Top 3 Medical Device Innovation Trends in 2019
Much like partnering with a reliable laboratory goods supplier, staying abreast of innovation trends in medical devices is necessary for laboratories seeking to stay at the forefront of the industry. In keeping with the industry’s expectations, 2019 saw the continuation and escalation of a number of innovation trends, including the proliferation of sensors in implantable devices, the rising crisis of device cybersecurity, and increased collaboration between firms in the medical device space. Each of these trends is expected to continue through at least 2025, meaning that the most advanced medical device companies will need to adapt to the emerging innovation environment promptly if they want to remain competitive--and, in some cases, remain in business at all.
Unlike in the 1990s and 2000s, the innovation trends for medical devices in 2019 and 2020 are not fundamentally linked to the development of innovative new technologies which provide value to patients by treating their illnesses directly. Instead, the trends to watch for the coming year are based around harvesting, exploiting, and protecting the data which medical devices produce and around making the most of the industry’s increasing levels of specialization. Thus, understanding each of these trends and their impact on every segment of the industry will ensure that device manufacturers and researchers can make strategic decisions wisely.
2. Cybersecure Devices by Design
With the volume of data being produced by medical devices exploding, it’s no surprise that many people have raised the alarm regarding the cybersecurity of the devices. Especially with implanted medical devices which are essential for the life of the patient, like pacemakers, cybersecurity may literally be a matter of life and death. As a result, device manufacturers and laboratories are taking steps to design and implement cybersecure devices which can’t be compromised even in the face of a determined adversary.
To their credit, much of the clamor surrounding the cybersecurity of medical devices stems from aggressive new regulations from the FDA which mandate preemptive cyber protection regimens for medical devices. Nonetheless, cybersecurity is likely to be an issue of increasing importance rather than decreasing importance in the coming years. To date, no major American-produced medical devices have been compromised by a cyberattack in a way which harmed patients -- but the smattering of large-scale breaches elsewhere in the medical sector indicate that it is likely only a matter of time. Effective medical device manufacturers will need to work with their clinical groups, suppliers, industry collaborators, and research staff to ensure that the entire spectrum of vulnerabilities is addressed comprehensively and that potential breaches are prevented decisively.
3. R&D Collaborations Rising
Manufacturing and development collaborations have long been the norm between companies within the medical device industry, but in recent years, strategic agreements have made research-phase collaborations more common than ever before. 80% of surveyed executives within the medical device industry agreed that partnerships would be more relevant than in-house innovation for the future of new device development, and 82% stated that their companies were adopting new collaborations with suppliers as well as customers.
In other words, rising R&D expenditures in the industry are fueling innovation, but unlike in prior eras, that innovation is not siloed in the intellectual property holdings of individual device manufacturers or suppliers. Collaborations are growing for three main reasons:
● More effective specialization within companies
● Lowering the single-firm risks of taking gambles on innovative device concepts
● Increasing the speed of a project’s movement through the development pipeline