One of the biggest questions facing the medical device industry, and the country’s medical device manufacturers, is “what will the future hold?”
Indeed, most of these manufacturers realize there are current and future challenges to be aware of; they also recognize that understanding these challenges will help them navigate the changing landscape and adapt accordingly. Those outside of the industry are also curious as to the coming changes and challenges—they want to know what to expect.
This article on medical device trends points out that while regulatory changes are a large part of today’s business climate—and certainly a major factor for most medical device manufacturers—they are only part of the challenge. It’s important to know what trends are taking place, in order to respond.
The article suggests that four major trends to look out for are:
- Increased regulation
- Healthcare provider consolidation
- An aging population
- Emerging markets
So what can we expect due to these trends? One thing that many people believe will happen is a changing business model, one that focuses more and more on cost control of components. While historically, the industry has been about innovation, the focus could move more toward cost control, in many ways emulating the evolution of the auto industry. This isn’t to say that innovation won’t be at the forefront, but cost control could be as equally important.
As the device tax has more time to show its effects, and the changing insurance landscape evolves, we may see more of an emphasis on lowering medical manufacturing costs.
Another trend many expect is the move toward all-electronic medical records. It’s already happening—Apple is currently in talks with various healthcare providers to officially roll out their HealthKit service, with the goal of making “healthcare data available for both consumers and healthcare providers to view in one place.” This could present new, unique challenges for providers and device manufacturers, and new opportunities as well.
One thing is certain—the landscape is indeed changing. How we meet the needs and challenges will be interesting to see.