We've already talked a fair bit about how medtech needs to adapt to the new health care landscape, and how for many companies, this could mean completely changing their strategies to remain competitive. The classic example, Medtronic, really pioneered this idea by launching its Hospital Solutions business in 2013. As part of this program, Medtronic is expanding its presence in cath labs by running their daily operations, with the goal of improving outcomes and saving costs for the hospital.
Smith & Nephew is also testing a dramatic strategy change with the launch of its Syncera program; this program was designed to cut down on medical device prices for hospitals by using an automated technology solution in the OR instead of a sales rep. The pilot program, started in the summer of last year, has been a success so far according to the company, and it's planning on rolling it out to more locations this year. Opinions are mixed so far: Stryker's CEO has publicly stated that he doesn't see Syncera as a credible threat and that having reps in the OR improves efficiency (an especially interesting statement given that there have been long been rumours of a Stryker-Smith & Nephew acquisition, but that's a story for another day).
Although also a significant change in approach, Smith & Nephew's strategy is arguably the opposite of Medtronic's, reducing the company's presence in the OR rather than increasing it. In fact, Medtronic has said that with the purchase of Covidien, the company will be able to apply its cath lab strategy to ORs as well because of the depth of Covidien's portfolio.
It will be interesting to see which of these strategies gains the most momentum as 2015 picks up speed. We expect that medtech firms will continue to adapt their approaches in order to capitalize on this new health care landscape. But do hospitals really want more or less? That question remains to be answered.