It is only a matter of years before flexible health care technology saturates modern medicine. As paper record keeping gives way to electronic information management systems built on a network of connected assets, patients stand to gain truly "round-the-clock" care from their medical providers in the form of wearable sensors made from rigid-flex and flexible printed circuit boards.
The quality of the PCB assembly process, however, could have a positive or an inimical impact on how well health care providers will be able to cleanly integrate flexible sensors into their operations.
Checking up on the future of IoT in health care
Market researchers at International Data Corporation project that by 2020, the global market for Internet of Things technology will reach $1.7 trillion. Remote monitoring tech for the health care sector represents a sizeable portion of this new wave of innovation, and for good reason. Telehealth is poised to significantly reduce long-term administrative costs while enhancing preemptive care for patients everywhere, especially considering decreased production costs in the wake of flexible PCB substrates.
Yet growing data collection and security concerns at modernizing health care facilities already complicate matters. With more connections opening between sensitive electronic health records and wearable devices, providers must not only manage technology and develop a system for mitigating the flood of data. They must also secure every byte acquired from patients until it can be utilized or disposed of properly. IBM estimates once the world is fully IoT integrated, a single person will generate 1 million gigabytes of health care data in his or her lifetime. That's a lot to keep track of.
PCBA: A cure for chronic data fatigue
So, where does PCB assembly fit into this picture? Can the process do anything to reduce the strain on hospitals and health clinics struggling to adapt and innovate?
Finding the right PCBA partner can create value-add opportunities for health care electronics producers, whether they are manufacturing companies working with small- to mid-volume production runs or medical think tanks hoping to build viable prototypes for tomorrow's technological wonders. In turn, these benefits can then be passed to their clients.
What sorts of benefits? Rigorous inspection and testing ensures products work to spec. Supply chain transparency protects patients from receiving monitoring equipment legally obtained but illegitimately sourced. In the end, these services take undue burden off the backs of health care providers already struggling to safeguard medical information. One less worry is welcome, and tech vendors can promise this solution, so long as they choose their PCB assembler wisely.