Newsflash: health care budget constraints affect every medical device market. As a member of the editorial & production team at MRG, I've read more Medtech 360 reports than I care to count. Unsurprisingly, a limiter of pretty much every medical device market, in any region of the world, is budgetary constraints. Whether you're a patient in the US, Europe, China, or Brazil, the decisions that hospitals and doctors are making are limited by the cost of the products and the budgets that have been imposed on them.
However, it's good to remind yourself that strict budgets are forcing companies to adapt, in ways that might actually improve health care for everyone. Even for medical device companies themselves, there are some silver linings. Here are three articles about health care budget constraints that, with the right perspective, will cheer you up.
1. One US hospital reduced hospital readmissions for chronic heart failure by more than 50%
One of the moves the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made with the aim of reducing health care costs was to reduce payments to hospitals when heart failure patients are readmitted. From a purely economical perspective, chronic heart failure can be disastrously expensive, with patients having some of the highest rates of rehospitalisation. In one LA medical centre, however, doctors put their heads together to use a combination of portable ultrasound systems, biomarker analysis, and clinical protocols to reduce hospital readmissions by more than 50%.
2. While there's a lot medical device companies can't do about budget constraints, there's a lot that they can do as well
While this article focuses on the attitudes that would cause medtech companies to fail in the new health care paradigm, I prefer to flip it around to focus on what companies can do to succeed. Medtech companies have a major opportunity to partner with payers and focus on services in order to work with the health care facilities to reduce costs. Like I covered in this blogpost, companies are already getting involved along the entire continuum of care, including partnering with payers and getting their feet wet in the remote monitoring market, which is booming as physicians make more efforts to keep patients out of hospitals and let's face it, as a patient, getting treated from home sounds much better.
3. Health care budgets are starting to show signs of life
Finally, public health care spending seems to be gradually increasing after growth decreased to almost nothing at the height of the financial crisis. Health budgets among OECD countries still remain below precrisis levels in many countries, but the overall story is an upward trend. While governments need to be cautious about letting rising budgets get out of hand (*cough*US*cough*), a little bit of easing in health care austerity is a welcome piece of news for many.