Originally Published MDDI January 2006
With changing market demand, as well as changing global regulatory requirements, the orthopedics sector of the device industry is facing some new challenges and some new opportunities, according to Joseph M. Hogan, senior vice president and CEO of GE Healthcare. Hogan spoke at the Medical Innovation Summit in Cleveland in October.
A key trend facing the future of healthcare is an increased focus on patient participation. “The number two hit on the Web is healthcare,” he said. Predictive tools also will become more important. With more-stratified populations, these tools will be needed to better predict risk, Hogan added. The future of orthopedics, he said, will rely on technologies such as electromagnetic guidance imaging and image fusion—both less-invasive treatments. “Advances will require a reduction in radiation—continuing to bring the doses down,” he said. “Positron emission tomography CT has changed the industry, but the next step will be the development of new imaging agents that will differentiate targeted tissues and monitor the efficacy of the therapeutic,” said Hogan. With these advances will also come cross-platform clinical trials, Hogan explained, but, he added, “we will see better synergy between imaging agents and equipment.”
The industry must also address what Hogan called clinical convergence, in which a device might be needed to serve dual functions—such as radiological and surgical—and will require new technologies to do so. “The healthcare field is productivity driven, and healthcare payers demand rigorous cost-benefit analyses on diagnostics and other products,” he said.
Hogan pointed to GE's recent acquisition of Amersham plc as a key component in his company's strategy for addressing these trends. “We need to look to biology,” he said, and cited Amersham's biological capabilities to target diagnostics used in oncology and neurology. “We hope to improve the clinical effectiveness of our technology,” he said. The strategy involves developing strong life sciences. “The research tools of today are the diagnostic tools of tomorrow,” said Hogan. Advances in technology, he said, will mean improvements in both diagnosis and treatment. “A noninvasive imaging technology can be used to predict disease progress and improve patients' lives,” Hogan said. Such noninvasive tools will help healthcare providers to understand and to track the progress of disease.
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