Medical devices research

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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 25 January 2017


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"...The term medical devices, as defined in the (Canada) Food and Drugs Act, covers a wide range of health or medical instruments used in the treatment, mitigation, diagnosis or prevention of a disease or abnormal physical condition..." — Health Canada
"...medical devices range from simple tongue depressors and bedpans to complex programmable pacemakers with micro-chip technology and laser surgical devices. In addition, medical devices include in vitro diagnostic products, such as general purpose lab equipment, reagents, and test kits, which may include monoclonal antibody technology. Certain electronic radiation emitting products with medical application and claims meet the definition of medical device. Examples include diagnostic ultrasound products, x-ray machines and medical lasers..." — US Food and Drug Administration

Medical devices are among the most important technological advances in modern health care as they reduce pain and suffering for patients, improve health care delivery and reduce overall costs. The global market for medical devices is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2025. In Canada, medical devices represent significant economic opportunities for Canadian businesses and manufacturers. Canada is slated to be a net exporter of medical devices but this requires investment, building expertise, access to commercial infrastructure and more collaboration among innovators, hospitals, investors, industry and patients. According to Wikipedia, a medical device is " instrument, apparatus, implant, in vitro reagent, or similar or related article that is used to diagnose, prevent, or treat disease or other conditions, and does not achieve its purposes through chemical action within or on the body (which would make it a drug). Whereas medicinal products (also called pharmaceuticals) achieve their principal action by pharmacological, metabolic or immunological means, medical devices act by other means like physical, mechanical, or thermal means."

Medical device themes

Here are a few of the different types of research being done in the medical devices industry:

  • Assistive Technologies
  • Biomechanics and Implants
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Health informatics
  • Medical Devices and Instrumentation
  • Medical Diagnostic Services
  • Medical Signals and Imaging
  • Medical Simulation and Modelling


According to the Canadian Trade Commissioner, "...Canada offers a highly diversified, R&D intensive, technology based and export oriented medical device sector, with about 1,500 firms employing 35,000 people and exporting $1.9 billion worth of medical devices in 2013. Demographic trends, developments in science and engineering, and changes in care delivery are expected to contribute to the sector’s future growth. Canada ranks 1st in the G7 in terms of cost-effectiveness for the establishment and operation of medical devices manufacturing facilities.Footnote 4 Canada also ranks 3rd in the world for the number of sites for active clinical trials of medical devices."

If you are doing medical devices research in Canada, you will need to enlist the assistance of a medical, sciences or business librarian (perhaps all three).

Key sources

  • A service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Contains trials sponsored by the NIH, other federal agencies, and private industry. Studies listed in the database are conducted in 50 states and 157 countries.
  • Resources that help place clinical trials in the context of patients' overall medical care.
  • Provides current and historical overview articles, including many related to medical devices such as point-of-care devices, diagnostic devices, and other healthcare related devices.

Key websites

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