Across all industries, 2020 has been a year of massive adaptation and reprioritization. For some fast-acting medical device manufacturers, it’s also been a season of big leaps forward. Let’s explore medical device manufacturing 2020 themes.
Medical Device Manufacturing 2020 Themes
We’ve digested a stack of 2020 market analyses and media coverage to pinpoint trends that transformed medical device manufacturing in recent months. None should come as a surprise, though that doesn’t diminish their impact — now or in the future.
In this post, we highlight 4 shifts that have changed our industry for good.
Starting with the obvious, the COVID-19 pandemic has fast-forwarded the adoption of digital health and virtual care by at least three years, reports Fierce Healthcare. Digitization efforts don’t stop there, though.
Every aspect of selling, managing and servicing medical devices calls for greater digitization these days, from digital product demos to increased digital media buys, remote patient/clinician support.
One example of enhanced digitization are smartphone-connected pacemaker devices. Traditionally, remote monitoring for such devices entailed a bed-side console transmitting data to a physician. “Though millions of patients have pacemakers and defibrillators, many lack a basic understanding of the device or how it functions and adherence to remote monitoring has been suboptimal,” write experts at the Cleveland Clinic. By contrast, “Bluetooth-enabled pacemaker devices can remedy these issues of disconnection between patients and their cardiac treatment,” they explain.
Drop in elective medical procedures
With patients canceling or postponing elective medical procedures, medical device buyers have deprioritized equipment that’s not useful in COVID-19 treatment, reports McKinsey. “Emergency visits are also down by half or more, and admissions unrelated to COVID-19 follow similar or even accelerated declines,” adds McKinsey.
Like clinicians, medtech teams have had to redirect their attention to immediate crisis response: keeping employees safe, ensuring business continuity, and adapting to changes in the healthcare ecosystem.
That brings us to the next point…
Increased demand for diagnostic tests, PPE, ventilators, single-use devices
While demand for many medical devices slowed to a crawl, demand rose for ventilators, personal protective gear and diagnostic tests.
Demand was such that medtech firms saw competition from outside the industry as automakers and other manufacturers raced to make ventilators and personal protective gear. (General Motors and Ford delivered 80,000 ventilators to the U.S. government.)
In our own work, we’ve helped meet demand for new solutions to respiratory distress (e.g. hyperbaric oxygen hoods) and single-use devices (e.g. shaker and cell culture bags).
Supply chain gets creative
Fewer resources and shorter development timelines mean you have to get creative. To make that possible, medical device manufacturers outsourced functions and joined forces with other market leaders.
“In addition to the extraordinary measures underway to rapidly ramp up manufacturing capacity and capabilities, medtech leaders are also looking outside their normal sector boundaries to explore creative solutions to further supplement capacity, such as partnerships with companies outside the sector, open-source equipment design, and deployment of medically trained employees to support public-health needs,” writes McKinsey.
Large and small OEMs have long sought third-party relationships to increase capacity, versatility and speed to market. (We wrote about why that makes good business and financial sense here.)
In 2021, medtech leaders can expect to see magnified versions of these trends, including greater connectivity across product lifecycles, revamps of the supply chain and go-to-market strategies. It will be tough to go it alone, and strategic partnerships will emerge as a way to plug gaps, enable speed and scalability. (Stay tuned for our 2021 Market Outlook!)
Two underlying principles you can rely on: greater emphasis on user experience and fast action. Tomorrow’s market belongs to medtech leaders who will seize the moment and act quickly to meet emerging demands.