The new year presents new challenges and opportunities for the medical design field. A number of trends are changing how medical products will be designed and used. Innovative approaches to product design can result in products that save people money while improving their quality of life.
The Industry Will Give More Consideration to Vulnerable Populations
Dan Gebremedhin of Mobi Health News predicted that 2016 is the year the medical design industry will take a closer look at cost and quality of care for vulnerable populations. This group includes people with low income, people in developing countries with little access to quality care and people at risk of negative health outcomes due to demographics. Individuals in low-income populations require affordable options that perform exactly what’s needed and nothing more, to keep costs low. Design firms with a strong understanding of the user’s needs can develop more cost-effective products and pass those savings on to the customer.
A growing number of businesses will be learning the financial strain that healthcare costs can put on their employees. Bob Kocher and Bryan Roberts of Fortune predicted that employers will start to treat healthcare costs, “as seriously as travel expenses” this year. Businesses will support rules to manage healthcare costs just as they established preferred travel partners.
“Wearables will be replacing more expensive medical therapies.”
Large Medtech Firms Will Invest in Wearable Devices
Wearable devices are very popular in healthcare—from health tracking devices such as Fitbit to more sophisticated devices for clinical diagnoses. Kocher and Roberts predicted that wearables will be used as a more cost-effective option, replacing more expensive medical therapies. They added these new wearable devices will, “offer less invasive but highly effective treatments for diseases and adopt business models based upon medical value creation instead of wellness, entertainment, and education.”
The Internet of Things Will Affect Medical Products
Brian Buntz of Qmed highlighted the growing trend of tech companies partnering with medical product firms. For example, IBM Watson and Medtronic partnering on a diabetes app. Apple and Samsung are both developing health apps for their smart watches. These tools can provide health tips and feedback to users, acting as a very affordable and individualized preventative care.
Just like any other industry, companies are handling more user data than ever before. The challenge is how they will harness and use this customer data to provide superior care through innovative medical products.