The transformation and innovation brought about by technology in the healthcare industry

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In recent years, thanks to advances in electronics and information technology, as well as evolving market demands, technology in healthcare applications has been gradually expanding its capabilities. Beyond intelligent notification, it now includes real-time monitoring, real-time positioning, ventilation calculations, medication calculations, data recording, human-computer interaction, and more. This is driving rapid and robust growth in the healthcare industry. This article will introduce the impact of information and communication technology on the healthcare industry, as well as the diverse and comprehensive healthcare solutions offered by Murata.

Information and communication technology drives the development of healthcare devices and services

Due to changes in the societal environment, such as the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), particularly the widespread use of cloud services, changes in living environments, an increase in patients with lifestyle-related diseases due to aging, and the soaring costs of healthcare, the medical and healthcare sector is undergoing significant transformation. Technology has brought profound changes and innovations to the healthcare industry, driving the development of the future of healthcare.

Through remote healthcare technologies, patients can engage in video consultations with doctors, monitor their health, receive medical advice, and prescriptions remotely, which can enhance patient convenience, medical efficiency, and overall health management. When combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, it can assist in analyzing the vast amount of medical data collected by devices to help doctors make more accurate diagnoses and treatment recommendations. Artificial intelligence can also predict disease progression, provide personalized medical advice through algorithms, improve treatment outcomes and patient survival rates while avoiding breaches of patient privacy. It can also be utilized to create chatbots and virtual assistants to provide assistance at various stages of patient care.

Furthermore, through smartwatches and wearable medical devices, it's possible to monitor patients' physiological parameters, activity levels, sleep quality, and more. This data can be used for timely interventions and personalized health recommendations, aiding in disease prevention and enhancing quality of life. In 2022, the global wearable medical device market was estimated to be around $26.8 billion, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.7% from 2023 to 2030. By 2024, the global shipment volume of consumer healthcare wearable devices is expected to reach nearly 440 million units. Moreover, wearable technology has the potential to reduce hospital costs by as much as 16% over the next five years.

On the other hand, 3D printing technology can be used to create custom prosthetics, dentures, surgical models, and even personalized drugs and medical devices. These customized products can enhance treatment outcomes and patient comfort. Additionally, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies can be utilized for surgical simulations, medical education, psychotherapy, and pain management. These technologies can improve the effectiveness of medical training, reduce surgical risks, and improve patients' mental well-being.

Currently, blockchain technology, which is trending, can also be used to ensure the security and privacy of medical data, promote the sharing and transmission of medical information. It can be applied to manage the pharmaceutical supply chain, patient records, and medical billing to improve efficiency and transparency. Advanced gene editing technology can be used to treat genetic diseases, while personalized medicine, by analyzing an individual's genome information, can create customized treatment plans to enhance treatment effectiveness and patient survival rates.

Looking ahead, the application of technology in the healthcare industry will drive the field towards greater effective, personalization, intelligence, and accessibility, providing more effective healthcare for humans. However, it is essential to balance technological advancements with ethical, legal, privacy, and other considerations to ensure that technology applications align with societal values and ethical principles.

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Providing a variety of innovative technologies to expand the future development of the healthcare sector

The future development of healthcare relies on technology, and Murata offers a variety of innovative technologies in the healthcare field to empower medical design engineers to develop better quality medical devices. Murata's electronic component product portfolio contributes to the improvement of patient monitoring technologies, enhancing the intelligence of life support equipment, and increasing the quality of diagnostic imaging. Through scientific innovation, Murata develops and manufactures small, smart, accurate, and effective electronic technologies required for nowadays healthcare products, providing an excellent foundation for medical product designers to build excellent products.

Murata provides solutions for products used in daily health management such as blood pressure monitors, thermometers, and blood glucose meters. They enhance patient health management by offering convenience through device miniaturization, continuous monitoring, and cloud connectivity. This is achieved by providing compact, general-purpose components (capacitors, inductors, etc.) to make the products smaller and increase design flexibility. Murata also employs wireless communication modules like Bluetooth® Smart and NFC (Near Field Communication) to enable network connectivity for these devices, improving the convenience of daily health management. Additionally, Murata offers solutions for healthcare products like hearing aids, insulin pumps, and wearable skin patches.

Murata also offers solutions for medical practice-based diagnostic imaging apparatus, making them easier to portable within hospitals and further downsizing them for home healthcare use while enhancing their functionality. Murata achieves this by providing compact, general-purpose components to minimize the size of the products. They also facilitate the transmission of image data through wireless communication modules and improve functionality with various sensors, including thermistors and tilt sensors.

