June 21, 2023

5 MedTech Trends to Watch in 2023

Amidst the challenges and uncertainties brought about by the gradual recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, MedTech continues to revolutionize healthcare by pushing the boundaries of innovation, improving patient care, and reshaping the health industry.

Let's delve into the most significant MedTech trends for 2023, providing insights into their potential impact and transformative power for the healthcare landscape.

Top MedTech Trends for 2023

1. Regionalization of Production and Supply Chains

In an ever-changing world marked by trade restrictions between the U.S. and China, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, ensuring continuity of care has become increasingly crucial.

Unforeseen disruptions have significantly increased manufacturing costs, and ongoing chip shortages are causing delays for companies developing robotic-assisted surgeries — impacting their go-to-market strategies.

According to the World Bank, the global trade-to-GDP ratio — a measure of globalization — declined from 61% in 2008 to 52% in 2020. However, it showed improvement, reaching 57% in 2021.

Nevertheless, the unpredictable global circumstances have highlighted the importance of maintaining adequate stocks of critical components and raw materials, as well as having a diverse supplier base.

While diversification can offer some benefits, if the global trade environment remains turbulent, governments and market players may opt for "near-shoring" or "friend-shoring," favoring geopolitical allies. Furthermore, the trend toward deglobalization may encourage manufacturers to localize their production and supply chains within specific regions.

2. Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

Medtech has successfully addressed the challenge of meeting growing medical demand while working within limited budgets. Moreover, the urgency driven by the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of medical devices such as insulin pumps, oxygen concentrators, etc.

These devices have revolutionized data collection and enhanced patient care, promoting faster and more seamless information integration.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of medical devices has gained popularity, with an increasing number of companies directly targeting patients. As more innovative devices are introduced, DTC advertising will become imperative for raising consumer awareness and promoting these novel inventions.

A notable example of DTC advertising is Boston Scientific's campaign introducing the WATCHMAN implant as a viable alternative to blood thinners.

3. Navigating Stricter Regulations 

As diagnostic tests become more complex and diverse, manufacturers and clinicians face challenges navigating coding and billing procedures. And the introduction of advanced tests like next-generation sequencing and multianalyte assays adds to the complexity.

Unfortunately, a lack of clear regulations increases the risk of fraud and abuse. While fraud related to COVID-19 testing has received attention, genetic and molecular testing carries even higher risks due to factors such as comprehensive coverage, high payment rates, and ambiguous coding guidelines.

There is a growing emphasis on implementing clearer practices and using specific codes for different tests to tackle these issues. Medicare and private payers are issuing more detailed guidelines to create a more organized system. The ultimate objective is to identify and address the most serious offenders and establish a more structured and orderly landscape for diagnostics.

4. Unified Healthcare

The effectiveness of any medical intervention relies on multiple factors and can be influenced by a patient's health history. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the difficulties of using diverse data sources and healthcare facilities to forecast outcomes and enhance disease treatment.

In response to the challenges posed during the pandemic, the healthcare industry has recognized the need for improved data utilization and integration across different care settings.

Although much is needed to be done in this space, the key focus would be:

  • Customizable and standardized platforms — developing platforms that allow personalization while adhering to standard regulations. This can unlock enhanced data generation, sharing, and analysis capabilities, thereby assisting healthcare providers in clinical decision-making.
  • Machine-assisted inferences — By automating specific processes and using artificial intelligence, these technologies can assist in data analysis, interpretation, and decision-making, allowing healthcare professionals to optimize their time and efforts.
  • Integration with non-standard healthcare data — By integrating information from sources outside traditional healthcare settings, such as data from wearable devices, patient-reported outcomes, and social determinants of health, HCPs can gain a more comprehensive understanding of patients' health statuses and factors influencing their well-being.

5. Addressing Workforce Shortages

The impact of COVID-19 has taken a toll on healthcare providers, resulting in burnout and fatigue among front-line workers. This has led to a significant number of professionals transitioning to less demanding professions, further intensifying the pressure on the remaining workforce and creating a challenging cycle.

To address these challenges, healthcare providers are turning to MedTech manufacturers for technological advancements that can enhance staff efficiency by reducing administrative and labor burdens. The demand for medical devices that seamlessly integrate with Electronic Health Records (like GlaceEMR) and mobile devices is growing as they enable virtual support and automated tools, enhancing efficiency and flexibility.

Breakthroughs in AI and well-defined regulatory guidance will be pivotal in expediting the implementation of tools that automate patient data analysis, triage, and monitoring, enabling quality care despite reduced staffing.

Navigating the Future of Healthcare in 2023 and Beyond

As the healthcare landscape reshapes, only those healthcare providers and MedTech players with foresight and adaptability are here to stay afloat. 2023 brings with it a set of significant MedTech trends that will shape the future of healthcare.

By closely monitoring and embracing these trends, healthcare providers and MedTech players can position themselves at the forefront of innovation and effectively meet the evolving needs of patients and the healthcare ecosystem. Investing in cutting-edge technologies, embracing digital transformation, and fostering a culture of innovation will enable these players to navigate the complexities of the healthcare landscape and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

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