The medical Internet of Things (IoT) is a burgeoning area that connects objects to create a network between patients, healthcare providers, families, manufacturers, emergency responders, and any other interested party. To do this, developers are harnessing new technologies that include software, sensors, wireless transmitters, and power systems.
Although the IoT extends to multiple different industries, including automobiles, agriculture, home monitoring devices, and more, the Medical IoT presents unique challenges. For example, privacy issues are a top priority for all concerned. Additionally, many of the devices created for the Medical IoT must be bio-compatible and reliable. In the case of wearable devices, they may require a thin flexible battery that can withstand a range of conditions.
Despite these challenges, researchers are constantly developing new technologies for the Medical IoT, making it easier to automate activities such as monitoring patient health, responding to problems before they escalate, and prompting patients to take medication.
Thin Film Batteries and the Medical IoT
Some examples of existing and potential applications where thin film batteries can be used in the Medical IoT include:
Remote patient monitoring – Giving healthcare providers the ability to monitor patients in their own homes enables patient independence, early detection of complications, and lower costs. Thin film batteries can be incorporated into wearable sensors that detect parameters such as blood glucose levels for diabetic patients, or the location and position of geriatric patients.
Emergency notification systems – The Medical IoT has the ability to enhance the medical alert systems used for elderly patients. In addition to improving the communication network between patients and emergency responders, wearable monitoring devices that incorporate thin film batteries can be worn as patches or integrated into clothing to improve compliance.
Wireless thermometers – Wearable patches that monitor body temperature and transmit the information to mobile devices can be used in both clinical settings and in patient homes. This is particularly beneficial for pediatric patients who might not be willing to regularly have their temperature taken.
Transdermal patches – The next step in improving battery-powered transdermal patches is incorporating them into the Medical IoT. For example, in addition to delivering pain medication, a smart patch can also monitor dosage and integrate remotely with software that tracks it over time.
Wound care – Using biological triggers and a range of sensors, smart bandages can identify the optimal time to change wound dressings and alert healthcare providers. Integrated thin film batteries can provide the necessary power to operate the sensors and transmit signals, and might also be used to deliver medication at the same time.
The Medical IoT is not an idea from a science fiction story- it’s already happening and new technologies are being developed all the time. For the applications where a low-profile, flexible power source is required, thin film batteries are a reliable, customizable solution.
If you are developing a networked medical device that requires an innovative power solution, work with a custom battery developer like FlexEl. We have developed thin film batteries for a broad range of applications, including consumer products, smart packaging, wearable electronics, and medical devices. Contact us today to learn more.