A Perspective on Globalization and the Demand for Devices that Share Data with Patients

Asia has a different meaning for many medical device companies than it did just a few years ago. China in particular was once largely viewed as an inexpensive manufacturing destination for products for the Western market. But, with the ascendancy of China and India, now the continent is coming into its own as a market unto itself. “We are seeing a lot of medical device companies that are looking to serve the local market in Asia—especially the Chinese market,” says Ralph Hugeneck, the director for medical technology for Jabil Healthcare & Life Sciences.

February 1, 2012

2 Min Read
A Perspective on Globalization and the Demand for Devices that Share Data with Patients

As a result of this, many medical device companies are looking for help localizing a range of products for the Asian market. This trend has gained steam over the course of the last year and a half or so, Hugeneck says.

The market share for many Western device companies doing business in China is still small, however. A growing number of firms have ambitions to develop products in China for the local market, he adds.

Although most companies are now interested in developing products to be sold in China, Hugeneck expects the demand for devices tailored for the Indian market to follow.

When asked to provide examples of products that are popular for the Chinese market, Hugeneck says infusion pumps and products related to patient bedside care are especially hot these days. “Patient monitors, for example, are really big,” he says.

Combination Products

In addition to the changes that globalization has wrought on outsourcing in general, there are number of other trends worth mentioning here. For one thing, Hugeneck has observed a variety of combination devices now in development as “incredible.” “There are so many new product ideas coming out right now that we haven’t seen before. Very creative ideas,” he says. “There are pharma companies that are developing devices to administer drugs and then there are device companies who use drugs in their devices.”

Hugeneck says that he expects different types of combination products to emerge. Now, a combination device is typically made with a single pharmaceutical agent. In the future, however, there could be a number of devices that contain a variety of different drugs—potentially even from various pharmaceutical companies.

Devices with Improved Communication Skills

Hugeneck also notes that there is a demand for devices with improved communication. “If you look to the market, there are more and more people who want devices that communicate patient data,” he says. Many patients want to be able to have access to their patient data and to be able to share it with, say, parents, families or their doctors. “Today, there is not much you can do [in terms of accessing or sharing patient data],” he says. Standing in the way are regulatory hurdles and concerns about data security. But this could be a "really big trend," he says.

Brian Buntz

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