By Team Asia Education Review

Medical Device Industry Transitioning towards Tech Led Preventive Care

  • Muralidhar Nair, Manufacturing Director, APAC, Ethicon and Supply Chain Lead, J&J MedTech India, in an interaction with Industry Outlook, shares his views on the issues pertaining to usage of medical devices for chronic disease management, integration of data obtained from medical devices and more.

    The global medical devices market is expected to become worth 850 billion USD by 2030. How is the medical device industry developing in India?

    India's medical device market is expected to develop steadily with a CAGR of almost 10 percent, outpacing the global market's anticipated growth rate of 5 percent. With a $40 billion annual turnover, India will be the fifth-largest market for medical equipment. There are multiple factors influencing the growth of this market. For example, with an average life expectancy of Indians rising to 70 years, in the coming days the number of non-communicable diseases like obesity, cardiovascular, cancer, orthopedics, diabetes, respiratory, and more will surge, eventually comprising about 75 percent of all disease burden by 2030. Furthermore, the government of India is also playing an effective role in propelling the growth of the medical device market. Schemes and policies like allowance of 100 percent FDI in medical device industry, PLI scheme, medical devices rules 2017, Ayushman Bharath scheme, and more have incurred a lasting effect on healthcare landscape. Today, most of the Indian state governments have also focused on health schemes and have significantly increased their spending in government hospitals across India. The increased spending by both the state and central governments, to promote Make in India, has given a boost to the development of medical devices industry in the country.

    Chronic disease self-management interventions can lead to statistically significant reductions in health service utilization. How are medical device manufacturers innovating to develop user-friendly devices that enable continuous monitoring?

    Chronic disease self-management is one of the biggest opportunities that can be addressed through the recent developments of the MedTech industry. The MedTech companies are now leveraging a lot of digital technology to better connect with the customers and patients to provide them with better intelligence powered solutions across the major segments of care.

    These developments can provide enriched outcomes throughout the care journey, such as awareness, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care. The shift to customers is also enabled by digital solutions, such as wearables and smart watches. Mobile applications, remote monitoring, intelligence, and ease of access will be the key differentiators for the companies.

    Organizations are also engaging in non-traditional partnerships. An increasing collaboration between the MedTech companies and healthy food companies or fitness and sporting firms and gaming companies is evident.

    In the future, interesting innovations around artificial intelligence, bio stamps, implantable bionic lenses, smart contact lenses, threat based diagnostic devices, miniature retinal scanners, DNA nano bots etc. are going to make chronic disease management much easier from a patient’s point of view. Integration of data obtained from medical devices is imperative to get a unified view of the patient's condition. How can medical devices provide a unified view of a patient's condition? Most of the medical device companies are going through a major technological transformation, eventually developing them into a MedTech entity. In an attempt to get closer to the end user, companies are now leveraging data to build intelligence into their products, and it is quickly becoming an essential part of the new device value proposition. Data and analytics are playing a significant role in connecting the manufacturers with users, while giving the patients greater control over their care. The present cloud based digital platforms have also matured and can efficiently collect and analyze data from multiple devices that can support hundreds of interconnected patients, devices, and sensors. The real time information generated from different sources, are aiding the clinicians to diagnose and monitor patient condition, while avoiding unnecessary hospital visits. Organizations are now coming up with innovative solutions that can provide valuable insights about patients' condition. For example, a company that provides solutions based on the principle of Ballistocardiography has developed a sheet that can be placed underneath the mattress. While the patient sleeps on the sheet, it captures the micro vibrations that are emitted from the body through heartbeats, or the respiratory cycle or the body movements, which is then sent to the secure cloud, which converts it into meaningful biomarkers that are accessible to the clinicians. Having said that, the primary challenge for every device manufacturing company lies in effectively monetizing critical information while protecting the valuable data from cybersecurity threats. Companies also need to adhere to stringent standards, to ensure patient privacy and safety. How do you see the medical device industry evolving in the future? The growth projections reflect an increased demand for innovative devices like wearables and services like health data. A positive economic development unlocks huge potential in emerging markets, primarily in Asia and Africa. However, despite the attractive prospects, there are significant headwinds for the industry. For example, in most of the developed countries, there is a constant downward pressure on pricing since the government reimburses for the usage of medical equipment. The purchasing decisions are also transitioning from clinicians to economic buyers. New players from entirely different industries are disrupting the markets by harnessing data. Moreover, the recent supply chain disruption has resulted in a greater focus on localization, especially from a manufacturing point of view. The companies need to reinvent themselves and step out of their conventional procedures. Services and data intelligence will need to be integrated with the products to offer a holistic solution that can strengthen the existing business to consumer model, while introducing new models. The perspective has to shift from treatment and cure to prevention, which will bring down the cost of care and improve the outcomes. Technology will have a significant impact in preventive care; decreasing the time spent in hospitals. Being a MedTech company, Johnson and Johnson is striving to infuse technology in every product, while developing new solutions that will transform the process of healthcare delivery. For example, we are now focusing on the robotic assisted surgery domain, where we have developed a robot that assists clinicians in surgery and our future solutions focus on solving a problem for clinicians and other stakeholders through technology and data. With the implementation of these solutions, we are looking at data driven decision-making in healthcare. In the coming days, these robots will aid in better patient outcomes and optimum utilization of hospital resources with time efficiency for both healthcare professionals and patients. (The views and opinions expressed in this interview are of Muralidhar Nair and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of any company in the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.)