FountainBlue’s September 19 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Emerging Trends in Medical Devices: Mobile Health, Personalized Medicine and Consumerization. Below are notes from the conversation.
Our panelists concurred that it’s an exciting time to innovate in the medical device space, because of the advancements in technology, rising consumerization and expansion into global markets, and the growing receptiveness of an industry which has historically been slow-moving.
Technology Advancements Enabling Innovation
They remarked on some trends in the medical device space and their implications for the industry. The overarching themes is the advancement of technology and the transference of technology solutions from traditionally other sectors and impacting the medical device industry.
1. There was much discussion around the miniaturization trend, where products which were the size refrigerators are reduced to the size of a microwave, products the size of a microwave reduced to the size of a hand-held, and products formerly the size of a hand-held are getting really small, even nano size. The implication is that products will be manufactured, tested and delivered more efficiently and more cost-effectively.
2. Sensor technologies are being applied to implantables, therapeutic, diagnostic, and other devices.
3. Database solutions are enabling business analytics solutions which address challenges ranging from IT in healthcare to patient diagnostics to personalized medicine.
4. Cloud storage is an enabling technology for business analytics and other database solutions, making it more cost-effective to manage huge volumes of moving data, and empowering fact-based decision-making which impact patients, providers, care-givers, insurers, etc.
5. Advancements in wireless and mobile devices and software are enabling novel diagnostic, monitoring, enabling and other solutions for patients and their caregivers.
6. Technology advancements in biochemical discovery and genetic markers are enabling additional opportunities for medical devices around diagnostics, monitoring, and other areas.
Consumerization and Expansion in Global Markets
Baby boomers in the US will increasingly demand more consumer solutions to better monitor, enable, and support their personal health and well-being, especially given the rising cost of healthcare, the increased needs of an aging population, and the growing range of options available. This techno-philic demographic group will also be receptive to technology-enabled solutions which would deliver the information they seek in a timely manner.
Emerging countries such as Asia, India and Brazil will have an ever-growing, more financially independent middle class with a similar desire to take more control and responsibility for their own health.
Growing Receptiveness and Collaboration Based on Technology Advancements and Market Trends
With technology advancements and rising global demand, our panelists are hopeful that the industry will see more collaboration and cross-pollination between pharma, medical device and medical imaging companies, leveraging software and technology plus more opportunities for getting solutions developed, tested and into the hands of eager users.
With these overarching trends, our panelists had words of wisdom and caution for those innovating in this space:
• Minimize technology development and regulatory and market adoption risks by being strategic and proactive, so think carefully through your regulatory needs and work early and well with the right regulatory bodies and people to help ensure the approval of your product and think strategically about your customer and your markets.
• Whatever your solution, deliver higher-level care at lower cost.
• Sometimes miniaturization may compromise quality. Sometimes that’s OK, sometimes that’s not, depending on the needs of the customer.
• Innovation is coming from small companies, and small companies with partnerships with larger corporations may get the market, funding, research and other support they need to continue innovating.
• When consider FDA approval, note that the FDA standards require both safety and efficacy, whereas just safety is required in other regulatory bodies. Remember that the FDA approval team itself encourages your communication and wants to get your products approved, but may be locked into a process which makes it difficult.
• We will come to a crossroads and have to decide do we pay more or get less? We can’t have both or it will squeeze innovation.
Specific opportunities around medical devices include:
• Leveraging medical devices as a diagnostic, tracking or monitoring or communicating tool, whether it’s related to mobile solutions or web or other platforms (e.g. beimmunized.com)
• Monitoring devices that look and act like medical devices but don’t call themselves that and avoid FDA approval needs;
• Gamafication leveraging mobile phones and tablets to monitor, manage, communicate, train, connect, etc.
• Health self-management tools and resources leveraging databases and clouds and even social media;
• Outsourcing of innovation for specific problems
The bottom line that there is a wealth of opportunities ahead and the industry itself is rapidly evolving and growing, and it will look much different in many ways, in the next quarter, in the next year, in the next three-five years.
We would like to thank and acknowledge our speakers for FountainBlue’s September 19 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum on the topic of Emerging Trends in Medical Devices: Mobile Health, Personalized Medicine and Consumerization:
Facilitator Gil Peterson, VP of Sales, Triple Ring Technologies
Panelist Geetha Rao, PhD, Springborne Life Sciences, CEO and Founder, MyMedFax; Vice President of Strategy and Risk Management, Triple Ring Technologies
Panelist Frank Ingle, CEO and CTO, Instruments for Science and Medicine
Presenting Entrepreneur Bronislava Belenkaya, President and Founder, 3S Corporation
Presenting Entrepreneur Jay Miller, former President and CEO, Zonare Medical Systems & Vital Images, Inc.