How to Improve Electrophysiology Custom Device Development

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Advances in connector, circuit board, and polymer technology have propelled the electrophysiology market forward.

With expected annual growth rates for electrophysiology in the double-digits, engineers are being asked to push the bar higher to improve mapping, detection, and ablation capabilities.

Meeting these expectations requires a new approach to electrophysiology device development—one that accelerates the process and provides superior results.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about some of the challenges engineers working in electrophysiology development currently face and some of the considerations for overcoming those challenges.

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The challenge: Electrophysiology devices are inherently complex.

There are many moving parts that must work perfectly for electrophysiology devices to produce accurate readings and positive outcomes.

Because electrophysiology devices exist in the overlapping realm of electro-surgical, catheter, and re-useable device design, their development requires extensive knowledge of polymers, sterilization, and electromechanics.

This makes electrophysiology device development inherently complex.

What’s more, engineers who work on electrophysiology devices are continually driven to innovate in order to improve patient outcomes.

For example…

In the electrophysiology mapping space, advances in sensor technology and miniaturization have helped improve cardiology detection capabilities for doctors around the globe.

As these sensors evolve, they require a more complex interconnect solution to properly transmit data and power.

This typically means adding contacts or wires to the device, which presents a particular challenge for electrophysiology engineers as they must figure out how to increase the number of contacts and pins while keeping the connector the same size (or making it smaller).

Though the above example highlights only one of the many challenges facing electrophysiology device development, the problem is clear: Bringing electrophysiology devices to market is a complex process.

Overcoming the challenge: Developing with the interconnect top of mind.

Many electrophysiology devices tend to be built around cutting-edge sensor technology which lead to better mapping and ablation.

With this being the case, the interconnect system that transmits the data from the sensor to the capital equipment can sometimes become an afterthought—viewed as another component that can simply be purchased off-the-shelf.

Unfortunately, this can lead to a sub-optimal connection that impedes data transmission and higher costs, which means you end up paying more to power the innovative sensor that has taken time and money to produce.

How do you overcome this challenge?

By placing your interconnect solution on equal footing with the sensor, catheter, and handpiece design.

Why a custom interconnect solution is crucial for helping your electrophysiology device reach peak performance.

A custom interconnect solution provides three primary advantages for your electrophysiology device that an off-the-shelf solution does not:

  • Better performance
  • Cost improvements
  • Intellectual property protection

Better performance

As mentioned above, connectors, cables, and wires that were not designed for your specific device can create a sub-optimal connection that impacts data and power transmission.

Additionally, if your device is reusable and must survive a specified number of sterilization cycles, there may not be an off-the-shelf solution available.

By engineering a solution specifically for your device, you can ensure that your connectors, contacts, and cable assemblies have the capability to support the other components of your device and survive throughout its intended lifetime.

Cost improvements

Is your device disposable or reusable?

What about the cable that connects your device to the capital equipment?

Regardless of how many times your device or cable can be used, chances are there is not an off-the-shelf connector or cable assembly that meets your device’s exact needs.

This means you may end up paying for components and features that you don’t need.

When you engineer a custom interconnect solution for your electrophysiology device, you can add or eliminate components as needed to ensure that your connectors and cables provide exactly what you need.

You can rest assured that your single-use device doesn’t rely on a higher-cost interconnect solution designed for a reusable device.

Intellectual property protection

Using an off-the-shelf interconnect solution means incorporating someone else’s products into your device.

Though this is a common practice for certain commoditized components, it can lead to certain constraints when it comes to interconnect solutions.

One issue is that you do not own the intellectual property surrounding the interconnect solution, which means your proprietary sensor, hand-piece, and capital equipment technology are powered by components that belong to a third party.

This means that the component supplier can choose to sell the same interconnect solution to anyone else, including your competitors.

It also leaves you vulnerable to supply chain interruptions that are out of your control.

For example…

If the supplier of your off-the-shelf interconnect chooses to discontinue the product line or change it without notification, you may be forced to redesign your device around a different interconnect.

Developing a custom interconnect solution for your electrophysiology device mitigates these issues as it allows you to own the intellectual property surrounding your interconnect and it puts the supply chain for the interconnect in your hands

Additional resources.

Developing a custom interconnect system that enables your electrophysiology device to reach peak performance requires technical expertise and experience, so we recommend talking to an interconnect expert.

If you want to learn more about what it takes to develop a custom interconnect system, download a free copy of our Interconnect Project Checklist.

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