Why Medtech Must Adapt To a Changing World

The ability to bring innovative and breakthrough products to the global market is the biggest challenge facing medical technology (‘medtech’) companies today.

A survey conducted by Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions indicates that to future-proof their organisation, these firms must invest in technology to enable virtual care and remote monitoring. 1

The survey found that 88% of respondents rated advances in technology as the top challenge facing the sector. This was followed by policy and regulatory activity, while changes in consumer attitude, behaviours and spending were also seen as barriers.

Just over half of the executives surveyed rated transformation of functions using digital and information technologies, cyber readiness, and economic issues as their highest priority and looking ahead, this rose to 69% over the next five years. This trend is a strong signal of the need to balance digital transformation opportunities with risk preparedness.

Advances in technology is another key factor – given that medtech companies are in the business of supplying technology-as-a-product. This should be coupled to opportunities to transform other, more traditional aspects of their business through digital investment.

The report also indicates that cyber and business model disruptions are top concerns, and that the scope for collaboration and partnerships to address consumer demands is likely to increase. One approach that should be considered is partnering with consumer technology companies. This could assist in the development of additional wellness offerings such as devices for tracking biometric information.

When respondents were asked to rank their current strategic priorities, they chose to go digital. Just over 50% of companies indicated this will be their top priority over the next five years. Respondents also expect R&D, global markets, and policy and regulatory issues to be more important priorities in the next five years.

When asked how medtech companies expected future health developments to impact their business the answer was clear: The key to future growth lies in understanding consumer needs, harnessing data, keeping people well, and taking advantages of insights and innovation coming from recent technologies. Companies can win in the new health economy if they offer high value products and services – not only those that have the latest technology and clinical impact, but also those that can improve total cost of care.

In general, medtech companies believe that transforming functions using digital technology is the way forward. It will result in reduced cost, offer insights into execution of business strategy, and increase demand for products.

Effective planning strategies for proactive positioning

Companies should consider building platforms to make sense of all available data. This should include forging partnerships with hospitals to collect data to build non-pharmacological interventions.

Consider what role they would like to play in future ecosystems. Would they like to be seen as a data and platform provider, as part of a wellbeing and care delivery organisation or a care enabler? This change in strategic focus may require leaders to identify their company’s relative strengths, revisit their business strategy to cater to changing consumer demand, and identify ways to fill the gaps.

Define strategic goals in the context of new entrants, business models, and opportunities to offset competitive threats. Strategies should answer fundamental questions of whether companies want to be product or solution body. They should then figure out where to source these capabilities (partnerships) and what the business model (payment) should look like. One area that is seeing growth is companies forming traditional partnerships but focused on hardware development and partnering with consumer technology companies to work on software/platforms.

COVID-19 fast-tracked the adoption by consumers and physicians of virtual care. Medtech companies might want to invest in remote monitoring solutions to improve remote access to patients, to assist in the transformation of care outside of the hospital and shift the emphasis toward prevention and maintaining wellbeing.

Make digitisation work by unpacking scenarios such as a network of devices, machines, and other items embedded with sensors that enable interconnectivity and exchange of data. This can assist in connecting manufacturers with suppliers. Logistics and distribution also benefit by avoiding cost of physical product damages, deterioration during distribution, and combats widespread counterfeiting.

With increased digitisation, companies should be prepared to handle and mitigate cyber risks. The growth of connected medical devices renders medical devices susceptible to cybersecurity attacks. In addition, companies should stay prepared for change in any laws and regulations that could lead to potential business losses.

The need for clearly defined efficient processes is critical in today’s highly competitive medical device industry. Organisations must be responsive to customer needs in order to outwit competitors.

To understand how Clarity Medtech can support your business to adapt, contact info@claritymedtech.com