Medical device integration may transform your healthcare activity, allowing health providers to make timely and informed decisions about caregiving. Such integration can elevate the quality of medical services through connecting devices, enabling seamless data flow and real-time data insights and, as a result, enhance and coordinate patient care.
If you consider integrating medical devices into your clinic workflow, you’ll find many valuable and helpful insights in this guide. Our software engineers have already helped numerous medical providers build telemedicine and healthcare software integrated with medical devices. Now, we’d like to immerse you in our experience of healthcare device integration, for you to extract essentials for your case.
What Is Medical Device Integration
First of all, what is medical device integration? This process refers to establishing connectivity and enabling the complete integration of medical devices with various healthcare information systems (EHR/EMR systems, laboratory information systems, telehealth platforms, etc.) Commonly, the main goal of such an integration is to automate the data flow among devices and healthcare management systems, streamlining clinical workflow and receiving a complete overview of patient conditions.
Here is the list of the most common devices medical providers use for health data extraction:
- Patient monitoring devices: heart monitors, pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors
- Imaging devices: X-ray machines, CT (Computed Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Diagnostic equipment: ultrasound machines, endoscopy equipment, spirometers
- Telemedicine devices: telemedicine carts, telemedicine platforms
- Wearables: smartwatches, fitness trackers
- Point-of-care testing devices: glucose meters, coagulation analyzers, etc.
Learn about all the peculiarities of software development for medical device integration and discover how to build such a solution and integrate it with your healthcare devices
Benefits of Medical Device Integration Software
Healthcare device integration can definitely result in positive outcomes for your medical practice and uniting data channels for accurate diagnostics and care. Below, you can examine how medical device integration software can improve your healthcare delivery.
Enhanced data security and accuracy
Medical device software integration helps to ensure that medical data is captured and transmitted accurately. To ensure maximum accuracy and security during the transmission process, the programmers implement the following safety approaches:
- Automated data transfer. The software automates the data transition from devices to medical systems, minimizing the reliance on manual input and reducing the possibility of human errors.
- Data verification and validation. Implementation of strong validation mechanisms (e.g., Timestamp verification, checksums, and hash functions, automated checks, etc.) helps medical providers ensure only reliable data gets into the system
- Encryption and security measures. The security of the whole data transmission is facilitated by the encryption of all patient information to ensure confidentiality and data integrity.
Complete patient condition overview
Most likely, you’re the one who reads this article with a smartwatch on your wrist or at least has ever owned one. Unsurprisingly, about 45% of individuals worldwide use smartwatches or fitness trackers. In turn, nearly 92% of consumers employs smart wrist gadgets to maintain their health conditions. Below, you can see the parameters that are usually tracked by smart device users:
Commonly Measured Health Aspects. Source: Deloitte, page 3
Consequently, the healthcare industry started actively incorporating fresh technology to enhance their services and make them more objective. Adopting fitness trackers and smartwatches significantly contributes to the fullness of gathered medical insights, enabling continuous patient observation and robust clinical decision support. Apart from this, the incorporation of wearables allows medical providers to conduct research and population health analysis, giving insight into health tendencies, disease patterns and defining the effectiveness of public health interventions.
Remote monitoring and telehealth
Medical device integration supports remote monitoring initiatives, enabling seamless data extraction from multiple sources, including remote sensors and wearables. By achieving access to a wider range of patients’ health records, medical providers can establish and offer telemedicine services, including telehealth consultations.
Such an approach makes medicine more accessible for everyone seeking medical assistance, not depending on location. At the same time, practitioners are capable of monitoring patients in real-time, making data-driven decisions, and providing high-quality medical services with no bounds.
Robust workflow optimization
As we’ve already mentioned, medical device integration software significantly reduces the need for manual effort, streamlining clinical workflow, saving time for practitioners, and minimizing documentation error risks. Moreover, such a solution gives a healthcare provider a complete picture of patient health in one structured digital environment.
With healthcare device integration, medical care is also reinforced by automated alerts that enable medical professionals to track patients' physiological changes, device malfunctions, treatment milestones, and much more.
The incorporation of medical device data gives the patient an opportunity to become proactive in their health matters. Healthcare device integration software turns traditional medical care into an interactive process where the patients’ pain points and struggles are heard and understood. By fostering collaboration between patients and clinicians, medical data becomes accessible and opens more perspectives for two-way communication.
