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Mid-Range Pay Device Sectors

Mid-Range Pay--Wound Care, Drug Delivery, Neurology, Dental, & Surgical Devices

Professionals in these therapy areas fall right in the middle of the median pay range reported by device employees. 

Medtech employees developing the latest in wound care innovations are paid a median salary of $112,500.

Working on drug delivery technology? Your peers said they earn a median salary of $114,000.

Professionals concentrating on the brain with neurology tech bring home a median salary of $115,000.

Dental-focused employees earn a median salary slightly higher than their neurology counterparts, at $115,666.

Medtech employees developing surgical devices make median pay of $117,500.

Want more? Check out our free Medtech Salary Survey report, with breakdowns by job description. 

[Image courtesy of HIN255/FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET]

Low-Paying Device Sectors

Low Pay--ENT, Gastro/Uro, Infusion Products, Oncology, & Respiratory

While these device sectors weren't the lowest-paid in our survey, they were near the bottom of the list in terms of median pay. 

Professionals working on ear/nose/throat devices earn a median salary of $107,500.

Gastroenterology/urology device professionals bring home median pay of $108,000.

Median salary for those medtech employees focused on oncology products is $110,000.

Medtech employees working on respiratory devices also earn a median salary of $110,000.

Want more? Check out our free Medtech Salary Survey report, with breakdowns by job description. 


The Highest-Paying Device Sectors

Highest Pay--Cardiovascular, Imaging Systems, Ophthalmic & Radiology

The four device categories of cardiovascular, imaging systems, ophthalmic, and radiology/imaging tied for the highest median salaries reported in the survey--$125,000


Check out the topline results of the 2016 Medtech Salary Survey



The Lowest-Paying Device Sectors

Lowest Pay--Regenerative Medicine & Gynecology

Out of the over 20 device disease sectors listed in the 2016 MD+DI Medtech Salary Survey, professionals working in regenerative medicine reported the lowest median salary: $102,269.

The next-lowest pay came from professionals working in the gynecology  product sector. Their median salary is $103,000.

This makes it clear that medtech is a high-paying career--even the lowest median salaries are in the six figures.

Want more? Check out our free Medtech Salary Survey report, with breakdowns by job description. 


Here Are the Device Sectors That Pay the Most—and the Least

Here Are the Device Sectors That Pay the Most—and the Least

What therapy areas pay the highest salaries within medtech? Is your device sector well compensated?

Medtech professionals are passionate about finding solutions to diseases. Creating devices that help patients--that's what many in the medtech field cite as their biggest motivator.

But money can be a motivator too, and some disease areas and device sectors may offer better pay. That's why we crunched the numbers from our annual MD+DI Medtech Salary Survey to find out which disease areas pay the highest salaries, as well as which pay the lowest salaries.

Are fast-growing sectors like diabetes and neurology the best places to find top salaries? Or are big fields like cardiovascular and surgical devices your best bet? How does your device sector compare in terms of pay? Read on to learn more.

For more detailed findings, download the full survey results here.

Learn about "Best Practices in Developing Products Within a Highly Regulated Environment" at the MD&M Minneapolis Conference, September 21-22.


Why Upgrading the Medical Imaging Archives System Is a Must

Why Upgrading the Medical Imaging Archives System Is a Must

It is crucial that archiving systems be upgraded in order to accommodate the increasing volume of medical images.

Sarah Daren

Medical imaging is one of the most important diagnostic tools healthcare providers have at their disposal. Images are useful not just in the short term, but can have long-term benefit, whether that includes side-by-side comparison with new images to gauge a patient's progress, or as a tool in research efforts.

In order to retain this valuable information, medical images are required to be archived and saved by law for a certain amount of time--a minimum of 7 years in U.S. hospitals. Some images are kept much longer, depending on the type of image and the age of the patient. Pediatric scans, for example, must be kept until the patient is 21. All of these images take up an immense amount of digital storage space. It is estimated that about 33% of the world's storage demands is related to medical imaging storage. Because of this, upgrading archiving systems will be an essential step in keeping up with the ever-growing volume of medical images.

