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How to Manage the Diagnostic Medical Device Technology Lifecycle

One of the key challenges facing diagnostic medical device manufacturers involves alignment of their product’s lifecycle with the lifecycle of the device’s connected or embedded technology. This occurs because medical devices – which are affected by stringent government regulations – typically have long lifecycles, compare with most other product categories.

Conversely, a hardware or software technology product that’s embedded within or connected to the medical device will often reach its End-of-Life (EOL) relatively faster, which initiates a replacement and can pose other more significant issues.

For example, a medical device manufacturer may discover that its aging diagnostic product relies on integrated technology components that are approaching EOL, and as a result, conclude that minimal technical support will be required. But the opposite is true. Manufacturers must ensure that customers will receive complete product support, even when some of their diagnostic product’s critical technology components may soon become outdated and obsolete.

 

The Importance of Technology Asset Lifecycle Management

At all times in a medical device’s history — from project management through process optimization — manufacturers must maintain an awareness of the connected technology driving their product. The challenge is to match the medical device’s evolving hardware and software lifecycle with the device’s own improvements. This coordination is essential, in order for the medical device work effectively over its entire lifespan.

This is a complex task for most medical device manufacturers. They may lack the resources and expertise — or even the desire — to make technology asset lifecycle management a core competency within their organization. Effective lifecycle management first requires evaluation of potential technology solutions, in order to maximize the lifespan of essential hardware and software electronic components. Additionally, product obsolescence management and advance planning for product transitions are critical. This proactive planning is essential, in order to avoid the impact of any supply chain disruptions, and to have the option to conduct last-time buys and identify replacements for components.

Technology asset lifecycle management is an integral part of maintaining stability in the diagnostic medical device supply chain and ensuring continuity for manufacturers and the end users of their products. Through proactive EOL planning, Bill of Materials (BOM) management and last-time buying, medical device manufacturers can make better business decisions, gain critical insights into total cost of ownership, plan more effectively and reduce risks.