A brief guide to medical devices

In 2020, the global medical device market was valued at over $430 billion. And as new technologies emerge and existing ones improve, the market for medical devices will continue to grow.

What are medical devices?

What exactly is a medical device? And what are the latest and greatest devices on the market today? Find out by reading this brief introduction to medical devices.

What are medical devices?

A medical device is a device used for medical purposes. Medical devices can be simple and rudimentary like bandages or a stethoscope. Or they can be complex like implantable pacemakers or deep brain pacemakers.

Medical devices have been around since ancient Rome, but we've come a long way since then. Medical devices help healthcare professionals prevent, diagnose, monitor and treat various health conditions, including chronic and acute diseases. The FDA regulates medical devices to ensure they are safe and effective .

Types of medical devices

Medical devices are classified into 3 categories based on the level of risk – Class I, Class II and Class III. Class I includes low-risk items like thermometers. Class II is low to moderate risk like an ultrasound, infusion pumps, or x-ray. Class III medical devices are high risk such as implantable devices.

Some countries use a classification system with 4 categories – Class I, Class IIA, Class IIB and Class III. The classification of medical devices allows consumers to understand the risk of the device. And it helps the FDA organize the approval process for new medical devices and technologies.

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Examples of medical devices

Medical devices can be organized according to the tasks or functions they help healthcare professionals perform. For example, imaging devices such as X-ray machines and MRI machines are a group of medical devices primarily used to diagnose internal injuries.

Wearable medical devices are another category. Wearable devices include blood pressure monitors, glucose monitoring systems, and automated insulin pumps. These devices have facilitated the monitoring and treatment of diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

Testing devices such as portable ECG/EKG machine can read the results in real time and store the data to mobile app. Advances in medical devices mean faster results and faster intervention for patients.

Implantable medical devices are among the most advanced medical technologies currently on the market. Pacemakers, implanted heart defibrillators, and coronary stents can help track heart activity. They may also help improve heart function. Hip and knee implants allow individuals to move around safely and comfortably just weeks after surgery.

The future of medical devices

New medical devices are being tested and approved at a rapid pace. Health technology and medical devices are two of the fastest growing industries in the world.

Medical devices have the potential to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare globally. They will change the way we think about diagnostic medicine and treatment solutions. You can learn more about medical devices on the FDA website .

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