The healthcare industry is witnessing a radical shift in its operational mode due to technological advancements and evolution of various partnerships and relationship models. The growth of the medical device market is fueled by the aging population along with rising disposable income, which is compelling people to opt for better healthcare standards. Additionally, technological advancements are forcing players in the medical device market to emphasize on innovation. Today, hospitals are filled with medical devices that are used to perform minimally invasive surgeries, as they have a better outcome and faster healing rate than traditional measures. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare, Medtronic, Baxter, and Siemens are dominating this market and are making billions of dollars in revenue for themselves by harboring constant innovations. So, what does the year 2018 hold for the medical device market?
Unique Device Identification (UDI)
The FDA has given a deadline that requires all medical device manufacturers to identify medical devices through their distribution and use adequately. In a bid to meet the FDA guidelines, manufacturers have placed a label to include unique device identifier in both human and machine-readable form. The identifier can provide detailed information on the medical device, including batch number, serial number, expiration date, manufacturing date, product version, and a distinct identification code for a human cell, tissue, or cellular and tissue-based product. Also, barcode, ERP, EDI, EHR, and RFID technologies are increasingly used to facilitate UDI.
In previous years, 3D printing capabilities weren’t that advanced to be used widely in the medical device market. This year, the scenario looks entirely different, as wider applications of 3D printing and advancements in technology has transformed the ways medical devices are manufactured. Today, we have a 3D printer that can print implants and prostheses as per the need of the individuals. It also allows for samples to be printed much faster to hasten the process of regulatory approvals.
In 2016, the FDA released the Digital Health Innovation Plan to make headway in the pursuit of digital health. The FDA plans to streamline regulation for mobile technologies with an aim to empower consumers, connect healthcare providers, and address public health crises. Technology giants like Apple and Google have been quick to put their foot on this revolution. Apple is still trying to overtake the fragmented medical applications market with platforms such as ResearchKit and CareKit. The most notable innovation comes in the form of an app to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Similarly, Google is also aiming to transform the healthcare sector with DeepMind AI solutions.
Focus on security issues
The FDA’s push to pursue the world of digitally-connected medical devices will benefit physicians, medical personnel, and caretakers by providing unparalleled access to a patient and provide better care. Although such steps help the patients and healthcare providers significantly, it poses new security issues in the medical device market. Not only patient-related data but each and every activity of theirs can be monitored from wearable devices. As a result, medical device manufacturers are looking at their security infrastructure and tackling such issues as more and more data is being moved to the cloud.
Shift towards value-based reimbursement model
Historically, players in the medical device market weren’t worried about the effects of health insurance reimbursement paradigms. However, recently, that focus is rapidly shifting, as more and more OEM’s are redesigning their product lines to achieve better medical outcomes. The value-based reimbursement model is looking more likely to replace the fee-for-service model completely. This implies that the doctors will receive their payments based on the outcome of the treatment for patients. But how will it affect the product design of medical devices? The manufacturers have learned that by designing new devices that offer superior therapeutic results, they can influence the hospitals to make purchases to increase their value-based payments.
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