The medical device industry makes equipment used to diagnose and treat patients. These devices range from tongue depressors to reagents, pacemakers, diagnostic equipment, dental goods, and surgical implants. This rapidly evolving industry is always changing, but there are broad trends that will shape it for the foreseeable future. Here are 4 medical device manufacturing trends to keep an eye on in 2020.
The Gray Wave
The gray wave is a term that refers to the rapidly aging population. Increasing life expectancies combined with declining fertility rates are creating a population that is much older than average. In the U.S., around 15 percent of the population is over the age of 65. In 2060, it will be nearly 25 percent.
This will dramatically increase the demand for medical devices because this age group already accounts for a third of healthcare consumption. On average, healthcare spending for each elderly person is three times that of a working-age adult and five times that of a child. More importantly, this trend is truly global. Currently, roughly 8 percent of the world population is over 65. In 2060, it will be 18 percent. This guarantees a bright future for medical device manufacturing firms.
Increasing and Evolving Regulation
The medical industry has always been subject to greater regulation than average because of the impact these products have. That trend is going to continue. However, the greater shift has been toward universally standardized regulations.
For example, the European Union issued its own European Medical Device Regulation. This standard is much stricter than the prior AIMDD and MDD standards. The new standard was rolled out in addition to the FDA’s stricter quality standards. Yet both are seeking to come into alignment with the International Standards Organization or ISO standard 13485. This means that firms will eventually need to meet one universal set of standards to be approved for sale in both the E.U. and U.S.
The Fragmentation of the Medical Device Manufacturing Market
The medical device manufacturing market is diversifying. Healthcare companies are shopping around for lower-priced goods, and they’re more willing to consider new suppliers. The needs of an aging population as well as an expanding global market in general are resulting in a wave of new products hitting the market at all price points.
At the same time, medical device manufacturers are increasingly able to draw on a global network of suppliers for parts. This has the potential to lower their prices, but it increases the complexity of their supply chain. It also increases competition for medical device manufacturers. They’re under greater pressure to increase quality and lower costs. Automation is one way to achieve this, while outsourcing manufacturing is another.
The Rise of the Cloud
Companies across the board are adopting cloud-based solutions such as cloud-based enterprise software. However, we’re also seeing consumers push for it.
For example, they are often saving personal medical data to the cloud to be reviewed by their healthcare provider. Companies are also starting to monitor performance data for equipment in the field via data sent to the cloud. This is essential to diagnosing equipment errors and failures remotely and providing timely service. This is creating demand for connectivity from medical devices. For example, an aging population and the desire to lower healthcare costs is also pushing companies to come up with ways to monitor patients in their homes.
Medical devices are essential to delivering care to consumers. However, medical device manufacturers face additional challenges and opportunities above and beyond those seen in other fields.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!