Next-generation “smart” MedTech devices

Preparing for an increasingly intelligent future

Smart, connected medical devices are now technologically and economically feasible. How might this increasingly intelligent future reshape the MedTech industry?

Preparing for an increasingly intelligent future

Exponential technological progress is advancing scientific knowledge, reducing costs, and presenting the health care and life sciences marketplace with innovative medical devices and procedures that diagnose, monitor, and treat patient conditions. Five important building blocks of exponential technological progress are:

  • Increased computing power
  • Large data storage capacity
  • Hardware miniaturization
  • Network connectivity
  • Advance software capability

Many industry players – both traditional medical technology (MedTech) organizations and new market entrants – are capitalizing on recent and emerging technological advancements and providing novel health care solutions using mobile health (mHealth) applications, sensor technology, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Venture capital investments, which fuel development of innovative MedTech products, have grown steadily over the last decade, especially in the areas of bioinformatics and biosensors.

Four shifts will likely shape the new health care landscape and drive opportunities for “smart” MedTech:

  • Shift from acute to preventive care, specialists to self-care, and hospital to home care. More services will likely take place in non-traditional health care settings. Consumers with remote access to data through smart devices can manage their own care conditions.
  • Shift from monitoring single biometric indicators to multiple indicators, processed through artificial intelligence. This can provide true health insights.
  • Shift from intuitive approaches based on empirical evidence for typical patients to precision-based health care rooted in the individual patient’s characteristics. This can allow physicians to harness information from intelligent algorithms to inform treatment decisions.
  • Shift from specialized silos of medical knowledge to more centralized and accessible knowledge centers. This can allow clinicians to provide sophisticated care without necessarily having specialized training.

Innovative smart MedTech device companies are anticipated to contribute to and capitalize on these market shifts. Traditional players, meanwhile, may lose revenue and market share if they do not develop consumer-centric products and end-to-end solutions with an eye to these shifts. MedTech companies should consider continuously monitoring and evaluating their competitors’ activities, especially those which are driving technological innovation. They should consider leveraging large data pools in place of small data puddles to capture true insights Finally, MedTech companies should consider identifying partners, alliances, and other collaborative opportunities to acquire the capabilities and expertise they may need to develop next-generation MedTech devices and thrive in this new environment.

As computing power continues to follow the path of Moore's Law, a personal computer of 2050 might have more processing capability than all of the human minds in the world combined.8

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