Wearable technologies give a boost to the adoption of medtech

4th July 2018
Alex Lynn

In the recent analysis, Healthcare Innovations in Emerging Economies, Frost & Sullivan found that medtech markets are among the most competitive in the world and are dominated by large multinational companies (MNCs), offering a wide range of products and solutions for the most commonly occurring diseases. 

These market giants will soon have to turn their attention to emerging markets for sustainable business growth and performance, especially due to the huge patient turnover rates across most reputed healthcare facilities. Breaking into the healthcare sector of regional markets, which tend to be highly regulated, will be a huge challenge, as regional medtech manufacturing companies have a high degree of influence over local market suppliers and regulatory policy making. They do not have to deal with the channel conflicts that global medtech companies are subjected to when operating within new markets, especially emerging economies.

The analysis also offers a snapshot of the current industry scenario, covering market growth, top players, major drivers, and challenges faced by companies operating in emerging markets, especially India, China, and Taiwan. It also discusses game changing technologies and research initiatives that drive business performance. Additionally, it takes an in-depth look at the areas transforming customer experience along the chain of care.

Arjunvasan Ambigapathy, Research Analyst at TechVision, stated: "Medtech giants with footprints in emerging markets can address the market leadership issue by decentralising R&D programs. Setting up regional innovation centres is critical to understanding the needs and behaviours of local customers during various stages of the product development cycle and to ensure new product development (NPD) projects consider the product lifecycle rather than focus only on product commercialisation."

Hospitals in emerging markets have made use of advanced cognitive computing techniques and solutions such as IBM Watson for the early detection and diagnosis of cancer and the added benefits of creating a customised treatment plan for patients.

Meanwhile, the efforts to miniaturise sensors and electronics used to gather physiological data from patients have resulted in wearable digital health monitoring systems, which are becoming highly popular. Tools like wearable technologies that aid in the collection of personal health data, along with the implementation of Big Data analytics, cloud computing, and Internet of Things (IoT), are expected to accelerate the shift toward more precise and personalised delivery models.

In addition to technology advancements, local medtech companies in emerging nations are taking strong initiatives to make the most of the tactical advantages they have over global majors. Some of these efforts and advantages include:

  • A sales force that is five to ten times the size of the direct sales force of MNCs in emerging markets and leaner organisational structure. With production facilities in tier two and three cities, local players have a low cost baseline and can price their products competitively.
  • Knowledge of consumer attitudes and requirements. This helps them develop products within a reasonable time frame and establish the right design controls in the early stages of the product development cycle.
  • Providing medical supplies on online retail platforms such as Flipkart and Amazon India.
  • Strong venture capital presence that has contributed to the mushrooming of analytics firms from India, China, Singapore, and Israel. These firms have developed solutions that employ large patient data sets to localise drug development processes or customise the design of medical implants to suit local market needs and expectations.

Arjunvasan Ambigapathy added: "While they enjoy a favourable investment and R&D climate, local players tend to source locally, and this often compromises the quality of their solutions. They can eliminate this challenge to a great extent by adhering to a single supplier and collaborating periodically to improve the quality of materials sourced."

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