A Medtronic executive turned a few heads recently when he told MassDevice.com that when it comes to rivals, the medical technology company sees Google as its biggest challenger in the coming years.

That's right. Not Johnson & Johnson. Not Boston Scientific. And no, not Apple either, but the search giant Google.

While surprising, the statement is not completely coming out of left field. Experts have been talking about how Silicon Valley is poised to disrupt healthcare and medtech. There are plenty of examples of nontraditional firms innovating in healthcare these days.

Google itself is developing a...

July 8th, 2014
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If there's one takeaway from the infographic below, it's that people are deeply interested in knowing about their bodies and eager to take action to improve health and wellness.

Drawing from several sources, Career Glider, which has created the infographic, highlights the fact that consumer will sport almost 112 million wearables by 2018 compared to the 19 million forecast as wearables sales for this year. And a whopping 70% of those will be to track fitness. Millennials and Gen X-ers are most likely to be users of wearable tech as the infographic shows below.

While the consumer wearables market is exploding, it's doubtful whether sales of wearables...

July 8th, 2014
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3-D printing can create medical devices that can save and improve lives, but regulators are holding up progress. 

By Justin Coutu

Ever since Garrett Peterson was born, his parents have had to watch him suddenly stop breathing. Garrett was born with a trachea so weak that the littlest things make it collapse, cutting off his ability to breathe. So the Petersons contacted Dr. Glenn Green at the University of Michigan, who specializes in conditions like Garrett's. Dr. Green teamed up with Scott Hollister, a biomedical engineer who runs the university's 3-D printing lab, to create a remarkable solution to Garrett's problem—a device that will hold open Garrett's windpipe until it's strong enough to work on its own.

First, they took a CT scan of Garrett's windpipe, so they could make a...

July 3rd, 2014
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                          Omar Ishrak

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak is certainly a man with a vision for the mighty medtech multinational he helms—and he’s systematically making it a reality. 

The company’s announced acquisition of Covidien for a staggering $42.9 billion promptly elicited grumbling about layoffs, offshoring, and the potential impact on the American economy in addition to sparking a fierce debate about the practice of tax inversion. But the focus on tax savings and increased cash flow has eclipsed the fact that Medtronic’s acquisition of Covidien neatly checks all of...

July 1st, 2014
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Assessing potential opportunities and threats—as well as strengths and weaknesses—can help medical packaging engineers make more strategic decisions. 

By Abhishek Gautam

It is a common decision-making approach to accept or reject a specific material, design, or technology based upon its advantages (or strengths) and/or disadvantages (weaknesses) in package engineering. But such decisions may often be made without considering opportunities that could establish competitive advantage or threats that could present business risks. As such, the use of SWOT analysis in packaging engineering could allow for more informed decision making around materials, technologies, and services.

SWOT, a routinely used method of analysis in the business world, can be oversimplified and stated as the following:

Strengths: What is it good for? (traditional advantages...

June 30th, 2014
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Applying the eight disciplines of problem solving to medical packaging can help companies address defective lots and prevent recalls.

By Paolo Scalisi

Frequently employed in the automotive industry, among others, the eight disciplines problem solving (8D) methodology is a quality practice aimed at product and process improvement that can help medical device manufacturers effectively address complex packaging issues. The goal of the eight-step process is to develop proper actions in order to eliminate root causes of failure in the production process. Moreover, the primary objective of this quality tool is to implement permanent corrective actions to avoid recurrence of the failure. 

The Basics of 8D
The 8 disciplines in the process are...

June 26th, 2014
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Google previews Google Fit and Google I/O.
 
As expected Google gave a preview of its digital health and fitness platform today at the Google I/O developer's conference. Also, as expected, it's exactly like Apple's HealthKit.
 
“We want to help users keep track of their fitness goals,” Ellie Powers, product manager for Google Play, said. “So...
June 25th, 2014
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Aside from reviews on Amazon, it's not often you hear from the user side of wearable tech. Humorist and author David Sedaris, writing for The New Yorker shared his experience "living the Fitbit life" in a series of anecdotes that share some surprising insights into consumer engagement in wearable tech.

It's a look at how wearable tech can influence both health and social habits as Sedaris details his regular journeys collecting garbage around his neighborhood – buoyed in part by his desire to reach Fitbit's step goals. It's also an interesting look into consumer/patient compliance. Studies have shown that wearables have a long-term compliance issue, with many users dropping their device after six months. Sedaris even talks about a few friends who abandoned their...

June 24th, 2014
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After nearly five years in the planning, the FDA released the initial draft on character-restricted social media platform messaging (essentially Twitter).

As usual, it’s a big hot mess for marketing communications, regulatory and legal affairs professionals within medical device and pharmaceutical companies.

The draft of the proposed FDA Internet/Social Media Platform Policy for Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices would require that pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers be able to both ‘make a product benefit claim’ and ‘incorporate risk information’ in the 140 character space limitation on Twitter.

Just how does a company wordsmith a...

June 23rd, 2014
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The global market for interventional cardiology devices, including stents, valves and balloons is expected to reach $26.06 billion by 2020, according to latest reports. The continued rise in the interventional cardiology device segment can be attributed to aging populations and the increasing prevalence of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, particularly in highly developed nations.

Bringing interventional cardiology devices to market is no easy task and is only increasing in complexity. Designing and executing successful clinical trials for such devices that will result in regulatory approval, reimbursement and clinical adoption is challenging and requires a detailed, long-term clinical strategy. Here are three key elements to consider when companies are developing and commercializing implantable, interventional cardiology devices.

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June 20th, 2014
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