The Future Challenges and Opportunities for the Medical Device Industry

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.”[1] 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.


The Role of Robotics in the Medical Industry

New technology is being introduced, seemingly on a daily basis these days, and with that will come new ways of developing products and implementing procedures. This is certainly true for the medical industry, especially when it comes to robotics. Robotics, while around for a while, is slowly starting to integrate itself into the medical field, and we believe this is only the beginning.

The robotics field as a whole has impacted the medical industry in many ways. Robotics will allow healthcare providers to get precise and detailed scans of the human body for applications such as diagnostics and surgery. During surgeries, doctors utilize robotic components for support and guidance. The doctor may perform an operation using the arm of a robot to apply perfect cuts and treatment, causing minimal pain and discomfort to the patient. Additionally, robots and computers enable doctors to scan a patient prior to the procedure to create a path where the operation will be performed. Although robots are useful for all surgeons, less-experienced surgeons may benefit from the guided assistance, especially during complex procedures.

Robotics and the medical industry have both been in the news recently, as one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, Stryker Medical, purchased medical device company MAKO Surgical. MAKO has many significant patents for robotic surgery and specific applications for the knee, hip, and other orthopedic procedures. Another company, Intuitive Surgical, manufactures robots for minimally invasive surgeries and the famous da Vinci surgical system, allowing surgeons to perform delicate tasks via small incisions.

The medical industry is quickly experiencing a technological boom due to new advancements in robotics. Doctors and surgeons can use robots to perform surgery in safer and more efficient ways than ever before.