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A complete solution that is smaller, thinner, and more energy-efficient

Murata has introduced a complete solution for the patient monitoring market, characterized by smaller, thinner, and more energy-efficient components. This solution includes power inductors, magnetic beads, thermistors, multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) for power supply, CERALOCK ceramic resonators for use with processors, SMD-type NTC thermistors, lead-type NTC thermistors, resin-molded NTC sensors, Wi-Fi modules, BLE modules, switch connectors, multi-line connectors, common mode choke coils (CMCC), power inductors, RF inductors, and output components such as buzzers. This extensive product portfolio provides customers with a variety of options to meet their specific needs.

In EMI applications for electronic products, Murata offers various components, including DLW21SN/HN CMCC used for USB interface filters, known for their small size and excellent insertion loss characteristics. There are also power inductors for power supply applications, such as LQH32PN, DFE21CCN, DFE3225, and DEM8045, which feature low RDC, high current, and low power consumption. For RF matching, there are LQW15 and LQP03/02 RF inductors known for their high Q values. BLM18/21/32 magnetic beads are suitable for power line filters and signal line filters, offering a combination of small size and excellent performance. Additionally, there are BNX02**1 and PLT10 block-type filter CMCC for power line filters, known for their outstanding performance.

Murata produces a wide variety of thermistor types, Currently, there are two types of thermistors: SMD-type NTCs and lead-type NTCs. NTC is divided into NCP, NCU series (in 01005, 0201 and 0402 sizes), and FTI series, which can be used for temperature detection and temperature compensation. Additionally, there is also NTC specially designed for body temperature detection. The temperature detection accuracy at 38°C can reach ±0.055°C, making them suitable for high-precision body temperature detection. The diverse packages of Murata thermistors are adaptable to different mounting methods of the application and facilitate circuit design.

In the clock device category, Murata's PKMCS/PKLCS buzzers are used for sound alerts. They offer stable sound pressure characteristics and are known for their high product uniformity and low power consumption. The CSTNE series CERALOCK ceramic resonators are suitable for use as reference clocks for MCUs. They are characterized by high reliability, no need for load capacitors (CL 3), quick start-up time (low power consumption), and support for IC matching test reports. The XRCGB series’ Crystal oscillator has the advantages of high precision, small temperature drift, and small frequency change after reflow soldering. Murata's complimentary crystal oscillator IC matching service provides customers with reference conditions for low-power circuitry.

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A wide variety of power supply solutions, communication modules, and connectors are available

In the power supply section, Murata offers the PQx series (250W/650W/1000W) AC-DC converters, which come with standard form factors, medical compliance, and high reliability. The NCL product line (1W/2W) consists of isolated DC-DC converters suitable for RS232 isolation power, known for their compact size and high reliability. The MonoBK non-isolated DC-DC converters can perform digital power DC-DC conversion, characterized by their small form factor and high reliability.

Murata also provides a variety of Wi-Fi and IoT modules, including LBWA1UZ1GC, LBWA1UZ1PS, and CMWC1ZZABR wireless modules, suitable for data exchange between ventilators, mobile devices, and the cloud. LBWA1UZ1GC and LBWA1UZ1PS support 2.4GHz/5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi, with an ultra-compact size (10 x 10 mm), powerful ARM Cortex-R4 MCU, Ethernet support, and compliance with AWS specifications and FCC/IC/TELEC/CE "reference" certification, which can save time and certification costs for market entry. CMWC1ZZABR can be used for 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 4 with onboard antennas, an integrated ARM Cortex-M4F MCU, Wi-Fi protocol stack, and comprehensive support provided through NXP EZ-Connect Tools (WMSDKA). It is AWS compliant and FCC/IC/CE certified, making it a cost-effective and time-saving solution for market entry.

In the case of BLE modules, Murata's MBN52832 and 2TY communication modules enable data exchange between ventilators and mobile devices. These modules have very compact sizes (both measuring 7.4mm x 7mm) and support onboard antennas, saving RF design resources. They are also certified for FCC, ISEC, TELEC, and CE compliance, which can help save time and certification costs for market entry.

Murata also offers a variety of connectors, including the SWJ switch connector, which can be used for RF signal or ANT signal testing in wearable products and smartphones. These connectors are known for their small size. The MLF multi-line connector is designed for RF and digital signal transmission between boards in wearable products and smartphones. They are characterized by their small size, RF, digital signal transmission, and high-frequency capabilities.

Murata also provides custom SESAS CPN services for producing stretchable electronic devices, such as stretchable substrates/sensors. These devices offer benefits like skin-friendliness, stretchability, and FDA approval. They are typically developed collaboratively with the customer, although it is a one-time development effort that may come at a higher cost.

Conclusion

Benefiting from the rapid growth in demand for home healthcare, patient monitoring applications are expanding into the household sector. In this context, the market's demand for smaller, more portable, and wireless patient monitoring solutions continues to increase. This trend is driving significant growth in the healthcare industry. With its comprehensive product line for patient monitoring, Murata is well-positioned to help healthcare products move toward smaller, thinner, and more energy-efficient designs, accelerating the development of related products. Murata is an ideal partner for those looking to seize opportunities in the healthcare application market.

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