Internet of Medical Things
Medical technology (medtech) companies manufacture more than 500,000 different types of medical devices, including wearable external medical devices (skin patches, insulin pumps and blood glucose monitors), implanted medical devices (pacemakers, and implantable cardioverter defibrillator devices) and stationary medical devices (home monitoring devices, connected imaging devices and scanning machines).
The Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions recently published a report entitled “Medtech and the Internet of Medical Things” which concentrates on how connected medical devices are transforming health care. The report details how major advances in medical technology are leading to the development of an increasing number of connected medical devices that are able to generate, collect, analyse and transmit data. This data along with the devices themselves, create the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). The report examines how companies can capitalize on this digital transformation by adapting their existing business models, inventing new ones or both.
The provision of health care is becoming increasingly challenging with global health care spending expected to grow from $7.1 trillion in 2015 to $8.47 trillion by 2020 and the percentage of people aged 65 and over expected to double by the year 2040. Health care organisations are continually seeking ways to reduce spending and improve outcomes. Medical technology is helping to achieve this. “These devices and equipment are instrumental in helping health care providers to achieve better patient outcomes, lower health care costs, improve efficiency and enable new ways of engaging and empowering patients.” said Karen Frawley, Lead Life Sciences Partner at Deloitte.
As health care shifts to a value-based model whereby medical providers are rewarded based on health outcomes, medtech companies are having to reinvent themselves in order to remain competitive. It is Deloitte’s view that in order for the medtech industry to grow, some compromise will be needed from both manufacturers and health care providers. “Progress will depend on both the innovators themselves working in new ways to take on risks and rewards, and the evolution of existing payment systems by both public and private payers.” Medtech companies must also develop an understanding of the needs of end-users when designing connected devices. If an organisation’s IT infrastructure cannot handle the connections and data, the devices will be ineffective. Clinicians and patients must be convinced of the safety and effectiveness of connected devices in delivering improved patient outcomes and thereby creating value for key stakeholders. “Medtech companies need to be able to provide robust and reliable evidence to health care organisations on how technological advancements and the data generated by connected devices improves the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of care delivery.”
It is Deloitte’s view that perhaps the biggest challenge facing medtech is that of interoperability. Any company which deals with the collecting and exchanging of data must comply with national and international standards. The cost per capita of a data breach in health care is the highest among 17 industries analysed by Deloitte. Frawley suggests that Medical device manufacturers should adopt a “security by design approach” whereby devices are designed from the ground up to be secure instead of adding security features after they have been delivered. Due to the range of security issues found in connected medical devices there have been a number of regulations and guidelines developed by regulators such as the European Union (EU), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Medical Devices Single Audit Program (MDSAP). One such regulation is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force in all EU member states in May this year. Frawley notes that “In this digital age, maintaining patient trust in the use of connected devises to collect data is a key challenge. Medtech companies need to earn the trust of providers and patients by developing strong privacy and security arrangements.”
Despite these challenges, the global IoMT market is set to grow from $41 billion in 2017 to $158 billion by 2022. The Deloitte report notes that value-based care, real-world evidence and population health management are pivotal to the future of health care. The IoMT industry supports the shift to these new models. The report mentions e-prescriptions, smart beds and telemedicine as just some of the devices that will allow for an interconnected IoMT health ecosystem that is patient-centric, productive and cost effective. Based on these predictions, Frawley notes that there are “clear opportunities for Medtech to transition from a provider of innovative products to an insightful partner in health care”.