Posted: 02 Feb. 2023 5 min. read

Digital medtech, FemTech, GeriTech among topics at J.P. Morgan

By Sheryl Jacobson, US Consulting Medtech leader, Deloitte Consulting, LLP

I recently returned from the 41st annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. I was the keynote speaker at a forum hosted by the Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association, a professional association for Chinese Americans who work in life sciences. Among other things, this organization helps facilitate cross-border discussions and investments between US and Chinese pharmaceutical and biotech companies. I moved to Shanghai, China about 10 years ago and worked at a consulting company that was later acquired by Deloitte. While in Shanghai, I led the life sciences consulting and strategy practice for Asia Pac. I now lead Deloitte’s Medtech Consulting practice.

My presentation covered cross-border partnerships between the US and China, merger-and-acquisition (M&A) trends, and the overall competitive dynamics in technology and investments. I also discussed the impact the pandemic, economic sanctions, the global downturn, and the trade war between the US and China has had, and is having, on the medtech sector. Many international life sciences companies view China having tremendous potential as a market because the middleclass is rapidly expanding and the government has made health care a priority. But US companies interested in doing business there should be prepared to navigate geopolitical uncertainties, trade tensions, cultural barriers, and sometimes rigid regulations.

The overall vibe among medtech companies at this year’s conference was generally optimistic. M&A activity has been in a bit of a lull as investors wait to see if the Federal Reserve will continue to increase interest rates. There is an expectation that M&A activity could start to increase in the second quarter of 2023 and accelerate during the subsequent two quarters as economic pressures stabilize.1 Along with more M&A, some large companies might decide to spin off different parts of their companies and restructure their portfolios.

FemTech and GeriTech appear to be gaining traction

Outside of my session, I had several conversations with medtech executives about the potential for technology-enabled FemTech devices and services that support women’s health, and GeriTech devices that support geriatric care. Here are two examples:

  • FemTech: One medtech company at the conference has a device that helps women strengthen their pelvic floor to help minimize pelvic-muscle injuries during childbirth. Strengthening the pelvic floor can also help to reduce future health issues such as incontinence and bladder problems. The device also generates data that could help OB-GYNs understand some of the health issues related to the pelvic floor.
  • GeriTech: A sensor in the mattress cover of a hospital bed can measure a patient’s sleep quality and sleep patterns. It can also help determine when a bed-ridden patient might be at risk for pressure ulcers. The data generated by such devices could help physicians understand the link between sleep quality and diseases such as cancer. Women who work night shifts, for example, have a 41% higher risk of skin cancer and a 32% higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who don’t work at night, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.2

The digitization of medtech

The digitization of the medtech sector and digital business models were common themes at this year’s J.P. Morgan conference—both in sessions and during coffee-break discussions. There was a lot of optimism that new and expanding types of digital health could help prevent and treat illnesses more effectively. Many medtech companies are integrating increasingly sophisticated sensors into their devices and are generating volumes of health data, according to our research.

I spoke with several medtech executives about some of the leaps in technology taking place in this sector. There is an increasing number of devices that could make it possible for patients to spend less time in the hospital. Smart-knee replacements, for example, could help a care team manage a patient’s care remotely. Data generated by smart-knees and other medical devices could become invaluable for tracking the patient’s progress after a surgery and for preventing complications (see Smart Knee Brings Future of Health One Step Closer: A Conversation with Canary Medical).

The next frontier for medtech over the next year or two will be determining what to do with all of the data being generated by devices. How will data be housed? How will it be shared? Can it be monetized, or can it be used to improve devices? A key provision of the 21st Century Cures Act seeks to improve interoperability of electronic health information (see Preparing for the future of EHRs). Interoperability challenges can limit a device’s potential. Data needs to be interoperable while also protecting patient privacy. I expect this challenge will be at the forefront over the next few years.

As data becomes more important and valuable, medtech companies could become more like technology companies. In some cases, the data generated by devices might have as much value as the intervention they provide. As the new leader of Medtech Consulting for Deloitte, I can’t think of a more exciting time to be working with companies that are developing new technologies and devices that will help all of us live healthier lives.


1 M&A Is expected to pick up in 2023 as companies adapt to tougher conditions, Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2023

2 Linking night shift work to cancer risk, The American Association for Cancer Research, January 1, 2023

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