Medical Imaging Storage Demands

It is easy to see how we can quickly run out of physical storage space for archives of medical records and images--physical images take up a great deal of space, as well as being costly and resource-heavy to produce. But the digital demands of image storage are also growing every year, and there is only so much space that can be used with current digital storage systems. To detail just how fast our storage needs are growing, HGST wrote, "Research from IDC anticipates overall healthcare data to grow at 48% per year, reaching 2.3 zettabytes by 2020."

Medical images are also becoming more complex and continue to consume more storage space over time, due to advancements such as 3-D images and continually updated ultrasound frames from a live session.

Digital files must still be stored somewhere, whether that is a hard drive, CD, or "cloud." Even remote storage solutions have space limitations, and it is important for the industry to anticipate the huge need for improved archiving solutions in the next few years.

How Are Medical Images Stored Today?

The majority of healthcare facilities still use CDs to store their medical images in archives. CDs are expensive, costing large providers up to $1.5 million dollars per year, with many hospitals producing 100,000 CDs annually. Finding those archived disks slows physicians down, as it can take hours to locate the disks they need. CDs take up an immense amount of physical space as well, and hospitals can only store so much data in-house in this way. Because of this, some healthcare facilities are already changing the way they store digital images.

The Immediate Future of Imaging Storage

Cloud-based systems are becoming the new normal for digital storage needs, whether professional or personal. Apple uses a cloud system for user data backup, and many hospitals are also looking at this option for solving their digital storage problems. Data is stored on servers in remote locations, and hospitals can access their data on various devices by paying a monthly fee. In the past, upgrades to hardware and software for imaging data would cost facilities hundreds of thousands of dollars to install and maintain. According to the Wall Street Journal, about 15% of medical storage systems were cloud-based, as of 2013. Physicians using these systems no longer need to look for a physical disk, but can access the records immediately, using a username and password. The benefits of a cloud system are obvious. So why is the adoption rate of such systems so slow?

Accessibility and Security

While cloud-based systems provide easy access to important data and remove the need for extensive in-house archiving, there are also some disadvantages. Because many cloud companies have multiple storage server locations, medical providers may not know where their data is being stored, or how it is being protected. Cyber security is an ongoing struggle, and many medical facilities are understandably concerned about the safety of their data on the cloud.

Cloud storage vendors are acknowledging these drawbacks and must comply with certain security requirements and privacy laws. Many healthcare providers do not trust all of their images to the cloud; some keep recent images in-house and only send older data to offsite servers. Hybrid solutions like this and integrating state systems into one archive can help hospitals achieve lower costs, secure systems, and easy access to medical records.

What Will It Cost?

Cloud-based systems are generally much cheaper than in-house storage systems. A recent study shows that hardware costs are 50% less using cloud-based systems over traditional archives. Facilities only need to pay for what they use, and the system is easily scaled. CD costs are greatly reduced or eliminated entirely, allowing facilities to save millions over time. Maintenance costs are also reduced, as most equipment is owned by vendors, not the facilities themselves.

Amazing Innovations in Medical Imaging Archives

Cloud systems may be the immediate future of digital image storage, but there are more exciting and innovative solutions in the works for long term solutions to the problem. The University of Washington estimates that world data storage needs will reach 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020, a staggering number that will make even remote data storage a less viable long term option. To help solve this ongoing problem, Microsoft and the University of Washington joined forces to store digital images in the smallest space possible: a DNA molecule.

Vice reported, "In the experiment, they encoded digital data from four image files into the nucleotide sequences of synthetic DNA snippets, which can be dehydrated for long-term storage."

Incredibly, the scientists were then able to retrieve the images successfully, with no data loss. If this experiment could be implemented in the future, storage space needs would be minimal. Luis Ceze, an associate professor who worked on the project, stated that the same amount of digital data that is stored in a large warehouse today could fit within "a few sugar cubes" using the DNA method.

