Infusion pumps in hospital

Three characteristics that medical devices must meet during a pandemic

In other words, advanced medical innovations such as (1) antimicrobial surface treatments, (2) the ability to thoroughly disinfect, and (3) well-designed HMIs have never been more important in healthcare.

Not all medical devices are equally effective or safe to use. Especially in the midst of a public health crisis, manufacturers, suppliers and vendors must carefully consider what requirements a medical device must meet. This is because the instruments are designed to equally facilitate patient care and protect everyone from the risk of infection from dangerous pathogens. Especially if, for example, coronaviruses have a long life span. According to Harvard Medical School, recent studies have shown “that COVID-19 virus can remain on surfaces or objects for up to 72 hours.”

This realization is frightening in a healthcare environment! This is because the surfaces of medical devices and their operating units (membrane keyboards, touchscreens, etc.) are exposed to numerous infected and non-infected persons on a daily basis. To prevent these devices from becoming a vector for disease, it is critical that they remain sanitary.

Step 1: Antimicrobial surfaces

The first step is to integrate antimicrobial properties into an input device itself. For example, incorporating the antimicrobial agent into the surface of a membrane keypad can limit or even eliminate the spread of germs on a device from the outset.

Specifically, a substance such as nano-sized silver ion particles is integrated into the hard-structured coating, which penetrates cell walls and disrupts the growth and reproduction of microorganisms. In short, antimicrobial surface treatments can help fight infection and reduce microbial transmission.

Antimicrobial surfaces can be used with membrane keyboards. For this purpose, the common design film is replaced by a polyester film with antimicrobial properties. This ensures the protection of the keyboard and its users for its entire life.

Step 2: Hygiene and cleaning options

The second step is to design medical equipment with hygiene in mind. Consider disinfecting a device that has numerous nooks and crannies or even entry points inside the device to sensitive electronics. Not only is it time consuming, but it is risky and drastically limits the types of cleaners that can be used. Instead, a device with a flat, fully enclosed surface can be wiped down quickly and easily.

For input devices in medical technology, we choose only materials that are resistant to a wide range of cleaning agents and thus enable thorough and rapid disinfection.

Step 3: user-friendly input systems

The third and final step relates to the design and manufacture of medical devices that must perform well in the midst of a pandemic: a user-friendly user interface.

Not only cleaning plays an important role, the device must also be easy and intuitive to operate. Caregivers must be able to complete tasks quickly and understand readings immediately. Poorly designed human-machine interfaces slow down the care process, reduce the overall capacity of care providers, and, in the worst cases, could lead to unintentional medical errors. Medical equipment and medical devices should always be developed with healthcare in mind.

Manufacturing critical components for high-quality medical devices is one of our daily tasks. We support you with our many years of experience in the design and manufacture of your medical device.

For more information about Hoffmann + Krippner’s COVID-19 preparations and our production capabilities, see our latest news:

For more information or answers to specific questions, please feel free to contact us.

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