Buyers Guide is a journey undertaken by our team every year. It is a mammoth and thankless task to capture concisely the wide spectrum of products and solutions offered by the various brands. Yet it is a challenge we feel we need to take – we owe it to our readers, the buyer community.
We do not claim to list every product or vendor in a particular category, rather provide our readers with the information they need to make smart purchasing decisions, sometimes using specific vendors or products as exemplars of those features and services.
The healthcare industry is facing challenging headwinds. Hospitals are operating on tighter budgets, which are triggering a transformation of the purchasing process and the way medical products are being bought and valued. Decisions that used to be the sole preserve of doctors are now also made by regulators, hospital administrators, and other non-clinicians. Many payers and providers are evaluating medical devices statistically on the basis of their safety and procedural efficacy – and increasingly in terms of cost and value. Providers are seeking sources of information that show the reputation, quality, and effectiveness of products and services – specifically, a neutral evaluation of the value, productivity enhancement, and service that the product or service delivers. This environment magnifies the need for every purchasing decision to meet these goals. At the same time, the medical products industry has become more competitive. Emerging markets, once seen as a safe haven for premium products, thanks to their growing middle classes and rising investments in healthcare, are leapfrogging developed economies and introducing cutting-edge purchasing processes and pricing mechanisms.
ROI remains the top consideration. When replacing or maintaining existing equipment, age of the current equipment, the maintenance record, and whether maintenance is still supported by the manufacturer become important. Getting value – the best product for the price and safety – outcomes and ease of use are also important criteria.
While the contours of the medical devices industry continue to be defined, radical change is inevitable, and the companies that embrace it will both shape the industry and profit from their efforts.