Medtech and medical devices are critical components of healthcare infrastructure, which was highlighted clearly during the pandemic.
Though 2021 saw many challenges – namely the manufacturing and supply chain capabilities that were stretched thin due to the pandemic response – supply chain resilience is improving in 2022.
For medtech, there has been a spotlight on the use of virtual care and remote monitoring, causing much discussion about how technology can be leveraged to increase efficiency in healthcare, whilst also making it more cost-effective.
It goes without saying, but digital transformation has impacted nearly every facet of the workforce, and medtech and medical devices companies aren’t exempt from this trend.
Many medtechs are traditionally hands-on businesses, yet the traditional medtech sales model has had to shift to rely on digital capabilities such as virtual meetings and training/education sessions.
70% of start-up technologies include digital capabilities such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (28%), showing that medtech is getting smarter.
Virtual reality (VR) is also on the horizon for medical devices.
Currently used sparingly for training, medical virtual reality also has the potential to address multiple conditions that could revolutionise healthcare, as the use of VR increases.
Additionally, telehealth is expected to be an up-and-coming trend for the sector.
With a forecast CAGR of over 23% from 2020 – 2026, VCs are showing increasing interest in the telehealth sector and its potential.
Whilst telehealth is primarily used at present for mental health or rural patients without close access to a doctor, telehealth may still be on the rise.
The impact of the great resignation, combined with the rapid digital transformation in the sector, make the attraction and retention of talent essential for medtech and medical devices companies.
The war for talent is intense across the board, from large companies to SMEs, as there is universally high demand for digital and data science talent.
According to Deloitte, those with AI/ML, data analytics, and consumer engagement experience are particularly sought after.
There is also a greater need to focus on hybrid and flexible working in recruitment efforts as this becomes the norm and emphasise employee benefits.
Deloitte recommend a focus on rewards, culture, collaboration, co-location, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
83% of the companies in the MTI database have DEI strategies for talent as representation becomes a more prominent discussion and area of focus in the sector.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are gaining traction with medtech board members and shareholders, particularly the threat of climate change.
Environmental strategies to reduce carbon footprint are therefore rising in popularity, as companies look to minimise their impact on the planet.
Medtech manufacturing specifically is looking to reduce its contribution to waste through the use of biodegradable materials, reducing packaging waste, and reducing their overall waste stream.
ESG is also a key consideration for companies that are looking to attract and retain talent, as companies look to emphasise their own role in improving health equity and contributing towards better environmental practices.
The exchange of medical information between multiple stakeholders in medical devices – manufacturers, healthcare providers, and suppliers – make robust security integral to the future of the sector.
Since the FDA is holding manufacturers of medical devices accountable for any problems that arise as a result of security, cybersecurity is not just a necessary precaution but an integral part of the future of medical devices.
The medtech sector is also seeing an evolution in the way that healthcare and patient data is collected and analysed.
As digital transformation continues to accelerate, so too will the need for privacy and security measures for this data as the industry at large innovates.
Among the 1,008 companies in the 2021 MTI database, almost half (46%) have a focus on prevention and/or wellness or detection/diagnosis.
Just 19% of companies are focusing primarily on treatment – the industry is generally trending towards a model of prevention, wellness, and diagnosis, rather than the later stages of the patient journey.
This ties in heavily with the trend towards remote monitoring as well.
Recent developments, such as the new generation of pacemakers, can now focus on patients’ needs by allowing them to check the battery life of their devices, log and track symptoms and monitor physical activity through their smartphones.
Disease prevention and healthcare provision are regarded as high-growth opportunities for the sector – as McKinsey suggests, the future may be about thinking ‘patient pathway back’ not ‘product forward’.
The advancements of technologies such as smart devices are bringing medical devices that capture data into existing care pathways via the IoT.
This integration of medtech platforms can help to improve patient outcomes, lower costs, and improve end-to-end efficiency.
IoT-enabled devices can also contribute to the shift towards preventative care, giving patients greater autonomy over their health and wellbeing through accurate data.
By 2029, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) market is forecast to grow $285.5bn, with a CAGR of 28%.
The growing prevalence of chronic diseases is likely to contribute to increased demand over time with smart healthcare, which only increases the market size in the future.
Medical devices and medtech growth are being catalysed by considerable digital transformation, which is increasing interest in areas such as VR, telehealth, and AI that are rising in popularity as a means to innovate.
Given the movement towards increased smart device use, patient data is a considerable area of concern for the future as cybersecurity rises on the agenda for medtech and medical devices companies.
One key area for the sector at present is the necessity for talent to help capitalise on digital transformation, particularly those with skills around data analytics and technology such as AI and machine learning.
What is clear is that the sector is adapting its processes as a result of the pandemic, which will inevitably assist them in the future.
To find out more about the future of medtech and medical devices, get in touch with the Panda team today.