Why choosing Linux for your Medical Devices?

Recently Linux and Android have been gaining popularity among medical device manufacturers. Because IoT in a healthcare setting is responsible for human health and wellbeing, manufacturer development of medical devices has the unique requirement that it must be secure, accurate, and reliable. Medical device software development is complex, as its embedded functionality and features must fully comply with security and safety regulations.   

Why Choose Embedded Linux for Medical Devices?  

During your research, you may find a few options for medical device software development. Linux’s open-source availability and continuous community improvements have made it a stable option for embedded systems in healthcare. Reliability is a key factor in software as a medical service so that manufacturers can focus on their development process with the assurance that the underlying operating system is stable. Linux’s longevity as an operating system and its community contributions have made it one of the most stable and secure OSes on the market.  

Another concern in software development for medical IoT is security. Several industries have embraced IoT and embedded development and have made huge strides in the development of reliable and secure devices, but healthcare is often behind in secure development. Although healthcare manufacturing has offered a wave of new devices that improve the quality of life of a patient, it can also be a source of dangerous breaches threatening the safety of patients and their data. Patient safety is at risk if an attacker is able to compromise the system, and the aftermath of such breaches has led to a call for better sophistication during the development of healthcare devices.   

A further aspect of Linux for medical devices is its real-time component, which is essential for healthcare devices. Linux offers a low power consumption, real-time execution, alongside rich connectivity functionality and a graphical user interface. It makes Linux an obvious choice for manufacturers that rely on a stable embedded operating system that runs patient devices. In addition to being reliable for the manufacturer, the patient must also trust that the device is giving them the right output. Patients who lose trust in devices will no longer use them and reject any output that alerts them to their health concerns.  

Over the last five years, Android became a popular choice for some manufacturers due to its Linux-based operating system. Android’s market penetration happened quickly as Google made its codebase freely available to developers and offered a low-cost option for device manufacturers and startups. It’s now one of the major players in device manufacturing of IoT, portable healthcare devices, and home-care devices. Android’s key selling points are its networking, communication capabilities, and rich HMI (Human Machine Interface), useful in the portable device market. Initially, Android was made for smartphones and interactive touch screens with rich UI/UX. However, over the last years, it has adapted well to the alternative industries such as medical devices, proving its diverse applicability and security. 

Partnering with L4B for Healthcare Device Manufacturers  

The portability of Linux makes it an obvious choice for development. On the one hand, it offers a wide range of distributions but, on the other hand, a customizable platform to develop a device that fits the business requirements. Since Linux is open-source, manufacturers can work with third-party developers that can enhance and modify the codebase to meet requirements.  

It’s not enough to simply create healthcare firmware that works. Unlike other industries, medical devices are responsible for human life and require specific software safety classification standards like IEC 62304 and managed under Quality Management Systems of ISO 13485. At L4B we build secure Android and Linux operating system that complies with customer requirements and high industry standards. We create a future-proof solution built upon the Linux and Android operating system with customizable features that support an improved user experience. 

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