The High Cost of Low-Performing Medical Devices


Originally posted on the On Q blog

Manufacturers of consumer products have long used money-back guarantees to promote laundry detergent, newspapers, pizza, and yes, even beer, as a way to reassure consumers about the purchase they are making. You can now add medical devices to the list.

Last week, Reuters reported that medical device manufacturers have begun to offer device performance and reliability guarantees to hospitals:

“Medical device makers, facing sluggish sales and increasing pressure to prove the value of their products, are beefing up guarantees to compensate U.S. hospitals if a device does not perform as expected.”

Medical device manufacturers already operate in a challenging environment filled with stringent regulatory requirements and industry pressures. They must develop increasingly complex devices in timelines that are more typical of consumer-grade electronics, but difficult to meet in a regulated industry. The added burden of providing compensation to hospitals simply adds a cost line directly attributed to device performance or reliability issues.

These product guarantees underscore the importance of building a medical device on a solid, robust, and reliable realtime operating system. Not having a reliable OS will cost medical device manufacturers — literally and figuratively.

At QNX Software Systems, we’ve been taking reliability seriously for almost 35 years. That’s why our OS supports intelligent fault recovery to enable high uptimes, time partitioning to ensure availability of critical processes, security mechanisms to help devices from attack, and realtime determinism to help applications meet hard deadlines. Moreover, this OS technology has been deployed in dialysis machines, infusion pumps, angiography systems, CT scanners, surgical robots, heart defibrillators, and a host of other medical devices.

No, we don’t offer money-back guarantees. But I think we offer something better: tools, services, and certifications to help our medical-device customers save time, money, and effort in the first place.

This blog was first published at the On Q blog. Visit On Q for posts featuring QNX, cars, embedded systems, and photography.

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