The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted how much we rely on accurate and easily accessible information and technology to keep modern society running. Almost every industry sector works with digitized services crucial for the well-being of its businesses, organizations, and consumers.
In healthcare, the supply-chain disruptions created a series of challenges, such as shortages of medications, healthcare supplies, and medical devices (among others). This, combined with the chip shortages, which reduced semiconductor production put a strain on healthcare systems worldwide.
In a nutshell, it was the perfect storm that highlighted the importance of semiconductors for the modern healthcare industry. As a result, governmental authorities placed semiconductors on the list of essential goods. Moving forward, we’ll shed some light on why these tech-related elements are so important for healthcare and why they’re a must-have for future development and growth.
Modern Healthcare Devices
Devices such as sensors, communication integrated circuits, microcontrollers, motion micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), and many others depend on semiconductor manufacturing technology.
When these devices can’t work at full capacity (or at all), entire healthcare fields take a hit because they have crucial applications in areas such as medical imaging, clinical diagnostics, or therapy. You can find semiconductors in numerous medical devices, from pacemakers to chemistry/blood gas analyzers, and any shortage can and will impact the lives of many patients.
While the healthcare sector wasn’t always dependent on devices running on semiconductors, nowadays, it would be impossible to return to previous technologies. First, semiconductors helped lower medical costs and improve performance because today’s devices are more accurate, work faster, and can perform a wide array of functions at once.
Increased Reliability and Performance
Semiconductor tech is constantly evolving as new production methods and processes are being developed. For instance, modern devices used in demanding industries (such as defense, telecommunications, or medical devices) are designed with Parylene coatings with consistent thickness to be fail-proof and continue working in pique performance even under the toughest conditions.
This constant drive for increased reliability and performance has helped create amazing tools that help save lives and improve people’s well-being. One such tool is a robotic surgical system that allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgery, which takes less time to heal and is more accurate than regular surgery.
Healthcare is Advancing Fast Due to Tech Developments
The fast developments in the tech industry are the ones that allowed the healthcare industry to improve at a never-seen-before rate. Due to this, we have access to sophisticated medical devices and machines in hospitals and clinics, and we can use systems that support telehealth services and healthcare that takes place in the home (which proves extremely useful during the pandemic).
Modern tech opened the door to a wide range of entrepreneurial opportunities in healthcare, such as the creation of wearable devices that monitor vitals and communicate them to your doctor.
Also, there are startups working on digital diagnostic tools that enable remote examinations in order to help patients who can’t go to the hospital or to a clinic.
All these devices and more could turn the home into an extension of the hospital, so patients that are not in critical condition can recover comfortably in their homes while under constant monitoring.
Another opportunity that may change the course of humankind and medicine, in general, is the 3D printing of organs and medical devices.
All these advancements and many others are dependent on the production and improvement of semiconductors. So, the only way we can move forward in medicine and healthcare is by finding ways to solve supply chain issues and keep the chips and semiconductor industry going.
Improvements in the Medical Research Field
Besides developing faster and more accurate medical devices that help patients and doctors in hospitals and clinics, technology is also helping advance medical research. The use of semiconductor technology facilitates faster and more practical methods of disease prevention by providing researchers with access to intelligent data processing and more.
We saw first-hand how technology helped researchers speed up the vaccine-creation process during the Covid-19 pandemic. This level of development wouldn’t have been possible without help from highly-performing technologies and devices.
There are also researchers working on methodologies and procedures that help identify cancer cells in incipient phases using routine blood tests. This way, specialists can intervene before the disease has any negative impact on the body.
In recent years, the healthcare industry has gone through tremendous improvements, but none of these would’ve been possible without the semiconductor industry. Modern, well-developed healthcare systems use technologically-integrated medical equipment to speed up procedures and increase the safety of their patients.
If things continue on the same path, researchers predict that more people will get comfortable using web-integrated wireless devices that will keep them in touch with medical specialists who will have access to better data and more knowledge. Also, as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms get smarter, we’ll see faster and more diagnostics.
Overall, healthcare is expected to improve in the following years, but only if we can solve the crisis that affects the current development of technology.