Medical Device Integration Examples
Now that you know about the benefits of medical device integration, it’s still better to learn based on examples. Here are 5 categories of devices that healthcare providers decide to integrate their healthcare information systems with:
Advanced wearable health tech
Maybe it’s impossible to imagine the modern tech world without smartwatches, especially something like Apple Watch. Indeed, these devices can provide valuable health insight, thanks to ECG (Electrocardiogram) monitoring, blood oxygen measurement, fall detection, etc. However, there are more advanced technologies like BioStamp. This wearable biosensor dives deeper into human anatomy, providing metrics from skin to muscle activity and skeleton.
Integration it with EHRs, Telehealth platforms, or Remote Patient Monitoring software enables continuous data transmission supporting personalized health condition monitoring.
How to conduct medical device integration with EHR? Examine our article to learn this in all details
Patient monitoring systems
It’s crucial for practitioners to have 24/7 patient condition observation. Integration of patient monitoring devices like wearable heart rate monitors, bedside monitors, glucose monitoring systems, etc., into health systems, provides real-time data of patients’ vital signs. Clinicians can observe patients remotely and promptly respond to changes, providing relevant and timely interventions.
By the way, our team has recently worked on anIoT-based system for monitoring EKG and blood oxygen level. It’s a telehealth software with data synchronization between pulse oximeters and IoT devices for EKG monitoring and mobile app.
Digital imaging devices
Imagining techniques in medical practices remain the primary source of information. X-ray machines and MRI scanners have great integration potential. Healthcare device integration within medical imaging software development helps medical providers transmit imaging tech data to the platform. This promotes quick access to diagnostic images and simplifies internal collaboration.
Telemedicine has become a convenient solution that brings flexibility to patients' and practitioners' side of healthcare. Telehealth apps, or telemedicine carts that are equipped with audiovisual and diagnostic tools for remote consultations facilitate virtual and high-quality medical services extended for each person that needs them.
Integrating telehealth platforms with healthcare systems enables real-time video conferencing, seamless data sharing among different channels, and remote diagnostics. Such an approach enhances healthcare versatility and accessibility, not losing the quality of provided services.
Know more about telemedicine software development in our extensive guide
Laboratory instruments such as blood chemistry analyzers, microscopes, and spectrophotometers are aimed to analyze and process various samples, providing crucial insight for diagnostics and construction of proper patient treatment plans.
Regarding medical device integration, these instruments are connected to healthcare systems like EHRs, Laboratory Information Systems (LIS), and e-prescription mobile apps. This is a perfect way to directly receive access to laboratory results within medical systems directly, enhancing diagnostics and general treatment quality.
Steps to Integrate Medical Device with Healthcare Systems
To correctly conduct healthcare device integration, it’s crucial to develop a strategy to lean on during the process. Such an approach may help you avoid unexpected occurrences and minimize risks associated with integration ( data security, interoperability, outcomes quality, etc.). We’ve split the whole process into 4 steps, and we’ll discuss each stage in detail.
1. Assess the integration goals
Strictly defining your primary demands can identify integration smoothness and clarity, cutting off unnecessary functionalities and staying focused on primary tasks. Ask yourself what specific data and functional capabilities are needed to be exchanged between medical devices and healthcare systems. Also, decide on the desired outcomes of integration, for example:
- Ability to provide enhanced patient care. Offering personalized treatment plans, timely interventions in case of emergency, better-informed decision-making, etc.
- Streamline clinical workflows. Automation of data transfer among healthcare devices and systems.
- Enhance data quality and accuracy. Strengthening data reliability by integrating medical devices with EHRs and other healthcare databases.
- Establish cost-effectiveness. Optimizing resource utilization, and cut extra costs by minimizing manual interventions.
- Incorporate support for research and analytics. Contribution to population health studies, outcomes research, development of evidence-based practices), etc.
2. Choose an experienced IT vendor
An experienced and reliable tech partner is a vital aspect of medical device integration software success. Pay attention to the team’s experience in Healthcare, as there are many specific standards and regulations that you must adhere to. In the process of your search, you can go three ways:
- Cooperate with freelancers
- Gather an in-house team
- Work with outsourced specialists
Work with freelancers
Freelanced cooperation refers to engaging independent specialists on a temporary or project-based basis. This approach allows to reduce overhead and specify permanent employment.
Cooperation with freelancers is a good option in case you need:
- Flexible workforce
- Expertise tailored to specific needs of integration
- Don’t plan to build long-term commitment with an expert
Even though this approach has particular advantages, it also may pose particular hurdles, such as lack of reliability and hiring difficulties, as each specialist works independently. Also, remote communication may become a reason for potential stumble in task completion, becoming a reason for the whole project delivery delays.
