wearables with Simulation 

Until recently, it was necessary to visit the doctor to download data from a patient’s device for review. With 5G technology, the Medical Internet of Things is gaining more fame and will become the new standard. It is definitely going to extend the connectivity and transmission of health data from the patient to the physician both on a consistent basis and also immediately when it is an emergency. 

Medical IoT will lead to P4 medicine that is participatory, personalized, predictive, and preventive. 

Companies are also using engineering simulation and connected patient modeling to develop systems that ensure high reliability, provide data privacy, and expedite regulatory compliance. To make a real impact on healthcare, connected medical devices should be able to capture and interpret relevant and reliable parameters without compromising patient safety and comfort, and deliver insights to physicians with full integrity, readability and security. Ansys’ Multiphysics simulations are used in various stages in the design of these devices. 


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Image: Carnegie Mellon University

The use of wearable wireless devices has grown in recent years because of actual and potential applications in healthcare. Using any wireless device close to the body involves numerous design challenges. 

The device’s size, weights, and power consumption must be curtailed to make it suitable for people to wear it. Also, the power emission of the device must not cause any sort of health hazards. At the same time, the device must be designed to deliver a signal of sufficient power to the right location, and that too with a good reception by the target device. This is in spite of the fact that the human body may absorb a significant portion of that signal. How do we manage to design a device, keeping in mind these parameters and more? Well, all these can be simulated by carrying out high-frequency electromagnetic simulations in Ansys HFSS. 

One example of the success stories at Ansys is: A complete Multiphysics solution was developed for a wearable insulin pump that is used to deliver insulin in the right quantities based on the patient’s need. Apart from individual physical modeling, a system model was also developed that helps product teams understand how components and controls behave when assembled into a fully integrated system.

Ansys simulation software can also uniquely integrate fluid, structural, thermal, and electromagnetic analyses into a single environment and provide insights into how cardiovascular devices behave within the human body.

Engineering simulation is also at the heart of the globalized product development approach. The flexible, integrated simulation environment provides a common communication platform to support the initiative. Simulation can mimic multiple scenarios as required by local regulatory approvals; patient variables can be tested in silico, and virtual human laboratory data can be adjusted to represent a local population. The outcome is affordable medical treatment through reduced manufacturing/operating costs. 

Ansys Multiphysics solutions can be used to attain various physics-based & systems-level insights of a medical device early in the design stage. This aids engineers to cut both the cost and effort of prototyping as well as physical testing. By providing the opportunity to conduct parametric studies over the full Design of Experiment space and optimizing the design, simulation is the perfect solution. 

Therefore, safe, accurate, durable, and affordable wearables and medical devices can be designed with lesser cost and a reduced time to market thanks to Simulation. 

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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