What is the greatest obstacle to success in the design of a medical device that’s to be used directly by patients in their homes or in their bodies?
In Parker-Hannifin’s view, the three greatest obstacles to the optimal utility of patient home care products, such as oxygen concentrators, home dialysis, and ventilators, potentially include the following:
Portable medical equipment allows patients to maintain active lifestyles or to minimize the amount of time patients are in the hospital. To make medical home care products more portable, we have undertaken to reduce the size of some valves up to 75%. This has reduced the weight of the valves as well, with some now weighing less than 1/6th of an ounce.
In addition to being smaller and more mobile than they were in the past, valves must now consume less power, as lower power consumption equates to longer battery life, which in turn enables patients to remain active for longer periods of time. To this point, some of our newer generation valves consume less than ½ Watt.
Finally, one must consider reliability. Patients who use home-care products typically depend on them 24 hours per day. Rigorous design processes, demanding internal testing, qualification processes, and state of-the-art manufacturing process control systems such as those employed at Parker are meant to ensure that these products will work reliably in even the most challenging user applications and under the most stressful conditions.
Article submitted by Garren Walters – Applications Team Leader, Precision Fluidics Division, Parker Hannifin
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