Earlier this year, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that companies active in life sciences attracted $2.1 billion of venture capital (VC) in the second quarter of 2011. Of that total, $841 million was invested in medical device applications, which was 26% more than where it was in the first quarter. After that report was released, there has been a growing amount of evidence that VC funding is trending downward for medtech companies.

Just recently, a survey released by the National Venture Capitalists Association’s Medical Innovation & Competitiveness Coalition surveyed 156 venture capital firms, and reported that 39% of respondents reported decreased medtech funding over the past three years.
The...
October 10th, 2011
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Had to share this cool video! Check out the Da Vinci Robot peeling a grape at Southmead Hospital. The da Vinci is manufacturered by Intuitive Surgical Inc. I think I'll have to buy one for my next fruit salad.

—Heather Thompson

October 7th, 2011
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This Week in Devices

Here's what's new this week: United States health officials are launching a program designed to speed up Medicare payment decisions for new medical devices; Steve Jobs' passing has left many to reflect on how profound Apple's influence has been on culture and technology—including medical technology; a piece from Inc. blames FDA for decreased VC funding in the medtech sector. 

October 7th, 2011
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The Henry Ford Health System Innovation Institute is a new think tank for creating medical products opening in Detroit. It stands as part of a biomedical and biotechnology research corridor in the city's Midtown and New Center areas. The institute is in a renovated 1924 building on the Henry Ford campus.

Researchers at Henry Ford and Wayne State University will bring together engineering, design, and medical students from several schools, including Lawrence Technological University in Southfield and the University of Windsor. For example, Detroit's College for Creative Studies brought 15 design students to two Henry Ford hospitals to look for new ideas.

 The Innovation Institute will receive $12 million in funding over the next 2 years, reports the Detroit Free Press.

Already, more than a dozen potential medical developments are on the drawing board. Those include a bra...

October 7th, 2011
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At a keynote presentation during Medevice Forum in San Diego, Vipul Sheth,  vice president of quality for the coronary/peripheral business unit at Medtronic, opened his session on post-market surveillance and risk management with a definition or risk pulled from Wikipedia:

Risk is the potential that a chosen action or activity (including the choice of inaction) will lead to a loss (an undesirable outcome). The notion implies that a choice having an influence on the outcome exists (or existed). Potential losses themselves may also be called "risks". Almost any human endeavour carries some risk, but some are much more risky than others.

Sheth went on to recite some quotations from famed authors and celebrities on risk such as Mohammad Ali’s assertion that “He who is not courageous enough...
October 6th, 2011
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The 60601-1 Issues Team today released a DRAFT document (pdf) on EN 60601. 

I asked Leo Eisner, of Eisner Safety Consultants to explain exactly why medical device firms should care about this, thinking I'd get a few sentences. But Mr. Eisner had a ton to say, and clearly emphasized how important this issue is to industry, and the degree of influence the 3rd edition could have on device manufacturing.

This will help push manufacturers to really get a clue. After almost 6 years of the standard being published the EU isn't delaying anymore. Manufactures already got their one chance for a 3-year delay by the EU & Health Canada." —...

October 6th, 2011
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“Telehealth adds a new paradigm in healthcare, where the patient is monitored between physician office visits. This has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalizations and visits to the Emergency Room, while improving patient's quality of life,” explains the Wikipedia entry on telehealth.
 
The thing is though, not everyone in field agrees that telehealth delivers on its promises.
 
An article on telehealth, for instance, published in Technology Review outlines the views of Harlan M. Krumholz, a Yale cardiologist who is openly skeptical about the technology's prospects.
 
Krumholz takes on the notion that telehealth could represent a way to help cut healthcare costs or otherwise transform care. He partnered with another cardiologist, Sarwat I. Chaudhry, to oversee a...

October 6th, 2011
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By Josh Simon

Periodically, I like to muse on the business of hydrophilic and lubricious coatings. A few such articles appear on my Hydrophilic Coatings Blog. Recently I have been looking at the regulatory and economic landscape and wondering what the impact on hydrophilic coatings will be.

I must admit, I am surprised at how well the medical field has weathered the challenges it has faced since 2008. I have attended at least six or seven Medical Design and Manufacturing trade shows and always the shows have been vibrant. Without disclosing numbers, I can even admit that Biocoat's hydrophilic coating business has been profitable and growing at double-digit percentages.

How long can this hold out? Coating companies are dependent on their...

October 6th, 2011
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MD+DI ExclusivesNew content posted to the MD+DI website includes a run-down of the topics that will be discussed at the MD&M Minneapolis conference sessions, a profile of cooled thermotherapy (CTT) specialist Urologix, and an analysis of how federal cuts will affect the home healthcare device market. Another article, which was written by leak-testing expert Joe Pustka, asks why high-profile names in the medical device industry are considering offshoring, when many firms from other sectors are using automation technology to bring production back to the United States.

  • MD&M Minneapolis Conference Session to Focus on Power Design
  • Pushing Pills Out of the Picture
  • Federal Cuts Could Impact Home Healthcare Device Market
  • Is Offshoring a Mistake? Taking a More Granular View of Wage Rates and Costs of...
October 4th, 2011
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L.A. Times tech reporter David Sarno #dsarno is tweeting live from Cupertino on the iPhone 5 (psych: iPhone 4S) release. One of his tweets caught my eye this morning: 

Tim Cook gets a laugh for saying airplane pilot use of iPads makes airplanes more efficient. 80% of hospitals testing iPads too."

Well one part was a joke, but what about that 80%. I did a little more digging (read: Googling) and couldn't find much on the results of that study.  I hope they will make them available soon, and I'll keep checking. 

In the meantime, I did find an app that has been created (or redesigned) for iPhone 5 and hospital use—and its en-point with recent security issues.

In September, at eweek, Voalté's Connect app for the iPhone features AirWatch's mobile device management platform, which includes a single...

October 4th, 2011
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