The challenges of connected Healthcare

Imagine medical devices so intelligent they can run themselves. For example, a flying defibrillator embedded in a drone which saves lives by reaching cardiac patients within minutes of their rhythm monitoring device registering something is wrong – before an actual cardiac event.

In the past, the devices had to be manually adjusted by clinicians to respond to patients’ needs. Currently, communication which functions in two directions already enables remote changes of device settings. Soon devices even smarter which adjust to physiological changes themselves are expected to be commercially available.

The rise of smart technology

The prediction is that devices will become so unobtrusive - or ‘forgettable’- that the patient will forget they have them. An example is a bionic pancreas which continuously measures blood sugar levels in diabetes patients and automatically makes adjustments to insulin delivery.

The rapid evolution of devices also means they are becoming ‘just part of the value they bring,’ according to Matic Meglic from Medtronic. Supported by the internet and a range of solutions to enhance the devices, this is transforming the market. Companies will no longer be just selling devices but services and solutions as complete packages.

The challenges facing the medical device industry

A surgeon might be the key decision maker in a traditional device sales model. In contrast, connected devices and services and innovative business models bring value to a broader range of stakeholders. The medical technology industry needs to improve communication of value to all stakeholders and support clients in procurement of complex services as compared to purchasing of individual devices. 

Competition: the market is about to undergo a significant change. Consumer device players are aggressively entering the market with smart connected devices for lifestyle and risk factor management. Data management and new knowledge creation becomes increasingly important with global consumer IT companies developing healthcare offerings specific to healthcare. 

Patients: certain users are growing impatient for a service or technology to become commercially available once the technology is there. There have been examples recently of patients hacking smartphones connected to a closed diabetes system. They have written their own apps to solve usability issues that have not yet received regulatory approval. 

Regulation: as outlined above, consumer activity is going beyond what is regulated. Regulation is not keeping up with the speed at which technology is advancing. 

Outcomes: the industry is facing challenges over developing business models which rely on actual value created over time versus an upfront payment for device. This is down to a relative lack of methodologies for outcomes measurement. 

Content from Gensearch Whitepaper “Life Science Talks”

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