Cooperation with in-house team
In-house cooperation implies internal collaboration within a company. The approach allows you to erase language and communication barriers, giving you the ability to obtain complete control over the development process. In-house experts are potentially more committed to your medical organization's internal goals and objectives and will have a deeper knowledge of specific needs and challenges within the medical environment.
Cooperation with the in-house team may suit you if:
- You need maximum strategic alignment
- High customization demands
- Long-term project control
However, there are some things you need to be aware of. In-house cooperation is a resource-intensive thing that will require substantial investments and time resources for the solution’s creation, deployment, and integration. Moreover, you may face particular expertise gaps, as your choice of specialist is limited within your country. Anyway, most of these risks may be solved by fostering open communication, adopting agile software development methodologies, leveraging project management tools, and continuously evaluating performance progress.
In-house vs. outsourcing, what will better suit your business? Discover all the ins and outs in our guide
Cooperate with Outsourcing IT company
Outsourcing seems to be a combination of two previous cooperation approaches. This involves collaborating with external vendors who take full control over project development, deployment, and integration support. Seeking outsourced healthcare software development services allows you to access a wide talent pool worldwide, as well as choose the cost-suitable option. This approach can help you develop and implement solutions faster, leveraging the latest technologies and advanced expertise.
Outsourcing is your choice if you want to:
- Faster implementation of medical device integration software
- Access to specific skills and expertise in healthcare app development
- Require cost-efficiency
- Access to internal innovations
As in each case of remote collaboration, communication, and language barriers are also present here. Cultural differences can also become a challenge and lead to various misunderstandings. However, as in the case of freelance, the primary thing is to establish reliable communication channels and be clear about your expectations. Also, it’s highly advisable to conduct a check-in meeting, that’s how you’ll be in touch with vendors and specialists to track project progress and discuss potential difficulties.
3. Implement integration middleware
Consider implementing a middleware solution that will serve as an intermediary between the medical device and telehealth system. Such a solution may help you to facilitate clear data translation, validation, and safeguarded transmission, ensuring a smooth information journey from needed devices to a required healthcare software. Apart from this, middleware implementation allows you to translate protocols, as different medical devices use different communication protocols (e.g., HL7), too.
4. Conduct thorough testing and validation
Testing of fresh medical device integration with a connected system will help you ensure its reliability and optimal performance. Moreover, it’s crucial to ensure that all essential data has been transferred successfully, excluding disruptions and inaccuracies. This also includes testing under various conditions (normal operations, peak usage, variability of data volumes, security stress testing, network interruptions, error handling scenarios, etc.) to identify the system’s resilience.
Requirements to Consider During Medical Device Integration
You’ve already learned the steps to conduct a successful healthcare device integration. However, there are still some extras you should take into consideration.
Data privacy and security
It’s very important to think about implementing strong and reliable security measures to safeguard sensitive patients’ data during transmission and storage. Safety measures you possibly can consider include:
- Data encryption: turning data into code during transmission
- User authentication: identification if the user who seeks access is not a malicious intruder
- Access controls: help to ensure access to particular service or information for authorized individuals
Regulatory compliance requirements
Regulatory compliance, especially in the healthcare domain, helps to ensure that the integration meets legal, security, and quality standards, raising the trust and loyalty of your patients. The relevant regulations usually include:
- HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA ensures the security of patient-related data and establishes safeguards to protect sensitive information confidentiality and integrity.
- FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This is the US agency that ensures the safety and efficacy of food, drugs, and medical products for public health.
- DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine). This is a standard for transmitting, storing, and sharing medical images.
- Cybersecurity frameworks (e.g., NIST). NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is the U.S. agency setting standards for technology to enhance innovation and competitiveness.
- EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR). This is a regulatory framework in the European Union ensuring the safety and efficacy of medical devices
- Health Information Exchange. (HIE) standards. HIE standards are guidelines enabling security and easy data sharing among diverse healthcare systems.
Discover all the peculiarities of a HIPAA-compliant software development flow in our expert guide
Adherence to recognized interoperability standards in medical device integration software is crucial to ensure smooth and seamless communication between required medical devices and healthcare systems, facilitating data exchange in standardized formats. Such standards include:
- HL7 (Health Level Seven). HL7 integration is essential for communication between healthcare management systems , ensuring standardized data exchange of medical information.
- FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). This standard is integrated for exchanging healthcare data electronically.
