Battery technology is always advancing, constantly on the brink of a revolutionary development. In a recent publication of Medical Design and Outsourcing, “three experts from Integer, a global leader in medical device outsourcing,” weighed in on these advancements. These experts–Martin Cholette, Robert Rubino and Chris Williams–discussed new advances in the works in medtech, the challenges of battery technology, and possible future innovations.
A major advancement discussed by Williams in battery technology is Integer involvement in improving the design of the pacemaker. The company is in the development of the leadless cardiac pacing market. Instead of a traditional pacemaker battery, they are creating a cylindrical battery. This new design “allows for implants through the femoral vein in a minimally invasive procedure.” A minimal invasive procedure such as this one reduces a lot of health risks for the patient, as opposed to a traditional pacemaker. The revolutionary battery also brings potential advances for cochlear implants. Instead of the patient wearing the implant behind their ear and having to constantly remove it to sleep or shower, the battery and the implant could be inside head. The main goal in these battery advances is to have less invasive technologies that can manage diagnostics for doctors and patients.
As revolutionary as these innovations are, there are going to be challenges to this new battery development. Finding new materials to support this kind of technology is one of the biggest obstacles these experts face. It takes a lot of time to and experimentation with new chemistries and design to find the right fit. Much of the time, manufacturers are hesitant to supply the materials needed to power such innovative batteries for medical devices because of liability they could be entitled to. Besides not wanting to be at fault, manufacturers often discontinue materials and it’s back to the drawing board to find a replacement.
Innovations of battery technology are well in the works. According to Rubino, “The battery industry is in an intense phase of investment and growth.” These battery advancements are now becoming a reality and changing patient care for the better. The future and the improvement of medtech features size reduction, rechargeable batteries, minimally invasive procedures and unbeatable performance. Powered by the advancements in battery technology, these innovations are forever changing the design and capability of medical technology.