What will be the big medical device stories in 2016?
We can’t make any guarantees, but we can make an educated guess. Some of the groundwork has already been laid. So let’s see what might be in store for the New Year.
Personalized medicine develops individualized care based upon genetics, biomarkers, clinical history, environment, and even personal preferences. While the specter of cost cutting might threaten this trend, the hope is that personalization outcomes improve and cost goes down. We’ve already seen this occur somewhat with diseases such as melanoma, breast cancer, and heart disease.
Three dimensional printing is a big part of this movement and some manufacturers already successfully implement this technology. With 3D printers, customized prosthetics, for instance, can improve surgical outcomes and speed up recovery time. This results in an overall resource savings.
Personalized medicine is poised to make an even greater impact in 2016 especially in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostics. One of the keys will be how technologies, such as 3D printing, are defined and regulated.
Transparency In Medical Device Industry
In the medical technology and pharmaceutical world, there is increasing pressure for companies to release unpublished research data. Some estimate that half of all US clinical trials go unpublished. Critics of this practice maintain that this increases costs (duplicate studies) and increases risk (under-informed clinical decision making).
With movements such as AllTrials gaining momentum, the push for transparency is likely to be significant for 2016 and beyond. For medical device makers, contingency plans for publishing all trials, even null or inconclusive, may help prevent regulatory headaches in the future.
Emphasis On Usability
While 2015 saw advances in usability, 2016 promises to see even greater strides. Home health care continues to expand quickly, and device makers are answering the call. The successful products will be the ones that even a lay caregiver can understand. Intuitive design will be the key and may be the deciding factor among devices of similar purpose and cost.
Usability for the healthcare entity will also make a difference. For instance, if your product’s packaging makes storage a nuisance, then buyers might look elsewhere. Ultimately, the devices that provide the best overall user experience – from initial contact to purchasing/distribution to implementation and service – will find themselves doing well by the end of 2016.
Beyond Pinching Pennies
Without a doubt, the trend of cost cutting will continue and even magnify. There is much at stake in the year to come. The best prepared medical device manufactures, however, will find success in every circumstance.
Some differentiating factors will be:
- Data based market acceptance evaluation (surveys, etc.)
- Highest value for cost
- Clear usability advantages
- Assembly time and cost efficiency
- Packaging, logistics, supply chain, etc.
- Well-developed reimbursement strategy
- Clear cyber risk plan
- Regulatory and transparency understanding
- Well trained representative, technical, and service personnel