Medical device makers reimagine themselves for value-based care
Medical devices aren't just for diagnosis, monitoring and treatment anymore. A new study from PwC shows how evolving technologies and the imperatives of value-based care are causing many manufacturers to rethink what they bring to market, offering a wider array of tools to help patients and physicians improve quality and increase efficiency.
More and more, makers of diagnostic, imaging and implant tools are rolling out services to better engage with patients, help physician improve their clinical performance and generally demonstrate wider value to health systems that's broader than any single technology, according to the report, "Beyond the device: From producer to problem solver."
For the study, PwC's Health Research Institute examined how the top 10 medical device companies by revenue have reshaped their organization and strategies in recent years.
It finds established players expanding portfolio offerings to include new services, offering cloud-based tools to streamline clinical workflow, giving physicians more remote monitoring and real-time analytics capabilities and often incorporating clinician and consumer perspectives into their technology designs.
These companies are now focusing "beyond the device" and beyond the point-of-care – often thanks to acquisitions of other technology companies, according to PwC.
Newer entrants to the market, meanwhile, are already taking a more holistic view, with their development strategies centered on improving clinical technology but also at-home care, with service offerings are ingrained in their products and subscriptions bringing in more revenue to pay for new products.
The industry is "adapting to profound changes in its customers’ needs," according to the report. "Physicians and health systems are adjusting to new financial incentives and reimbursement models, particularly from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and are eager for aid in meeting new requirements."
Consumers, meanwhile, "desire convenient, mobile and user-friendly care," PwC said. "The medtech industry is using digital tools and services to pair these new consumer expectations with clinicians’ needs to monitor health outcomes, analyze results of medical interventions and share that information quickly and efficiently with other providers, other devices and patients."
As an example of this new approach, the study highlights some recent offerings from a division of medical device maker Stryker.
Stryker Performance Solutions partners hospitals and other providers to help with quality improvement, revenue and patient satisfaction. Rather than simply "nudge physicians to use the company’s implants over competing devices," the division began with consulting services around its orthopedic products, growing from there to offer subscription-based analytics tools to help these providers improve clinical and cost outcomes.
"We wanted to become a broader partner to providers and physicians," the report quotes Stryker Performance Solutions VP Brian McCrone.
Earlier this year, the division launched an online portal that connects joint replacement patients with their hospital care teams. It helps them manage the transition from prep to post-op, giving them important data about surgery and rehab while also enabling care coordinators to monitor them and intervene and help avoid readmissions.
"Medical device manufacturers have a unique opportunity to help healthcare providers fulfill value-based contracts with insurers and government payers," according to the report.
Device makers "should integrate their data and insights into physician workflows," PwC adds. "These devices, such as diagnostics, monitoring systems or imaging technologies, should be easy to adopt for all stakeholders as more care moves out of traditional delivery centers, such as hospitals. Physicians will view devices that deliver data as well as automated, relevant and actionable insights as far more valuable than devices that do not."