Innovation in Medical Technology Sector

Innovation is more than merely important to medical technology; it is actually the essence of what the industry does. This drive to innovate is important on a number of levels. With product lifecycles in the sector averaging only 18 months between improvements, the drive to advance and innovate within the industry is continuous; probably only the semiconductor and information technology (IT) industries have shorter product lifecycles.
As an indication of the industry’s commitment to innovation, in 2013 more than 10,000 patent applications were filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) in the field of medical technology, that is equivalent to 7 % of the total number of applications, that is more than any other technical field. Since 2001, the number of EPO filings in the field has doubled.
In the medical device programme the term Innovative technologies refers to novel medical device solutions developed to address health problems and improve quality of life. Of particular interest are technologies suitable for use in low- and middle income countries that have the ability to enhance the access to essential health products and services leading to improved health for the population most in need.
Innovation in medical technology improves peoples’ lives, and brings the benefits of treatment to individuals whose conditions may previously have been difficult or impossible to treat. At the same time, innovation is not only improving products, it is improving the way that healthcare is delivered, making healthcare systems more efficient and more sustainable.
Furthermore, the continuous innovation within the medical technology sector is helping to drive the competitiveness of Europe as a knowledge-based economy, bringing increased prosperity to the region.
Key findings of innovation in medical technology
– The medical technology innovation ecosystem, long centered in the United States, is moving offshore. Innovators are going outside the United States to seek clinical data, new-product registration, and first revenue.
– US consumers aren’t always the first to benefit from medical technology and could eventually be last. Innovators already are going first to market in Europe and, by 2020, are likely will move into emerging countries next given the first sign of improvements in healthcare policy.
– The nature of innovation is changing as developing nations become the leading markets for smaller, faster, more affordable devices that enable delivery of care anywhere at lower cost.
Some of the latest innovations in medical technology are as follows:
– 3D Printed biological matrials,
– Wearable technology such as Google Glass,
– Cutting back to Melanoma biopsies,
– Microchips modelling clinical trials,
– Needle free diabetes care,
– Electronic aspirin,
– Robotic check-ups,
– Valve job with heart,
– Optogenetics,
– Hybrid Operation Theaters, and
– Digestible sensors
Since the years 2013-2014 were chock-full of advances in healthcare; from diagnostic tools that fit in your pocket to a flurry of breakthroughs in HIV research, these were eventful years, and the stage is set for even greater leaps in 2015 and beyond where there will be scope for faster, cheaper paper test detects and diagnoses.