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Value, VCs and international markets: One industry leader’s answers on where medtech fits in

by Lindsey Alexander | MedCityNews

Medtech Women will focus on value in healthcare at its annual Vision conference on Sept. 10 in Menlo Park, Calif. According to the organization’s website, the group brings together medtech’s “business leaders, financial investors, researchers, physicians and experts in new product commercialization.”

“A key pillar of the MedtechVision conference is fostering a forum that provokes creative ideas and solutions to current challenges in healthcare,” Susan Stimson, VP of Marketing for Intersect ENT and Medtech Women organizing committee member, said. “By bringing together leaders from the medtech industry, investment, provider, patient and payor perspectives, our goal is to stimulate meaningful discussion on how the medtech community can adapt to the demand for value, whether it be through products, services or other changes, ultimately providing positive change in our healthcare system. I look forward to hearing what ideas will be stimulated on September 10th by key women thought leaders, such as Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Healthymagination and Stacey Enxing Seng, President of Vascular Therapies at Covidien.”

Susan Stimson

Stimson provided these thoughtful answers to questions about how value affects medtech companies vying for venture capital and significant room at the healthcare reform table.

How is value changing for the medtech industry in this time of healthcare reform?

Broad sweeping healthcare reform including accountable care has led hospitals and physicians to struggle to find avenues to cut costs and improve efficiency, all while becoming more responsible for the continuum of patient care. Who better to serve as leaders in addressing these needs than the medtech industry, who have proven time and again how innovative and adaptive we can be in bettering patient care and outcomes despite changes in our healthcare system. We know the medtech industry will find solutions; we always have. One of the panels at MedtechVision 2013 is a mock debate between a fictional entrepreneur, provider, payer and patient to illustrate the competing agendas as to what is considered ’valuable’ innovation and why. It is sure to provoke much thought as well as laughter.

What business trends are you seeing that you expect to grow in the medtech industry?

Bringing forward meaningful advances in patient care has always been the focus of the medtech industry. We’ve tended to concentrate on technology that diagnoses and treats clinical conditions more effectively, which continues to be the primary driver of innovation. But addressing the value challenge is really part of improving patient care. To that end, large companies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs are now all talking value in the course of product ideation and development. Investors are increasingly evaluating companies based on their value proposition. Our panel on ’Saving Money to Raise Money’ includes investors, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs that will speak about value stories that exist today, criteria being used to measure value, and if non-value ideas can flourish despite the demand for change.

With the downturn in venture capital for medical devices, what advice would you give to early-stage startups pursuing VC? How does value play into what attracts VCs to a particular idea or business?

Value is the hot topic of the year. Entrepreneurs must clearly outline the value proposition not only to patients but also to physicians, payers and hospital administration. The large potential acquirers like Abbott are increasingly looking at all constituents and that certainly drives VC interest. Fortunately, there are many ways to go about this. From products that make procedures better and simpler, to new services that provide efficient care delivery to healthcare IT that provides ease of patient condition monitoring. It has also become increasingly important to address international markets. Large corporations such as Covidien have expressed commitment to serving emerging markets. One of our panels will cover how a variety of companies are evaluating such global potential.