Although only a few months have passed since we presented our top 10 trends and events for medtech companies to watch in 2014, it seemed like a good time to revisit them considering a number of related articles have come across my desk recently, and there have also have been a few developments.

What else have you come across related to our top 10 trends and events for 2014 Let us know in the comments.

Healthcare.gov tops expectations
Topic: Insurance Coverage Increases in the US

Despite all the doom and gloom about the slow take-off of healthcare.gov, the white house, as we presented in our webinar, was ultimately right that we had nothing to be worried about: President Obama recently reported that enrolment topped 8 million (believed to be in the first 6 months of open enrolment), ultimately exceeding the original goal of 7 million. Original fears about a death spiral, with too many elderly enrolees and not enough healthy young people, also appear unfounded.

How the Affordable Care Act affects innovation
Topic: Frugal Innovation is the Path to the Emerging Economies
Topic: Purchasing Power Shifts Toward ACOs and Hospital Administrations

This article highlighted some interesting innovations in the medtech market lately, with particularly emphasis on how the Affordable Care Act is affecting innovation. A few of them tied neatly into our Year-in-Preview topics; for example, one of the innovations is an HIV test designed for the emerging markets, with each component able to be produced using mass manufacturing methods. Another example was as simple as better packaging for guidewires, catheters, and screws to reduce the risk of contamination and hospital-acquired infections, which is something that the CMS has taken aim at in recent years.

Medtronic reveals what went wrong in its SYMPLICITY HTN-3 renal denervation trial
Topic: Successes and Setbacks Shake Up the Cardiovascular World

After the failure of renal denervation in Medtronic's SYMPLICTY HTN-3 trial made headlines, questions have been swirling about what went wrong. Medtronic recently presented its findings at the American College of Cardiology meeting. Essentially, the Symplicity renal denervation system met its safety endpoint, but failed to meet its primary or secondary efficacy endpoints. Reactions to the results have been mixed, but Medtronic has said that it will continue to evaluate the results in order to decide the fate of its flagship renal denervation system.

The Mayo Clinic develops an app to address heart failure readmissions
Topic: Mobile Apps Empower Patients
Topic: Telehealth Improves Disease Management
Topic: Purchasing Power Shifts Toward ACOs and Hospital Administrations

This article crosses multiple topics that we mentioned in February: it discusses an app that allows for telemedicine, with the aim of reducing heart failure another condition targeted by the ACA. According to the Mayo Clinic, only 20% of patients who attended cardiac rehab and used the app visited the emergency room of the hospital in the next 90 days, compared to 60% of the control group. Because this is a disease that has huge burden on the health care system, innovations such as this have the potential to offer significant savings to hospitals.

Big data is great, but what do we do with it?
Topic: Big Data Informs Health Analytics

Another article discussed the importance of addressing the gap left between big data and changes that have a meaningful impact on how health care is delivered. Dr. Martin Kohn, who worked on IBM's Watson supercomputer, stressed that just because we have the ability to gather huge amounts of data, doesn't mean that it's being properly interpreted just yet.

Hospitals are budget-conscious, but they'll pay for more services from medtech
Topic: Purchasing Power Shifts Toward ACOs and Hospital Administrations
Topic: Medtech Companies Completely Rethink Their Business Model

And finally, this whitepaper from LEK Consulting backs up our overarching point on medtech companies reforming their business models. Although hospitals are facing tighter budgets, the paper reinforces the fact that they are willing to spend on services from medtech, such as those that would help them improve their operations management and efficiency; this is exactly the direction that we said medtech companies should be looking in (and some, like Medtronic, are already on this path). The paper also discusses how hospitals are feeling the shift in purchasing power away from the physicians I'll leave you with this quote from the paper by a hospital director that captures it perfectly:

The purchasing process has become much more complicated and restrictive. All supplies and new technology that are proposed for use have to go through a value/cost analysis committee. The days of the clinician getting to use a product because of sheer preference is behind us.

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