The MedTech industry has been evolving over the last decade; integrating innovation and technology into new product design and manufacturing to meet the needs driven by changing demographics, cost pressures in hospitals, and a need to improve clinical outcomes.
The aging population has put pressure on the industry to develop products and technologies that provide treatment to patients beyond the hospital setting to surgical centers and homes. Hospitals have experienced cost pressures pushing companies to develop products that help in streamlining procedure costs and making the overall patient journey more cost-effective.
Artificial Intelligence has facilitated advancements in manufacturing processes and the creation of unique solutions to meet industry demands. Covid-19 has had a significant effect on the MedTech industry and will modify the priorities for both healthcare providers and manufacturers.
Some key changes include but are not limited to:
- Hospitals are now under higher cost pressures due to extra expenses incurred to manage Covid-related costs. Their focus will be to find new technologies and products that can reduce procedure times, deliver better outcomes, and reduce overall costs. For example, technologies and products that could reduce procedure time, require lesser number of staff, improve recovery times of patients, and improve overall efficiencies in hospitals will see high demand.
- Shortage of workers will continue in the industry. The industry has seen a shortage of nursing staff for the last decade and shortage of physicians in rural areas. Post-covid, there is continued shortage of support staff and resources in all aspects of hospital management. Going forward, manufacturers will be required to integrate Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning into products and technologies to balance the shortage. There is already a trend towards robotic procedures, minimal invasive surgeries, and also automation of patient flow and management of data across hospitals.
- Shift of funding to manufacturing of drugs and vaccines will make it more challenging for MedTech companies to raise funds, accelerate their product innovation, and bring their products to market quickly. Manufacturers will have to find alternative resources and ways to succeed in their product development and manufacturing. This is where networking with and becoming part of incubators, accelerators and innovation centers will become important for new companies.
- Increasing importance of patient and staff protection in addition to patient safety. Covid has resulted in changes in various infection control protocols in hospitals to protect the hospital staff. There will be continued need for products and technologies that can improve these practices. For example, products that can help disinfect the whole operating room and other infectious areas are increasing in demand. Companies would have numerous opportunities for innovation in this area.
The Midwest has been the hub of manufacturing for many decades. In the healthcare industry, there are over 200 Bioscience and Pharmaceutical manufacturing companies that have been established over the years.
Over the last decade, there has been an emergence of companies that are manufacturing MedTech products. Most of these companies are early-stage startups that have found the region to be supportive of their needs for good talent due to the proximity of good universities, increase in R&D for new products and technologies housed within the universities, and affordable infrastructure for innovation.
In addition, Chicago and the surrounding area have seen an emergence of accelerators, innovation centers, and the involvement of large corporations to support and promote new product development and manufacturing.
mHUB is the nation’s leading hardtech innovation center that was established in 2017 with the mission to provide an infrastructure for small companies to bring their innovative products to market. mHUB removes the barriers for hardtech entrepreneurs and manufacturers to commercialize new physical products and increases the probability of building a sustainable business.
Startups can use various facilities and services that include office space, prototyping labs, mentorship, educational classes, and an environment to network with fellow entrepreneurs. mHUB also has a large corporate partner pool that has an interest in funding and supporting innovation and new product development.
The MedTech industry has a bright future due to the high demand for new and innovative products and technologies. The next decade will see an increase in more companies developing and commercializing innovative products. Post-covid, there will be more emphasis on hardtech medical devices that will reduce procedure times, improve recovery times for patients, and help hospitals manage their resources and costs effectively.
In order for companies to succeed, they will have to have a creative mindset on how to leverage various resources available to support them, find alternate sources of funding, and focus on networking and collaborating with peers, thought leaders, and various incubators and accelerators in the industry.