3 Factors Shaping the Medical Industry (and Why They Matter to OEMs)
Written by Hans Dittmar
The modern medical industry is largely technology-driven, making its evolution necessary and rapid. But technology isn’t the sole reason. Tougher regulations, aging populations, and advancements in research/solutions impact many decisions.
A clear understanding of what’s emerging in the medical industry helps OEMs align opportunities, device development, and contract manufacturer partnerships to best serve customers:
Likely the most well-known regulation surrounding the design, production, installation, and serving of medical devices is ISO 13485. Certification to this standard ensures the highest degree of quality assurance and risk management, as well as stringent compliance by supply chain partners.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also introduced tougher regulations that expand beyond its pharmaceutical oversight to medical device labeling. The protocols act as an identifier system to enhance patient safety.
Aging Populations and Ongoing R&D
By 2050, the global number of senior citizens is projected to exceed 1.9 billion.1 It’s a statistic that illustrates why the aging population is identified as one of the leading drivers of medical device demand.
People expect to live longer, healthier lives because modern medicine affords them the opportunity. Advanced medical research and development push the boundaries of what’s possible with every discovery, and health-related challenges are mitigated or resolved for patients across a spectrum of ages with sophisticated medical devices and technologies, including2:
- Health wearables that track specific biological analytics — heart rate, sleeping patterns, breathing, motion, etc. These devices inform users of their health status in general, but they are increasingly being fine-tuned to encourage physical activity that staves off chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease in at-risk patients.
- Robotic surgery brings precision to minimally invasive procedures. The devices combine complex technology and augmented reality to equip surgeons with the best tools for life-saving operations, including proactive real-time patient and procedure monitoring that ensures positive outcomes.
- Wireless brain sensors measure brain pressure and temperature, but what makes these devices even more amazing is the fact that they safely dissolve and reabsorb into the human body. Reducing the number of follow-up surgeries on major organs to retrieve devices, etc., substantially improves patient longevity.
- Smart inhalers with Bluetooth connectivity give patients with asthma and other breathing disorders a greater quality of life since about 94% don’t use inhalers properly. A small device is attached to the inhaler to record dosage and administration data that’s then sent to the user’s smartphone for tracking.
Collaborative Contract Manufacturing Partnerships
As medical OEMs delve into new and advanced solutions, responsibilities for highly specialized production often fall to contract manufacturers. As a result, OEMs tier their supply chains by value-added services and foster partnerships with top-tier suppliers. Collaboration is key since OEMs can leverage the networks of their trusted contract manufacturing partners for quality outcomes without unnecessary supplier integration.
Staying aware and ahead of industry trends and needs provides opportunities for medical OEMs to gain market share and partner with contract manufacturers that are assets — like GMI Solutions. Learn more about what’s happening in the medical space with our guide, Medical Device Manufacturing Trends for 2020. Click the button to download your copy now!
1 Southeast Computers, Evolution of the Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical industries, May 15, 2019
2 Proclinical, Top 10 new medical technologies of 2019, February 7, 2019