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The challenges of handheld medical device batteries

electronicspecifier | Panasonic Battery | 19/11/2020

The primary purpose of battery power is to act as a backup power source in the event of a major medical device failure, and to act as a lifesaver for medical devices. however, they are the primary power supply. Any downtime could threaten the wellbeing of the patient, which makes the efficacy of the batteries just as vital as the monitors or sensors they might be powering. Perhaps the most important.
Three common requirements that original equipment manufacturers look for in medical-grade batteries are high power capacity, small physical size and reliability. Manufacturers meet the various needs of handheld and wearable medical devices through highly integrated batteries. But what differentiates the requirements for handheld and wearable devices?


 

Wearable devices


One of the most common types of wearable device in medical technology is remote patient monitoring equipment. Often worn around the neck or arm and taken with the patient wherever they go, these devices transmit vital data about the patient to the doctor in real-time. As the patient must wear the device for a prolonged period, It is important to minimize barriers to patients and improve portability. Non-rechargeable (primary) batteries may be better suited than rechargeable (secondary) ones for this application, due to their smaller size for a given amount of energy, it is also more portable and practical.
 
For example, Ultralife Thin Cells measure as little as 1.2mm in depth, which is compact enough for embedding into wearable devices. Yet these cells also boast a high energy density of around 500Wh/l and 400Wh/Kg compared to just 300Wh/l and 260Wh/kg for the best lithium coin cells. They pack a lot of energy into the smallest footprint available, with no compromise to efficacy or safety. This allows designers to tailor their work to the needs of different patients.
 


Another reason why primary batteries are ideal is that removing a wearable device from the patient to charge the battery could result in gaps in the data, which would bring unnecessary trouble to patients or doctors. This also applies to other wearable medical devices like hearing aids, where it would be impractical for an individual with hearing impairments to remove the batteries for a long period to charge them.This can have a huge impact on the lives of patients.


 

Handheld devices


Both wearable and handheld devices share a common link — size matters.  Where wearable devices need to fit around a neck or arm, handheld medical devices need to be small enough It and light enough to fit comfortably in the user’s hands for an extended period.
Temperature checkers are a common example of a handheld medical device. Unlike wearables, handheld devices are unlikely to be in constant use, meaning that the batteries have time to recharge. Rechargeable batteries tend to offer a longer service life than non-rechargeables, providing cost-effective products for some hospitals with inadequate budgets.
 
Although handheld equipment may incorporate secondary over primary batteries, the need for reliability and high-power capacity is the same. The temperature checker, just like the wearable remote patient monitoring devices, is relaying vital patient data to the hospital.
Accutronics’ range of credit card lithium cell batteries are ideal for this application as they are both compact and high in performance. At just 9.1mm, the CC3800 offers a large storage capacity of 3800mAh.

 
As you can see, although both handheld and wearable medical devices strive to meet high power capacity, small physical size and reliability requirements; the type of battery can differ based on the specific application. Speaking to a professional battery manufacturer, like Accutronics, at the design stage can ensure that medical device manufacturers get the battery that is best suited for their device.

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