For now, cloud-based or hybrid systems are the most viable option for healthcare systems that are struggling with the size of their imaging data archive. However, in the long term, radical changes could be necessary to keep up with the increasing worldwide archive.

Sarah Daren is a consultant to startups in the wellness, wearable technology, and health education industries. 


Philips Device Measures Blood Oxygenation With a Camera

The new medical device accurately measures absolute oxygen saturation of arterial blood using a camera-based monitoring technology that quantifies tiny changes in skin color.

Kristopher Sturgis

Philips Oxygenation Device

Researchers from Royal Philips have published a new study detailing a contactless monitoring device that can detect tiny changes in skin color to measure blood oxygenation levels (SpO?), a vital sign that is commonly monitored in patients. The device was designed to use a proprietary camera-based technology that measures light reflecting off of the forehead of patients to calculate SpO? levels.

Philips, an industry leader in patient care and monitoring technologies, has become the first to develop a contactless SpO? monitoring device that can be specifically calibrated to individual patients, providing accurate measurements without the need of constant adjustments or reconfiguring.

The device works with cardiovascular pressure waves that cause tiny blushes in the face with every heartbeat. While these micro-blushes aren't visible to the human eye, Philips' new monitoring algorithms can quantify these changes with their new camera technology, and calculate pulse rate and SpO? levels. The overall aim is to provide monitoring solutions that can accurately measure vital signs in a less intrusive way to avoid patient distress and improve overall patient care.

Philips has been a major player in the medtech realm recently, as the company looks to expand their presence with new health monitoring devices, apps, and cloud-based analytic programs. Earlier this year Philips announced the availability of a host of new health monitoring devices including a health watch, connected scale, blood pressure monitor, and thermometer. All of their devices have been designed to pair with their new HealhSuite health app, a cloud-based platform that can collect and analyze health data that is now available on iOS and Android.

Sensors and data management are changing the game when it comes to medtech product development. Learn how to use these tools to create your next winning innovation at MD&M Minneapolis on September 22. Qmed readers get 20% off with promo code Qmed16.

Carla Kriwet, CEO of Philips patient care and monitoring solutions, said in the press release that contactless monitoring solutions can offer clinicians a way to accurately measure vital signs for patients who require less intrusive methods, while still providing them with the accurate data needed for quality patient care.

"Vital signs monitoring is crucial across all types of care settings," Kriwet said. "But for patient populations with specific conditions, managing their care in a less intrusive way is critical in order to avoid unnecessary distress."

One of the specific patient populations that could benefit the most from this technology could be premature infants in the NICU, where a contactless solution would help newborn infants avoid skin damage or other complications that arise from any kind of clunky technology anchored to their fragile bodies.

The technology is just one of several development from Philips this year, as the company continues to produce innovative medtech solutions that are more personalized and cost-effective. Last week the company announced the launch of a next-gen oncology-treatment system designed to analyze and target tumor lesions through minimally invasive treatment. Earlier this year the company also announced the development of a hand-held blood test device that can diagnose mild concussions--a device that could be a boon for doctors and researchers looking to curb brain injuries in sports.

As the company moves forward with their research, they hope to continue to enhance the device so that it can provide accurate health data through contactless monitoring. They even aim to improve the functionality so that it can monitor other key vital signs like heart and respiration rates. In time, the device could become the standard in contactless monitoring technologies and provide a baseline for innovative patient care solutions. 

Kristopher Sturgis is a contributor to Qmed.

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[Image courtesy of Phlips]

How to Type With Only Your Brain

Revamped technology out of Stanford University could help people with movement disorders to communicate.

Nancy Crotti

Stanford Brain TypingMonkeys really can type Shakespeare, at 12 words per minute, with the help of brain-sensing technology developed at Stanford University.

That technology directly reads brain signals to drive a cursor moving over a keyboard. In a pilot experiment conducted with monkeys, the animals were able to transcribe passages from The New York Times and "Hamlet" at a rate of 12 words per minute.

