Express Healthcare

Simulation technology for healthcare

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Rafiq Somani Area Vice President-India and South Asia Pacific, Ansys talks about the role of simulation technology in driving improved development and advanced performance

Major research institutions, large healthcare corporations and even start-ups are already turning towards engineering simulation to meet their analysis needs with 80 per cent of the top 50 healthcare companies in the world having already adopted simulation. From ideation to post-market modifications, simulation drives improved development and advanced performance. Medical uses for simulation are as diverse as medical specialties. Be it cardiovascular, orthopaedic, ophthalmology, respiratory, diagnostic equipment or others, companies are now embracing in silico methods for everything from stents and pacemakers, custom 3D-printed orthopaedic implants and smart wearables like insulin pumps. All manner of medical devices, be it class I, II & III medical devices, wearables, implantables, hospital equipment and medical supplies benefit from simulation.

Medical Devices

Since healthcare deals with people, device failure is not a choice. In order to be able to develop disruptive innovation and deliver increasingly advanced treatments, simulation is key. Engineering simulation can be applied throughout the device development cycle and the regulatory approval process. It is a cost-effective way to bring new treatments to patients faster, while meeting safety standards and satisfying time-to-market deadlines. Software customisability ensures that more than 75 per cent of simulations traditionally done by experts can now be delegated to non-expert simulation users freeing up experts to design products surpassing expectations.

Wearables and implantables: Simulation has the ability to bring new age wearables and implantables into the market quickly by accurately modelling the body interacting with Class II & III devices. Simulation can accelerate the design process and amplify testing in order and provide digital evidence to meet the regulations as well. In fact, these implants proved to be 10,000X better. Even the time to design wearable antenna was reduced by 25 per cent thanks to simulation.

Medical & hospital supplies: Simulation enables engineers to predict and understand the behaviour of medical and hospital supplies across diverse scenarios and this guarantees consistent performance that comes with an affordable cost. Thus, both the performance and management of medical and hospital supplies can be maximised with simulation.

Hospital equipment: When it comes to critical hospital equipment, there is always the risk of incurring functional problems and this can lead to large capital expenditure. Simulation has the ability to reduce this risk.  Engineering Simulation can maximize the dependability of hospital equipment by ensuring that there is no compromise on a patient’s safety.

Physiological modelling: It is only the accurate modelling of the complexities of human or animal physiology that can authenticate the performance of a medical device in its working environment. Simulation can develop accurate physiological models that can achieve this.

Thus, engineering simulation of medical devices and their interaction with the body can accelerate innovation, design optimisation and regulatory approval processes, helping the healthcare industry in abundance.

Clinical Applications

Today, the collective power of computational resources, advanced computer models, and application-specific solutions are enabling the clinical community to embrace in silico solutions that can deliver effective and safer treatments to patients. Clinically validated, predictive computer models of surgical and medical protocols applied to patient-specific models deliver improved patient outcomes. Thanks to simulation,  $10 million was saved in a single clinical trial. Simulation thus enhances clinical outcomes as clinicians are progressively turning to expansively authenticated computer models of patient-specific surgical procedures to deliver critically vital insights during pre-surgical planning.

Regulatory approval: Regulators are now open to digital evidence. The ability to complement clinical trials with in silico generated data, known as in silico trials, has now been established and this drive is already on a fast-track. We also have regulatory authorities encouraging the addition of digital evidence to reduce, refine, and replace traditional sources of evidence.

Medical diagnosis: To assist clinicians in predicting the evolution of pathologies, we have ‘The Personal Digital Avatar’ that is based on expansively authenticated patient models. This is shepherding in the new era of personal, predictive and preventive medicine.

Simulation saves months of testing time and tens of thousands of dollars in resources for each design project by refining antenna options through virtual prototypes rather than physical prototypes. Simulation is thus pushing the boundaries of health care solutions.

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