Overview: Operating systems for medical devices

Several medical devices OEMs prefer CE or Linux for their products. Key advantages offered by such operating systems:

  • Seamless user-interfaces
  • Ease of use and familiarity for software engineers
  • Linux may be free and open source; while CE offers a fully-integrated development platform

However, with medical device utilization shifting to various care areas including homecare and mobile usage, the need for more user-friendly and adaptive operating systems is on the rise. With Android allowing flexibility in usage for both proprietary and open-sources endeavors, its suitability for medical devices is on the rise. However, given that several KOLs raise security and reliability concerns around Android, its utility in the past had been constricted to Class I and II devices.


Our Client: A global medical technologies manufacturer dealing with medical imaging, surgical, critical care, drug discovery and healthcare IT solutions

Challenge Statement: A portable medical imaging device was being developed on a new operating system. Our client wanted to understand the technical specifications required to ensure smooth integration into various hospital IT systems across Europe and US.

Research Design: The research design was based on the current levels of usage and maturity of healthcare IT and Wi-Fi across various hospitals. The selection of hospital segments was made based on the minimum requirement of WLAN infrastructure. In addition, various regulatory policies of Wi-Fi usage as well as personal / mobile device usage within healthcare facilities was considered while designing the primary research phase.

Research Methodology: In-depth secondary research was conducted to understand the penetration of WLAN within US and European hospitals. Other key trends around adoption of mobile devices through Wi-Fi into hospital IT environments was studied. The typical characteristics (bed size, IT infrastructure, specialty type etc.) were studied for hospitals having the relevant infrastructure for wireless connectivity of mobile medical devices. Key stakeholders and target respondent groups were identified for the research. This included CIOs, Chief information security officers, VP-IT, IT Directors and Senior IT managers. A thorough screening criteria was devised to ensure optimal fit of the respondents around understanding of medical device operating systems and their implications within hospital WLAN / Wi-Fi networks. Primary research was conducted to understand current workflow of adding mobile devices; existing Wi-Fi authentication protocols, requirement for security certificates, mobile device management (MDM) usage among others.

Research Outcome: Based on EMeRG’s recommendations, the product design was streamlined. Key security features were incorporated, and a prototype developed on the new OS. The client is now testing these prototypes within key target markets in association with EMeRG prior to commercial launch.

Need local insights for the US medical devices market?

Reach out to our med-tech experts at letsspeak@emerg-inc.com

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