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Driving MedTech to the phase of growth

MedTech (medical technology) and medical devices market has long been an important contributor of growth in the healthcare industry. They include most of all medical devices, which simplify the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and illnesses. The MedTech industry is being reshaped by digital health and consumers’ expectations to receive care how, when, and where they want. The revenue in MedTech market in India is expected to reach around USD 8.02 bn at a CAGR of over 7 percent with the rise in awareness about preventive home healthcare, and rising income levels in the younger generation. While Covid did have a negative impact on this market, it came back strongly in 2021, and has been growing ever since due to its diversifying multifunctional usage and health improvement attributes. Another reason is the shift away from traditional healthcare models, and healthcare leaders adopting digital health for improving health outcomes.

Diagnosis and intervention are two key attributes of the MedTech market, which attempt to solve various health problems and physical mobility. One of the biggest stable drivers for growth is the shift toward home care, and the increasing number of conditions that can be addressed in the ageing population and the integration of its applications in everyday wearables and smart devices. Digitization will be another driver of high growth rates due to the technological advancement of more tailor-made data-driven products.

While many products/services are available in the market, the key technologies making impact in the growth of MedTech industry include:

  • Wearable devices have the potential to help and support senior citizens’ improve their quality of life. Individuals can wear sensors to track various health matrices, aid in rehabilitation and treatment evaluation, identify potential illness, monitor safety concerns, such as falls, and serve as emergency alert systems. Fitness-tracking watches can also help encourage not just older adults but also young fitness enthusiasts to monitor their physical activity and sleep behavior
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is making strides in early disease detection and personalized medicine, and has the potential to significantly reduce the burden of chronic disease and allow people to live healthier lives for longer. Predictive prevention can revolutionize public health and prevent people from developing illnesses as computing power and algorithms become more sophisticated. Artificial conversationalists and chatbots have also been used to reduce loneliness among the ageing population by providing social support. Voice-controlled intelligent personal assistants, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home provide companionship, reminders, emergency communication, and even entertainment for older people living alone, while also reducing the burden on caregivers.
  • Medical robotics include assistive walking devices that help in facilitating mobility, maneuverability, and independence. These devices are enhanced with information and communication technology that can detect falls with the use of alarm systems. Medical exoskeletons are also gaining approval for home use to rehabilitate those recovering from accidents or strokes. Medical exoskeletons and prosthetics can enhance mobility and independence, allowing seniors to improve their quality of life. Advances in technology have enabled the development of robots that are closely adjusted to the needs of the elderly. In a care environment, this can improve organizational efficiency, quality of care, and resident wellbeing.
  • The use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) promises many benefits for older adults, such as promoting a healthy lifestyle with health-related gaming, maintaining social contact via digital interfaces, supporting rehabilitation, and aiding in everyday life tasks. The use of VR and AR in psychotherapy and rehabilitation can contribute to maintaining older adults’ motor abilities, fitness, balance, and memory. Moreover, VR intervention programs can be used to train cognitive and physical functions in older adults with mild cognitive impairments.
  • Remote patient monitoring is useful in managing chronic disease, providing post-acute care, monitoring the safety of the elderly population, and increasing older patients’ participation in managing their health. The technology ensures providers are continually looking at the current condition of their patient’s health, rather than depending on static snapshots of health data, such as weight, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, blood glucose level, and so on, which could be days, weeks, or even months old. It also slows the progression of chronic disease and ensures ongoing recovery after being discharged from an acute care facility.

Intelligent drug dispensing
Telemedicine is increasingly being used to help the elderly maintain their independence and continue living in their own homes. Elderly individuals have become one of the main target groups for telemedicine technologies, with many devices available for people with chronic health conditions and those with limited mobility or memory problems, typical of advanced age. One of the key attributes of telemedicine systems is electronic connectivity, which transcends time and distance barriers. Telemedicine, therefore, decreases uneven distribution of quality of care and socioeconomic and geographic disparities in access to care.

While the industry is at crossroads facing unprecedented pressure and disruption – including affordability challenges, evolving patient, consumer expectations, and increasing volumes of health data, MedTech players who leverage the knowledge of therapeutics, patients, providers, and data generated from these medical devices will have an edge in devising new products and strategies that will become more relevant.

While the MedTech industry witnessed significant developments, launches, implementations, and adoption of new medical devices technologies in the past decade, however, the high cost of devices, regulatory hurdles, reimbursement pressure, and healthcare budget constraints have challenged market expansion across various territories and segments. The high barriers to entry made it possible for only big multinational players to enter the market but, of recent, the industry has witnessed domestic players also catering to Indian and international markets through niche products.

While the growth potential in MedTech is huge, technology and collaboration are key to addressing the challenges of implementation complexity and finding the right partners in developing the right connected products, services, and programs for patients and providers take medical technology to the next phase of growth.

Democratization of healthcare is possible through use of digital means, which also implies that the MedTech industry must keep up with the demand, changing customer expectations, and integration with traditional healthcare models. Delinking healthcare with affluence levels can become the biggest factor to making quality healthcare accessible to everyone in our country.

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