Earlier versions of the technology have been tested successfully in people with paralysis, but the typing was slow and imprecise. This latest work tests improvements to the speed and accuracy of the technology that interprets brain signals and drives the cursor, according to the university.

"Our results demonstrate that this interface may have great promise for use in people," said postdoctoral fellow Paul Nuyujukian, who will join Stanford faculty as an assistant professor of bioengineering in 2017. "It enables a typing rate sufficient for a meaningful conversation."

Sensors and data management are changing the game when it comes to medtech product development. Learn how to use these tools to create your next winning innovation at MD&M Minneapolis on September 22. Qmed readers get 20% off with promo code Qmed16.

Other approaches for helping people with movement disorders type involve tracking eye movements or, as in the case of Stephen Hawking, tracking movements of individual muscles in the face. However, these can require a degree of muscle control that might be difficult for some people. For example, Hawking wasn't able to use eye-tracking software due to drooping eyelids, and other people find eye-tracking technology tiring. Directly reading brain signals could overcome some of these challenges and provide a way for people to communicate their thoughts and emotions.

The Stanford team had previously developed a multi-electrode array that, when implanted in the brain, can read signals from a region that ordinarily directs the hand and arm movements used to move a computer mouse. They recently improved upon the algorithms for translating those signals and making letter selections, and found that the animals could type more than three times faster and more accurately than with earlier approaches.

"The interface we tested is exactly what a human would use," Nuyujukian said. "What we had never quantified before was the typing rate that could be achieved."

To type or not to type

The monkeys testing the technology had been trained to type letters corresponding to what they see on a screen. For this study, the animals transcribed passages ofNew York Times articles or, in one example, Hamlet. The results, which were published in IEEE, show that the technology allows a monkey to type with only its thoughts at a rate of up to 12 words per minute. The animals had the implants for up to four years prior to this experiment, with no loss of performance or side effects in the animals, according to the university.

People using this system would likely type more slowly, the researchers said, while they think about what they want to communicate or how to spell words. People might also be in more distracting environments and in some cases could have additional impairments that slow the ultimate communication rate.

"What we cannot quantify is the cognitive load of figuring out what words you are trying to say," Nuyujukian said.

Despite that, Nuyujukian said even a rate lower than the 12 words per minute achieved by monkeys would be a significant advance for people who aren't otherwise able to communicate effectively or reliably. Eventually the technology could be paired with the kinds of world completion technology used by smartphones or tablets to improve typing speeds.

The team is running a clinical trial to test this latest interface in people.

Nancy Crotti is a contributor to Qmed.

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Zimmer Biomet Gets Out of Triple Damages in Patent Case

The dispute between Zimmer Biomet and Stryker has also been sent back to a lower U.S. federal court for reconsideration of enhanced damages, which were previously hundreds of millions of dollars.

Nancy Crotti

Lady Justice

A federal appeals court has overturned the $228 million in enhanced damages awarded to Stryker in a patent infringement suit against Zimmer Biomet, but upheld a previous ruling that the patents were valid and willfully infringed.

The U.S. Supreme Court had sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals in June, saying that the standard for awarding enhanced damages was too rigid.

The case involves pulsed lavage devices, which are used to clean bone surfaces during surgery and improve wound visualization. Stryker sued Zimmer in 2010, alleging that Zimmer's Pulsavac Plus devices infringed three of its patents. (Zimmer merged with Biomet last year in a $15 billion deal.)

The U.S. District Court in Michigan granted Stryker partial summary judgment on its claims for two of the patents, but the dispute over the third patent went to trial. The jury found in February 2013 that Zimmer had willfully infringed all three of Stryker's patents and awarded Stryker $70 million in lost profits.

The jury verdict left an opening for Judge Robert Jonker of the district court to increase the penalty, and in August of that year, he tripled it and added attorneys' fees for a total award of $228 million, "given the one-sidedness of the case and the flagrancy and scope of Zimmer's infringement" Jonker wrote at the time.

