Abhishek Kumar, Manager – Custom Research (Market and Competitive Intelligence) at Infiniti Research has over 7+ years of cumulative experience. He is a thought leader in strategy consulting, market intelligence, and competitive insights. He has extensively worked with Infiniti’s clients in the healthcare and medical devices domain, specifically on topics relating to market entry, market potential, and emerging opportunities assessment.
The medical device industry is characterized by its heterogeneous, innovative, and dynamic nature. As digital technologies are majorly transforming the healthcare sector, a revolution is underway to disrupt the future of the medical device industry. However, introducing a new medical device technology in the market can be highly complex, requiring a clear understanding of premarket preparation and approval to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Furthermore, with the advent of various micro and macro medical device industry trends including enhanced buying power of payers or providers, complex regulatory scrutiny, and the introduction of new healthcare delivery models, medical device manufacturers are now struggling to develop effective market entry strategies. The key to dealing with the dynamism of the medical device industry and thrive in the future of the medical device industry is to become agile innovators.
What are the market dynamics affecting the medical devices marketplace?
Abhishek: Several market dynamics affect the performance of companies in the medical device industry. Let me list out a few, which according to me, have the biggest impact on companies in the sector. The level of scrutiny in regulations is seen to be increasing with each passing year. This often restricts the full flight of medical device companies. Also, emerging delivery models or business models introduced by competitors make the marketplace even more complex. For companies in the medical device industry, changing patient preferences and the emergence of new markets can undoubtedly create attractive opportunities, but they give birth to new market challenges. The future of companies in the medical device industry will largely depend on their ability to engage in constant innovations.
Although these dynamics often differ from one segment to another, collectively they lay the foundation of every medical device company’s strategy. It’s a no-brainer that every healthcare company needs to be on top of these developments so that they can better participate in this ever-changing market space. However, in my opinion, the biggest challenge is that it is not particularly easy to control or even respond to most of these factors that I have just mentioned. At a macro level, it appears that new product development is the most common response across companies and regions to deal with the market changes. No wonder R&D and new product development are top strategic priorities for most companies. Although innovations have made the medical space interesting, it has also made it extremely crowded. Several technologies are now being touted as the next best thing to hit the market and make it big in the future of the medical device industry, but we will have to wait and see which of them will hit the mark.
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Is it important for medical device manufacturers to track emerging technologies?
Abhishek: Absolutely. I think it is vital for forward-thinking medical device companies to keep a keen watch on the developments in the sector. Tracking new or emerging technologies can aid in decision-making relating to the organic expansion of existing markets, opening up of new markets, and can even help you identify M&A opportunities. Sometimes, promoters of smaller companies are often looking for cash-outs because they lack the setup needed for blockbuster success. On the other hand, sometimes large companies own important innovations but in the areas that are not really important for them. Competitors are often on the hunt to grab such opportunities and the first mover wins. So, it is important to keep track of emerging technologies in the medical devices industry. It is also a fantastic way to identify adjacent categories in the market where you can operate and even supplement the current product lines. Moreover, analyzing emerging technologies can open up a completely new market where you are not present right now.
Many companies in the medical device industry rely heavily on market research reports to study innovative technology in the market. How reliable is it as a source of data and decision-making?
Abhishek: As rightly pointed out, most companies tend to rely on published information, market research reports or internal market intelligence data to gather information on new products or technologies in the medical device industry.
There is nothing wrong in this approach, but mostly, the information attained through these sources can prove to be insufficient and misleading. Often published resources are voiced out to what the technology owner chooses to publish outside mandatory filing. Here, the information is often scattered in bits and pieces and insufficient to deliver a complete picture. Furthermore, this data often fails to provide a country level data distillation. A common misconception is that market research reports cover all the info relating to most of the tech innovations but if u dig slightly deeper, it appears that quality of data is sometimes questionable. As we are part of the market research industry, we are aware that a lot of these reports are an outcome of market models that aim to cover several things at the same time.
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In that case, what is the best way to study the market for a new technology in the medical device industry?
Abhishek: When starting the study of the market for an innovative technology that has the potential to disrupt the future of the medical device industry, the very first step should be to understand the lifecycle stage of the technology. It could be a very new technology that has been just been commercialized or a more mature but recent technology which off late has started seeing some tailwinds. This categorization is important to plan the analysis, methodology, and information sources. It also helps understand the different variables that need to be studied, the kind of questions that need to be answered, and several more other areas. In the case of a new product that has only been partially commercialized, real data that has been reported in public or private domains must be collected. This data can be in the form of patient/disease data from public registries, data from physicians’ practices, or even microdata published by global health ministries. Inputs from MedTech companies can also be collected to get supply-side information.
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