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The e-health program, a new approach to health care, by utilizing electronics technology, Part 5

The electronics industry is contributing to the safety and the improvement of quality of life for people, by means of increasingly efficient, reliable and effective microelectronics solutions being at the central core technology of medical instrumentation:

“To get an idea of how much silicon technology will impact healthcare and wellness, we just need to look at how semiconductor advancements have shaped the evolution of other industries such as telecommunications and consumer electronics. Not only have the physical dimensions been reduced drastically (weight, width, height) but they have become easier to use, feature-rich, and their power consumption has improved tremendously. … Aside from the pervasive availability of advanced silicon technology, there are societal factors involved in this evolution, such as the need to make healthcare more affordable and accessible and the rapidly growing interest in personal health and fitness. Semiconductor technology is enabling this evolution on two broad fronts. The first is the continual improvement in traditional “medical equipment,” ranging from fairly low-tech motorized hospital beds to the most sophisticated MRI machine. Like all industrial applications, these benefit from the universal “win-win-win-win” effect of semiconductor technology where we see a continuous improvement of price, performance, power consumption, and physical size.” (Source: Mr Francois Guibert interview, executive VP and president, Greater China and South Asia, STMicroelectronics on BioSpectrum Asia Edition)

The effectiveness of electronics components and systems has a great importance in the overall effectiveness of health care systems to improve our health and enhance the quality of the conditions of patients in hospitals. An example of this concept is represented by the block diagram of an MRI machine depicted in Figure 1, where there are many components enhanced by electronics technology such as the data storage block, the image processor, and the waveform generator:

“The scanning operation is controlled from a central computer. This specifies the shape of gradient and r.f. waveforms, and timings to be used, and passes this information to the waveform generator, which outputs the signals and passes them to be amplified and sent to the coils. The NMR signal, once it has been phase sensitively detected, is turned to a digital signal by an analogue to digital converter. The digital signal is then sent to an image processor for Fourier transformation and the image is displayed on a monitor.” (Source: Stuart thesis)

Figure 1

The block diagram of an MRI machine (Source: Stuart thesis)

 

The block diagram of an MRI machine (Source: Stuart thesis)

 

One important block in the schematic diagram of the MRI scanner in Figure 1 is the RF Electronics block, which guarantees effective communication between the Magnet, the Shim block and the CPU that is the “brain” of the system (see also Figure 2):

Figure 2

An MRI scanner schematic, showing the RF transmit coil. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

An MRI scanner schematic, showing the RF transmit coil. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Electronics technology is the trigger to the success e-medical care? Do you agree?

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