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30.08
2021

Biopôle’s experts say: Medtech industry trends and vision by David Neale

Medtech is a very broad term. Many people think it refers to the latest and most complex technologies, but I prefer a wider and simpler definition. To me, medtech refers to all products, services and solutions that are used to make our lives better. Medtech is everywhere, and it supports us – both as patients and medical professionals – through disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. Medical devices aren’t just seen in hospitals. They follow us everywhere: at home, in what we wear and on our phones.

I find medtech fascinating. Its constant evolution is driven by the strong desire to help humans live longer and better lives. It is probably one of the most diverse and innovative sectors in the economy. According to MedTech Europe, there are more than 32,000 medtech companies in Europe, over 90 per cent of which are SMEs. This scale demonstrates the power and mindset of the entrepreneurs who seek to improve our lives. Because of this there-has-to-be-a-better-way mindset, a massive ecosystem has been created to support innovation. However, the sector is not easy to operate in as it is also highly regulated. All steps, from development to post-market, are governed by laws and regulations in order to ensure the safety and performance of all devices.

I have worked in this industry for over 30 years and have experienced many changes. The most fascinating to me has been the shift in recent years to empower patients and have them at the centre of care. It may seem like an exaggeration, but in the past, one could have thought that patient care was hospital-centred. Patients would only look for care when ill and much of the development was focused on improving treatment from a hospital and healthcare professional perspective: improving procedure efficiency and effectiveness; improving treatment for better outcomes. In today’s world, the development of new products has shifted, and patients’ needs come first. Data processing and availability of information are transforming the way patients are treated. With increased access to information, patients are now empowered and are also responsible for their health to a bigger extent. Today, preventing disease and providing better diagnostic tools are as important as treating the disease.

Big data management and artificial intelligence are also at the forefront of this revolution. Most current technologies and procedures could be improved with the incorporation of AI. Why trust the experience of one user when you can share and improve procedures by adding the experience of thousands of users? With increased data processing power, we see the emergence of tools that will assist diagnosis and treatment in ways we have never seen.

These are truly exciting times and breakthrough developments will be seen in all areas. With the ongoing increase in the price of healthcare, I believe that wise use of data – be it for public policy or the improvement of individual care and medical procedures – will play an important role in providing superior outcomes at a better cost to society.

 

AUTHOR


David Neale, CEO and co-founder of Argá Medtech, has been working in the medtech industry for more than 30 years. He took the plunge into entrepreneurship in 2020 when he started his adventure with Argá Medtech, based at Biopôle, to develop new technologies to treat atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardias.