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The Top Five Technology Trends for the Medical Device Industry in 2022

2022-02-08

More businesses than ever are embracing digital transformation as a result of the pandemic and its effects on the economy over the past two years - and the medical device industry is not immune.

In an effort to garner insights on top tech trends for 2022, we spent the last couple of months meeting with medical device manufacturers and industry experts to discuss their thoughts on how technology will influence 2022.

Here are five trends they identified across industries that specifically resonated with our customers in the medical device market:

1. Manufacturers are Embracing Digital Transformation and It Begins with Industry Clouds

Industry clouds provide a shared platform (or in some cases two or more connected platforms) with unified data, enterprise-wide workflow automation, and comprehensive business intelligence customized to meet the needs of a specific industry. Enabling greater responsiveness, visibility and collaboration across the entire value chain allows the latest generation of industry clouds to accelerate time to market, improve customer satisfaction and reduce costs - all huge values to buyers. Google and Microsoft recently announced their industry solutions for manufacturing, joining established cloud providers such as Salesforce, SAP and Oracle – and this is only the beginning.

2. Med Tech and High Tech are Converging to Deliver Quality Products to Market Faster

High tech manufacturers, especially those focused on consumer wearables, are moving toward medical devices and Software as a Medical Device (SaMD). At the same time, more and more medical devices are connected and delivering innovative patient care that was not available just a few years ago. High tech manufacturers are embracing the need for, and value of, integrating quality and compliance with their design process while med tech companies are demanding more efficient and faster product development processes.

3. It is Essential for Product Development to Integrate Quality and Compliance Earlier in the Life Cycle

Quality and compliance embedded as an integral part of the product development process accelerates time to market, reduces costs, and improves long term quality. Most manufacturers focus on quality and compliance starting with the manufacturing phase and continuing through the service life of products. Finding and addressing quality issues after a product is built, or even shipped, is only half the battle. In 2022, competitive medical device manufacturers that include quality and compliance in their product development process will reap the benefits of an improved bottom line while increasing long term customer satisfaction.

PrinterPrezz Inc., a designer and manufacturer of next generation spinal implant medical devices combining polymer and metal 3D printing, nanotechnologies and surgical expertise, is one of those manufacturers. Understanding the importance of leveraging a cloud platform to enable quality and compliance throughout new product development, it has quickly experienced value from a connected communication stream with a single source of truth.

“I’ve been involved with many quality systems over the years. Now, with the cloud, we don’t have to focus on manual data - all the data we collect is a living entity, and it’s invaluable. We are already seeing the benefits of the continued contribution from many versus a single individual - even though we are at the early stages of implementing our electronic platform. Integrating quality throughout cross functional departments helps us identify things like the impact of country requirements, customer input, etc. Having quality and compliance involved on the front end of the process makes things move much more smoothly and enables us to justify what we can sell much more quickly,” said Cynthia Hitchcock, SVP RA/QA & Compliance at PrinterPrezz.

4. The Market is Missing the Big Picture on Long-Term Supply Chain Shifts that Will Have Significant Impacts for Years to Come

This is just the beginning of a long-term supply chain shift, and the medical device industry will need to plan accordingly if it is relying on offshore resources or strategizing to move onshore/nearshore. The long-term decoupling between China and the U.S. will completely change the supply chain model focused on global low-cost sourcing that has developed over the past 30 years. The Chinese supply chain is not going away, if anything it will gain importance worldwide - but it will become a challenge for some manufacturers to lower the risk of doing business with countries like China. If this is you, the time is “yesterday” to start developing a new supply chain strategy.

5. Inflation will Continue to Rise

The U.S. inflation rate surged to 6.8% in 2021, its highest point since 1982, and this trend is likely to continue. Unfortunately, the medical device industry will not be able to avoid the rising cost of raw materials, commodities, components, etc. The move from a global, single-threaded supply chain to a geographically distributed, redundant supply chain (described in #4) will increase the cost of goods sold for medical device manufacturers, and they’ll incur the incremental cost because it will be necessary to make their products. Digitally savvy manufacturers will reduce expenses by having complete visibility across multiple suppliers to quickly adjust to lower cost and lower risk components of equal or greater quality. But most medical device manufacturers are lagging in this area, so any supply chain interruption will force their hand with higher-priced suppliers, passing it on to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

There’s no doubt market conditions like the supply chain disruptions dropped into our lives at the beginning of the pandemic will remain for some time, and most likely get worse before they get better. Unmet demand is more than an inconvenience, hindering growth and new business opportunities, but adopting some of these technology trends for 2022 will help your business remain competitive.

Article source: Medical Product Sourcing