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5 Things You Can Do Now to Future-Proof Your Medtech Business

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Based on insights from a Deloitte research report, these five tips will help you address four types of risk that medtech companies are facing today in order to thrive in the digital era of healthcare.

1. Embrace the future of health.

That's the takeaway message of a research report from Deloitte that shares five implications aimed at helping medtech companies future-proof their business. Much of the report centered around the digital era of healthcare, which comes as no surprise, given the explosion of digital health that COVID-19 has driven forward this year.

"Many in the medtech industry are steering toward digital adoption, technological transformation, changing consumer attitudes, and business model disruptions. To achieve this, companies should consider new capabilities to win in the future of health," the Deloitte analysts reported, based on the findings of a survey of medtech executives.

Close to 90% of respondents rated advances in technology as the top issue. Deloitte's analytsts said this makes sense given that medtech companies are in the business of technology as a product offering, but also may be seeing opportunities to transform aspects of their business with digital investments.

"Being prepared with consumer-centric product portfolios, and an operating and business model that supports this, can be key to companies. Medtech companies should also consider building platforms to make sense of all the available data. Companies should also see the need to forge partnerships with hospitals to collect data on unmet needs to build nonpharmacological interventions. Medtech companies should consider what role they would like to play in the future ecosystem: data and platform provider, well-being, and care delivery organization, care enabler, or elements of all three. This change in strategic focus may require leaders to identify their company’s relative strength, revisit their business strategy to cater to changing consumer demand, and identify ways to fill the gaps."

2. Define strategic goals in the context of new entrants, business models, and opportunities.

"Medtech companies are facing new competitive threats. Their strategies should answer fundamental questions of whether or not companies want to be product or solution companies; this then leads to questions about whether they want to be in the hardware or software business moving forward, once they decide this, they should figure out where they will get the capabilities (partnerships) and what the business model (payment) might look like. Companies are forming traditional partnerships that have focused on hardware development and partnering with consumer technology companies to be able to work on software/platforms as well," the company said.

3. Virtual may be a way to go. 

"One feature of COVID-19 has been the rapid adoption by consumers and physicians of virtual care," the report noted. "One might expect sustained interest in virtual care, home care, and remote monitoring services. Medtech companies might want to invest in remote monitoring solutions to improve remote access to patients, to help enable the transition to more care outside of the hospital and shift the emphasis toward prevention and maintaining well-being."

4. Consider digital investments to save money, gain insight into business operations, and accelerate competitive opportunities.

Medtech companies can benefit greatly by digitization — scenarios such as a network of devices, machines, and other items embedded with sensors enable interconnectivity and exchange of data — and can help connect manufacturers with suppliers. Logistics and distribution are also benefitted in avoiding costs of physical product damages, deterioration during distribution, and consequences faced due to widespread counterfeiting in the market.

5. Prepare for and address, especially cyber and economic risks, but also policy and regulatory risks. 

"With increased digitization, medtech companies should be prepared to handle and mitigate cyber risks. The growth of connected medical devices renders medical devices to be susceptible to cybersecurity attacks companies should stay prepared for change in any laws and regulations that could potentially lead to losses to business.

"Their strategies should answer fundamental questions of whether or not companies want to be product or solution companies," according to the report. "This then leads to questions about whether they want to be in the hardware or software business moving forward. Once they decide this, they should figure out where they will get the capabilities (partnerships) and what the business model (payment) might look like. Companies are forming traditional partnerships that have focused on hardware development and partnering with consumer technology companies to be able to work on software/platforms as well."

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