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How to Remain Relevant in the Era of Big Data

How to Remain Relevant in the Era of Big Data
Medical device designers must consider several key technology and data trends or face obsolescence in a data-driven healthcare environment.

                                     Shahid Shah


The ability to provide valuable, clinically relevant data that can improve patient outcomes will be the differentiating factor in the medtech marketplace as reimbursement shifts from a fee-for-service to a value-based model. But transitioning to—let alone thriving in—the new era of Big Data will be no small feat for most medical device companies.

"As we design future devices, our designers must realize that they’re no longer just making standalone devices; they’re crafting a system component that fits into a larger system of systems ecosystem that is creating and moving around enormous amounts of coveted data,” according to Shahid Shah, the Healthcare IT Guy and upcoming keynote speaker at MD&M West. "Coveted because that data can be used to improve diagnostics, tailor clinical workflows, improve patient safety, and advance care coordination."

In order to remain relevant in a data-driven environment, medical device manufacturers need to talk the talk, Shah says. That means manufacturers need to be able to intelligently discuss and understand the trends affecting their customers, such as the Affordable Care Act, accountable care organizations (ACOs), the medical home, meaningful use, changing reimbursement models, mHealth, and patient-centered care.

Shad adds that, beyond the buzzwords, medical device designers must consider the following technology and data trends or face obsolescence:

  • Commoditization: How much of what's special in your device has or will become a commodity?
  • Consumerization: Can your device be replaced by a mobile phone or other consumer device?
  • Workflow Automation: Can your device fit into agile clinical workflows?
  • Device Interoperability: Can your device connect into the existing IT ecosystem?
  • Connected EHRs: Can your device fill EHRs?
  • Accountable Tech: Can your device pay for itself based on diagnostic, therapeutic, or other outcomes?

Device interoperability and filling EHRs have been particular pain points for hospitals, Shah notes. So companies that can address unmet needs and facilitate progress in this area will likely see sales and margins increase.

“If you’re making digital devices and you’re not sharing data with IT systems, your competitors will be selling more products than you will because ACOs and outcomes-driven organizations have an insatiable appetite for data,” Shah says. “If you’re selling digital devices that are sharing some data but not capturing enough data to make it useful for analytical purposes, you’ll see limited revenue growth and margin pressure along with loss of sales as your customers phase out your products in favor of those that generate clinically valuable data for improving their workflows.”

Ultimately, the road to success is simple, according to Shah. "He who owns, integrates, and uses data wins in the end.”

Shah will be delivering the keynote address "Architecting, Designing, and Building Medical Devices in an Outcomes-Focused, Big Data World,” at MD&M West on February 13.

 —Shana Leonard, group editorial director, medical content
[email protected]

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