Skip to the content

The threat from cyber attacks will increase and the robots are coming. The digital transformation in the Medical Device and MedTech industry is unrelenting and will continue to go from strength to strength in 2018. That is why most Medical Device and MedTech companies spend time and resources on preparation for the digital future. Or at least, they should be.

2017 proved to be a landmark for global medical device companies.

  • The current market value is at an estimated $389 billion.
  • The total value of MedTech mergers and acquisitions rose by a massive 178% in the first six months of 2017 and the total value of MedTech venture financing deals rose by 56% during that same period.
  • The approval rate for innovative medical devices increased in the first eight months of 2017

And with the estimation that the entire MedTech market alone will reach $529,8 billion by 2022, there is little doubt that the coming years will set new landmarks for the industry.

One of the drivers behind the growth is the increased use of technology. Digital transformation will continue to shape the future of the industry, even more so in the coming year.

Now that we have entered 2018, there are quite a few important digital trends to know. But what are the most important? I think these 5 trends is the most significant for companies to focus on: 

 

  1. Cybersecurity

Handling potential security breaches and preparing for virtual attacks should be the number 1 concern for both big and smaller Medical Device and MedTech companies. Use of connected medical devices is increasing across the industry and will become an industry standard within the next few years. While there are many benefits associated with connecting medical devices to the Internet, a growing number of cyber safety risks poses a threat to patient safety, product quality, and data integrity.

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities in medical devices can be exploited to gain unauthorized access to data on – or transmitted by – devices, networks, and upstream and downstream IT systems. With this access, threat actors can steal patient information, manipulate data, exploit providers, hold information for ransom, alter patient treatment plans, and/or manipulate connected devices to harm the patients that use them.

Medical device manufacturers must consider address cybersecurity issues, both for devices still in the pipeline and legacy devices that are already in the field.

More info: https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/regulatory/articles/life-sciences-regulatory-outlook.html

 

  1. Transforming to be more efficient

2018 will also be that year when the Medical Device and MedTech industry must evaluate current practices and be ready to embrace the digital transformation to improve overall efficiency.

While less than a third of healthcare leaders feel prepared to address this challenge, every healthcare company in the world could transform for efficiency. One of the challenges for this complex sector is that it has not historically been proactive in this realm. A holistic strategy where centers of innovation are communicating effectively would engender a more cohesive execution of transformation.

For inspiration and guidelines, check this link: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/pharmaceuticals-and-medical-products/our-insights/how-medical-device-ceos-can-navigate-digital-disruption-in-healthcare

 

  1. Rise of Big Data and Digital Health

Big Data is the new frontier of information management and a major medical device trend for 2018. It is the infrastructure that captures, stores, analyzes and visualizes vast amounts of unstructured data. Through better analytical systems and the adoption of more intelligent technology, Big Data could be translated into information that will lead healthcare providers and researchers to possibly predicting when and why patients will be rehospitalized, what the expected therapy response will be and an estimated recovery time.

But having access to all of this potentially useful data is not without its limitations. Your pool of "big data" could easily become a "messy data" problem.  

Consider this: In places where there is tons of potentially useful data, how would you make it accessible in ways that patients can and actually want to use it? Either the data isn't easy or intuitive to access or it simply isn't informative. Or in a wrong format. Or incomplete.

If you want to know more about the limitations: http://fortune.com/2017/08/02/big-data-healthcare-limits/

 

  1. AI-based technologies

The adoption of artificial intelligence technology is slow despite the fact of extensive research and successful trials in real, clinical settings. AI-based technology adoption will experience a huge jump in 2018. Experts forecast the healthcare industry will face complex workforce surpluses and shortages leading up to 2030, making the need for AI technology surge.

AI technology can help by managing data, designing effective treatment plans for patients, assisting with repetitive jobs, precision medicine, creating better pharmaceuticals, helping patients make better lifestyle choices, and even analyzing the current healthcare system. This Forrester Report expects these four functional areas to drive the most growth in AI technology:

  • Clinical insights and interventions
  • Supply chain management and operational efficiency
  • Customer service
  • Security and risk

More info on AI in MedTech: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferhicks/2017/05/16/see-how-artificial-intelligence-can-improve-medical-diagnosis-and-healthcare/#6ca2e9626223

And how AI will be used in other industries: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertadams/2017/01/10/10-powerful-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-use-today/2/#3500cad03c8b

 

  1. IoT continues to shape healthcare

It is no surprise that medical devices, considered an aspect of the IoT, is helping to shape the future of healthcare. This is one of the biggest medical device trends and 2018 is going to be an exceptionally important year in this regard. Higher medical device adoption rates aide in a larger shift towards value, aging populations, and a provider workload increase will increase medical device demand and new security technologies will prevent security breaches.

More info: http://www.digitaljournal.com/life/health/how-the-internet-of-things-will-shape-healthcare/article/498183

 

To sum it up:

When we look at the 5 top technology trends for the Medical Device Industry, they are very much aligned with other industries, but of course with an even higher focus on security due to the nature of the industry.

However, it is my experience that for most Medical Device companies, there is still a lot of work to be done before they have an infrastructure that can embrace the digital transformation.

One of the things that is keeping these companies from building the right infrastructure for digital transformation, is the fact that most Medical Device companies still use manual processes in many critical business processes. When managing regulatory documentation such as DHF/DMR, quality etc., there is a wide spread use of physical paper and manual signatures.

Maybe it is about time to consider changing some of these manual processes?

2018 is going to be an exciting year. I am looking forward to see if these 5 trends will have an impact on the industry or not.

 

As always, you can contact me at tsk@minerva-plm.com if you want to know more about the benefits of new technology, digital transformation and industry-specific solutions that is flexible enough to support anything the future may throw at you.

About the author

Thomas Skogen

Thomas is an expert in Supply Chain and Manufacturing Optimization with more than 10 years of experience originating from Medical Device and High-Tech & Electronic Industries. He comes with a background as an Electronics engineer, complimented with a Master in Technology Management. Thomas has held positions in multinational corporations such as Nilfisk, heading the internal optimization program as well as the supply chain organization.

comments powered by Disqus

Request Demo

Ready to see Medical Device PLM in action? Send an email for a Free Demo and get a one-on-one preview on how your Business can benefit!