Healthcare system compatibility
Ensure accurate verification that the medical device integration meets the current healthcare IT infrastructure, including EHR, Laboratory Information Systems, and other systems. Compatibility is key to ensuring efficient data flow and transition, preventing disruptions to clinical workflows.
Ensure that the integration supports various modes of device connectivity, including wired (USB, Ethernet) and wireless (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RFID) options. This allows for flexibility in connecting a great diversity of medical devices within the healthcare digital environment, where mobility is essential.
Cooperation with an experienced vendor
It’s vital to cooperate with a tech vendor with rich experience and a good reputation in the healthcare industry, including proficiency in medical device integration. A highly qualified IT vendor brings expertise in addressing healthcare device integration challenges, implementing innovative practices, and ensuring the successful integration of clinical devices into your healthcare ecosystem.
How Cleveroad Can Help You with Medical Device Integration
Our team has practical experience in integrating a patient monitoring device, particularly wearable devices,with telehealth platforms. To prove our experience, we’d like to present to you one of our healthcare cases - IoT-based system for hydration monitoring in real time.
Our client, a US-based scientific and commercial company that submits an IoT-based telecare solution for tracking human hydration levels. The organization reached out to us to develop a platform enabling users to monitor hydration indicators from mobile devices.
Our health software engineers designed and built a custom telecare platform connected with an IoT hydration sensor. The application is integrated with the customer's Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) platform. All data from sensors is synchronized and saved for further usage.The solution meets the 510(k) FDA Medical Device Registration requirements so it can legally operate within the framework of the US medical legislation.
As a result, the customer obtained a holistic IoT-based system that enable users to track hydration levels from their mobile devices. The availability of the solution from mobile devices enables the organization to double the user audience.
As you’ve learned about our practical healthcare device integration experience, we’d also like to tell you a bit more about who we are and what services we provide.
Cleveroad is a healthcare software development company with over 11+ years of experience in the healthcare domain. Our client counts clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations from the US, the UK, Australia, Nordic Regions, Saudi Arabia, France and much more. Our team’s expertise covers the creation of various health tech solutions, such as EHRs/EMRs, Telehealth solutions, patient monitoring systems, medical device software, and more. ,
Our software engineers are attentive to the specifics of telemedicine software creation and are qualified to meet industry regulations and standards, including HIPAA, GDPR, HL7, HITECH, CDA, etc. Being an ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (security) and ISO 9001:2015 (quality) Standards certified-company, we prepare to build software that aligns with the best international practices for data security and producing outstanding software quality.
As an outsourcing partner, we offer several cooperation models you can choose from based on your requirements and budget:
- Time and Material model. This is a pricing model where the client pays based on time, resources and materials that were utilized to design and build the healthcare software solution. You pay for the actual time and resources used during the project completion
- Dedicated team model. This model implies that we provide you with a full-cycle engineering team that takes all responsibility for the medical product development, delivery, and maintenance. Here, you pay for 8 working hours multiplied by the expert’s hourly rate
- Staff augmentation. Here you can augment your internal team with external professionals or hire several specialists with the expertise you need to support your product building.. You pay for 8 working hours multiplied by the expert’s hourly rate
Medical device integration with domain experts
Rely on our experience and qualifications in Healthcare. Our team will guide you through the process of medical device integration with adherence to security regulations
This process refers to establishing connectivity and enables the complete integration of medical devices with healthcare information technology systems like EHR/EMR, Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS), Laboratory Information Systems (LIS), telehealth platforms, etc. Usually, the main goal of such an integration is to automate the data flow among devices and information, streamlining clinical workflow and finally receiving a complete overview of patient health conditions.
Yes, medical device integration with applications definitely falls under the Internet of Things (IoT) when devices work mutually to share data and enable communication within a healthcare environment
Medical device integration supports hospital operations by providing the following:
- Enhanced data security and privacy for managing PHI and e-PHI
- Complete patient condition overview
- Remote monitoring of patients’ health
- Robust hospital workflow optimization
- Patient-focused approach to care delivery
Some mobile phone manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, Google, or FitBit which is known for their fitness trackers, are exploring the integration of medical devices into newer smartphones, aiming to enhance health monitoring and wellness features.
Primarily the company you choose has to offer healthcare software development services, be aware of industry-specific regulations, and have experience of medical device integration with healthcare information systems. At Cleveroad, we know how to make a successful healthcare device integration based on our 11+ years of practical experience in the healthcare domain.
Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
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