The Federal Circuit, however, found on appeal in 2014 that Zimmer had made a reasonable defense that it had not willfully infringed the patent, and vacated the enhanced damages.  Stryker appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing initspetitionthat Zimmer gave an outside contractor one of Stryker's portable, disposable, pulsed lavage devices and told the contractor to "make one for us... Zimmer got its product to market quickly and in direct competition with Stryker. In doing so, it did not seek advice of outside patent counsel to assess the potential for infringement of 6 Stryker's patents, or to opine on the validity of Stryker's patents."

The Supreme Court also changed the legal standard for determining whether someone has willfully infringed a patent, leaving the door open for the appeals court to reconsider whether Zimmer meant to do so.

The previous standard required a patent holder to establish, by clear and convincing evidence, both that there was an "objectively high likelihood" that the accused infringer's actions constituted patent infringement, and that the risk was "either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer," the appeals court said in its most recent ruling. The Supreme Court rejected this approach and explained that "[t]he subjective willfulness of a patent infringer, intentional or knowing, may warrant enhanced damages, without regard to whether his infringement was objectively reckless." The Supreme Court also rejected the use of a standard requiring clear and convincing evidence in favor of a lower standard, requiring a preponderance of the evidence.

This time around, the appeals court decided that Zimmer had willfully infringed Stryker's patents, but vacated the triple damages and award of attorneys' fees. It also remanded the case to the district court in Michigan to reconsider the enhanced damages.

Nancy Crotti is a contributor to Qmed.

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[Image courtesy of AJEL on Pixabay.]

Maker of ROCA Ovarian Cancer Test Suspends U.S. Sales

Maker of ROCA Ovarian Cancer Test Suspends U.S. Sales

In an update after last week's warning from FDA about ovarian cancer screening tests, Abcodia, which sells the ROCA Test, announced it is voluntarily suspending U.S. availability of the test.

In a statement sent to MD+DI on Tuesday, Abcodia referenced the FDA safety communication and wrote, "Notwithstanding our confidence in the clinical utility of the ROCA Test, we are voluntarily choosing to temporarily suspend its commercial availability in the United States."

FDA recommended against screening tests because "there are currently no screening tests for ovarian cancer that are sensitive enough to reliably screen for ovarian cancer without a high number of inaccurate results," the agency wrote.

Learn about "Best Practices in Developing Products Within a Highly Regulated Environment" at the MD&M Minneapolis Conference, September 21-22.

Other medical societies, groups, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have also recommended against screening tests.

In its statement, Abcodia noted, "As the FDA has stated, there are currently no ovarian cancer screening tests which have been cleared or approved. We have been communicating about the ROCA Test with the FDA for several months. As part of our mission to provide additional screening tools for this devastating disease, we will continue to engage with the FDA and we will continue to partner with community physicians and leading medical centers on ongoing clinical evaluation of the ROCA Test."

Emphasizing that the company's test is not a standalone diagnostic or the single assessment of whether surgery is the proper next step, Abcodia called the ROCA Test "a risk estimation tool . . . developed with the goal of identifying women with an elevated risk for ovarian cancer for referral to a gynecological cancer specialist." The test is described on the company's website as being intended for postmenopausal women between 50-85 years old and women with a higher risk between 35-85 years old.

The ROCA Test was studied in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS), which included more than 200,000 patients over 15 years. Abcodia pointed out in its statement that the findings showed the  ROCA Test, used with transvaginal ultrasound and clinical decision-making, has 85.8% sensitivity and 99.8% specificity for ovarian cancer.

"These data compare favorably with currently approved and widely adopted screening modalities used as an aid in the detection of other cancers, and support the clinical utility of the ROCA Test to aid physicians in clinical referral decision making," Abcodia wrote.

Until today's announcement, the ROCA Test was available in almost all U.S. states, as well as the United Kingdom. Abcodia noted in its statement that it plans to provide guidance on U.K. access to the test "within the next week."