The diagnosis for healthcare isn't good.
Chronic diseases cost the U.S. healthcare system almost a trillion dollars per year. The worldwide population is rapidly aging, with the 65-and-over crowd expected to triple by 2050. And developing countries are seeking improved access to modern medical technology for their people.*
These aren't problems we can just cover with a bandaid. New solutions are needed to make health care more affordable and more accessible.
*American Diabetes Association; Alzheimer's Association; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; U.S Census Bureau.
The math is simple. Moving the point of care closer to patients and giving them the tools they need to care for themselves can reduce medical costs by 80%.
Ultrasound is becoming portable. Increased availability is taking the guesswork out of diagnosis and treatment, enabling first responders to detect internal bleeding, helping nurses locate blood vessels, and bringing the benefits of cardiology to villages that don't have electricity.
To enable these new possibilities, system designers must take equipment that typically weighs over 50 pounds and costs over a $100K, and make it much smaller and more affordable. Early products were allowed some performance tradeoffs to meet these requirements. But as portable ultrasound goes mainstream, performance is once again becoming a key differentiator.
Channel counts are increasing. In addition to space constraints, this trend raises a new set of concerns as sensitive receive electronics are brought closer to the noisy digital electronics, and designers search for ways to power it all from limited battery capacity.
Patient monitoring is coming home. Keeping patients out of hospitals can reduce costs by an order of magnitude or more. Today, new telehealth technologies allow patients to receive long-term care at home, reducing costs from $5000/day for hospital stays to just $10/day. Future semiconductor advances will enable the integration of additional sensors, wireless connectivity, and security to fully bridge the distance between the hospital and the home.
At Maxim Integrated, we're pulling together critical system functions to bring the benefits of modern medical technology to more people in more places.
Analog integration helps system designers deliver better imaging in smaller form factors.
Our fully integrated ultrasound receivers
combine a high-performance analog front-end (AFE) with a continuous-wave Doppler (CWD) beamformer to streamline the receive path. The next generation
* includes a transmit/receive switch to save additional board space while improving system sensitivity and dynamic range.
In the next year, we will begin sampling the world's only commercially available ultrasound transceiver. Built using Maxim's proprietary high-voltage SOI technology, the transceiver integrates the complete transmit and receive path in a single chip. This will allow customers to achieve unprecedented channel density in portable form factors.
Equipment for vital-sign monitoring is rapidly evolving, from $5000 bedside boxes to sub-$100 systems that can comfortably be worn while recuperating at home. Analog integration is at the heart of these changes, with system-on-chip (SoC) solutions rapidly replacing discrete, multicomponent designs.
At Maxim, we're building on our strengths in sensor fusion, RF integration, secure digital processing, and micropower energy harvesting to help our customers achieve new cost and space benefits. Today, this means highly integrated building blocks that enable affordable in-home monitoring solutions. In the future, it will mean complete SoCs that pull all signal-processing, power-management, and security functions into a single device.
Together with our medical partners, we're actively developing the technologies needed to make vital-sign monitors the size of a bandaid, diagnostic systems that can be embedded in clothing, and impact sensors that can be affixed to athletes.