The medical device industry has always been driven by innovation, with advances in technology leading to new and exciting developments in healthcare. However, in recent years, the industry has undergone a major shift with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).
AI is changing everything—from how medical devices are developed to how they’re used in patient care. And just like any other tech advancements, the rapid introduction and adoption of AI has elicited a domino effect in how recruiters approach their search for qualified candidates.
Medical device recruiters are quickly seeing that the skills and expertise needed to find the best candidates are forced to evolve to keep up with AI. In addition to deep technical expertise in medical devices, recruiters now need to be looking for candidates who understand how to work with and develop AI programs, and are well-versed in ethical and privacy concerns with this tech.
This new reality is transforming the medical industry and creating exciting new opportunities for innovation and progress in healthcare. But there’s more to consider beyond these exciting possibilities.
The Rise of AI in Medical Devices
AI is transforming the medical device industry in numerous ways, from monitoring and diagnostic tools to surgical robots and prosthetics.
AI in healthcare is increasingly being used with respect to medical devices and other types of technologies and therapeutics, with life-enhancing (and even lifesaving) capabilities like monitoring diabetes, in radiology for identifying different kinds of pathologies and chest x-rays, and even mental health diagnoses like depression and anxiety.
By using AI, medical devices can make more accurate diagnoses, identify potential health risks, and even predict when patients might need medical attention. However, developing and implementing AI in medical devices is not without its challenges.
For Medical Device Professionals, Technical Expertise Is No Longer Enough
In the past, medical device recruiters primarily sought candidates with deep technical expertise in medical devices. These candidates had the skills and knowledge needed to design, develop and manufacture the latest medical devices, from pacemakers and prosthetics to surgical instruments and diagnostic tools.
But with the rise of AI in the medical device industry, technical expertise alone is no longer enough. Recruiters must now look for candidates who possess a broader range of skills and expertise that complement the role AI and related technologies play in the industry—things like a deep understanding of the algorithms, software and data analysis that underlie AI development and implementation.
The Need for AI-Specific Skills with Medical Devices
Outside of technical skills, such as programming, set-up, maintenance and repair, working with AI in medical devices requires a specific skill set and knowledge that was once not required of these professionals. And with the Global Artificial Intelligence (AI) Market is expected to grow by $125.3 billion between 2022–2027, it’s more important than ever for medical device professionals to be highly adaptable and consistently seeking the newest research and updates on AI technology.
Specifically, recruiters must be on the lookout for professionals with AI-specific skills like:
Understanding of AI Principles, Data Analysis and Management
Medical device professionals are now required to have a comprehensive understanding of the principles and concepts that underpin AI, such as machine learning, deep learning and neural networks—as well as how to manage and interpret all the data it collects.
And with AI so reliant on large volumes of data to function effectively, medical device professionals must have the ability to analyze and manage it all with skills in data mining, cleaning and visualization.
Algorithm Development and Software Engineering
Developing effective AI algorithms is a complex process that requires specialist knowledge and skills including the ability to test and optimize algorithms for specific medical device applications.
Additionally, professionals in this field must possess skills in software engineering to accurately develop and deploy AI-powered medical devices. Programming languages such as Python, Java and Kotlin, as well as knowledge of software development methodologies such as Agile and DevOps should be second nature to these experts.
Lastly, as a segue into our next major topic, medical device professionals will need to understand the regulatory requirements for AI-powered medical devices, including FDA regulations and guidelines. This will enable them to ensure that their devices meet the necessary standards for safety, efficacy and quality—as well as ethical and privacy concerns.
Holding Medical Device Professionals Accountable to Keep AI Ethical and Privacy Concerns in Check
With books, movies and media galore following the “robots taking over the world” theme, ethical and privacy concerns are at the top of the list for medical device recruiters seeking qualified candidates.
So, when potential customers or patients ask questions like…
“What happens if AI shares, deletes or mixes up my private medical information?”
“Is this AI device programmed to consider what’s in my best interest as a [insert personal identifier here]?”
“Can my AI medical device make a potentially harmful or even lethal mistake?”
… it’s critical that medical device professionals have a deep understanding of these scenarios in questions and are qualified to confidently address them—particularly when it comes to biases and data privacy.
Addressing Potential Biases With Medical Device AI
AI algorithms may contain biases that could lead to unequal treatment of patients based on sex, race, gender, or disabilities. In fact, a study done in 2022 found that an AI tool trained on medical images, like x-rays and CT scans, had unexpectedly learned to discern patients’ self-reported race. It learned to do this even when it was trained only with the goal of helping clinicians diagnose patient images.
This technology’s ability to tell a patient’s race—even when their doctor cannot—could be abused in the future, or unintentionally direct worse care to communities of color without detection or intervention. For example, if an algorithm is trained on data that is predominantly from one racial group, it may not perform well on patients from other racial groups, leading to misdiagnosis or mistreatment.
These possible biases must be on top of any medical device professional’s radar, a completely new addition to the job description in a stronger AI world.
Dedication to Protecting Patient and Facility Privacy
While other emerging technologies may be just as exposed to privacy and security issues in healthcare, AI is vulnerable in a different way.
In an interview with Health IT Security, Linda Malek, partner at Moses & Singer and chair of the firm’s Healthcare and Privacy & Cybersecurity practice groups, reassures that AI technology isn’t necessarily any more vulnerable to manipulation by bad actors than any other technology. However, any network-connected technologies used in conjunction with patient care or data analysis should be carefully guarded.
While the true legality of privacy concerns doesn’t fall under the domain of medical device professionals, it is critical for them to be well-versed in privacy and security updates with AI in medical devices—and is assuredly a top priority of recruiters when searching for hirable candidates in this field.
Adapting to the Changing Landscape: Finding the Best Talent for the Future of Medical Device Development
In the rapidly evolving healthcare space, medical device recruiters and professionals alike must do what they can to keep up.
While medical device recruiters must be seeking out candidates who possess the specific skills and knowledge needed to work with AI in medical devices, while candidates themselves must remain agile and stay regularly up to date with the latest findings on AI research, capabilities and potential concerns.
Whether you’re a medical device recruiter seeking leading talent, or a medical device professional ready to break into a new career, Healthcare Recruiters International can help you find your perfect match. Contact us today to get started.