In a world where more and more information is constantly available at our fingertips through our smartphones and computers, customers are becoming increasingly empowered. Is a restaurant any good? Let's quickly check some reviews online. In fact, we can even check out if it's ever been closed for any health violations. Virtually no industry is immune to this shift, which is arguably an advantage for us, the consumer.
The health care industry has been a little slower to see the impact of this trend. First it was self-diagnosing via the Internet?with which I?m sure doctors and hypochondriacs have a love-hate relationship?but now it's increasingly moving into smartphone apps that allow patients to monitor their blood pressure or glucose levels and ?smart? infusion pumps that allow patients to control their own pain medication. In some cases, patients have started demanding data from their own pacemakers, even though the availability of this data has been traditionally limited to physicians. As patients increasingly take charge of their own health, more and more devices are being designed for home use, and the FDA has even recently issued guidelines specific to these devices
According to E&Y
, it looks as if the current business model of the medtech industry is about to be disrupted as patients demand more from their medical devices. These newer technologies are termed ?patient-empowering? and ?information-leveraging? by E&Y. Even though it might not be clear exactly how certain medical devices may fit in with this trend?people performing surgery on themselves still seems out of the question right now?you never know what could happen and these things are difficult to predict. Medtech leaders will need to for sure stay on top of these trends; current market leaders could see their shares seriously decrease with the development of these technologies if they remain complacent.
So what's the take-home message for medtech companies here? No matter what industry you?re in, start thinking about what matters to patients, not just doctors.