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Fig. 11.1 Telemetric pacemaker for remote patient monitoring. Source: Biotronik GmbH, Berlin, Germany. a Pacemaker with telemetry units. b Mobile data transfer unit, like a cellular phone a

Asked about the advantages expected in the next 5 years from the applications of MST in medical devices, the study participants named new product opportunities for existing market segments and for entering new market segments along with product miniaturization potential as their key expectation. The most important barriers to innovation in medical MST are high initial investment load, general skepticism of users (doctors, patients), and unclear reimbursement conditions for MST-enhanced medical devices or MST-related diagnostic or therapeutic procedures. This mainly refers to telemetric technologies such as remote ECG diagnostics and remote cardiac pacemaker or implantable defibrillator monitoring.

Asked about the preconditions necessary to improve the application of MST in medical devices, survey participants named the availability of standardized MST elements, comparable to standardized electronic elements, customizable integrated systems to facilitate the use of MST components in medical devices, and the increase of acceptance of these technologies among payers in the health care system.

This shows that barriers to innovation in the field of medical MST are not only on the side of the technology with its particular challenges, but also on the market side in terms of unsolved issues in medical high-tech reimbursement. This applies especially to the European market place.

As for the types of microsystems components judged most important for medical products in the future, our study participants named various types of sensors such as biosensors, chemical sensors, pressure sensors, and microfluidic structures. This indicates that experts see the future of MST in medical devices mainly in the improvement of device intelligence through sensors and in using microactuators for miniaturization intervention instruments (Fig. 11.2).

Of particular importance will be the definition of standards [15] and common interfaces to facilitate the use of MST components, especially in markets with smaller product volumes, such as medicine, if compared with large-scale industrial applications, such as automotive, environmental of aerospace.

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