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An Imperative to Build New Medtech Business Models

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since a small group with a can-do attitude decided to put together a forum in which senior women in our industry could have a place to occupy the podium and provide new ideas and actionable information to an engaged audience.

Each year has been a success that builds upon the prior successes, and it has been a privilege and inspiration to be a part of it. The MedtechWomen overarching organization is also growing and evolving as we look to expand our message and build our brand. How far we have come and yet so many more exciting things on the horizon.

I am excited by the theme of this year’s conference. But there is one topic in particular on the agenda that I personally find very intriguing. It has to do with the concept of value within the medtech business model.

As we were coming up with panel topics around this year’s theme of Value, we each questioned what that really meant. In reality, it can mean many different things to different people. Coming from an investor perspective though, it is clear to me that in order for the medtech industry to survive — by which I mean continue to develop and then sell truly innovative products — there needs to be a true evolution in business model. No doubt that sector investments seem to run in cycles, — medtech may be down this year and biotech up, but with time roles will reverse.

However, there is also no doubt in my mind that sticking with “business as usual” is no longer an option. I have seen large payor organizations and large pharmaceutical companies come to this realization and as such, innovate around their offerings. For example, they have staffed up “Strategic Development” arms that look to invest or partner in some way with verticals outside their standard areas of expertise.

So, for example, a payor will be partnering with a healthcare IT company and/or services company with an idea to vertically integrate over time. These companies have already realized that sticking to their knitting will no longer grow the business like it used to, and so they are “thinking outside the box” for ways to not only bend the cost curve but do so in a way that will also drive business to their legacy products.

Large medtech companies must do the same, and while I believe they have realized this, it is not clear to me anything effective is being done to implement that realization in the same fashion that those in the other industries I mention are doing.

As this was going to press, Medtronic announced the acquisition of CardioCom, a provider of integrated telehealth and patient services for the management of chronic diseases. Given the comments made by Medtronic Chairman and CEO Omar Ishrak, it seems he squarely recognizes the need to move beyond the traditional device offerings and into the broader space of healthcare services and solutions, and by doing so, reduce the overall cost of delivering care. I am thrilled to read of this development by such a leader in the device industry.

At this year’s MedtechVision conference, the Creating Value with Business Innovation in Medtech panel will explore the types of business innovations and strategic solutions that create value for those touched by the products made by medtech companies. Do we need to vertically integrate, adding services and information technology to our offerings? If so, how is that best achieved? What enablers need to be implemented to drive this shift in the market? I look forward to this discussion and hope you do too.

Looking forward to seeing you in September!

– Tamara Elias