The payoff in Medical is beyond the obstacles where product lifetimes can be 10 to 20 years long. Hang in there!
Within this space there are double digit growth opportunities for certain. My bets are:
1) in the Patient Diagnostics/Monitoring & Therapy sub-segment shrinking the existing equipment in size and power - making them portable and connected.
2) Portable imaging
3) The long play is in remote patient monitoring (RPM) with risk of continued unfavorable reimbursement climate from CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). RPM has the potential of reducing healthcare costs by attacking health trends - taking action before chronic disease or illness.
The medical market provides a very real opportunity for hardware and software suppliers (Yep. Up and to the right.) It is a different industry too, so internally organizing groups to specifically address the special requirements for these customers is recommended.
COTs, particularly in processing and software tend to have such short lifecycles that medical customers are having to requalify before completing the approval process. This leads to a never-ending cyclical logistics nightmare. Because of this, prices are higher for technology used in medical because of the difficulty in leveraging high volume platforms in this space.
However, there is a great deal of interest here from major technology suppliers, so I think these issues will be/are being addressed which will be beneficial to the technology industry all they way down to the consumer. (Oh... and drive that forecast?)
Until we as a country realize that health care is not a right but is a responsibility of the individual, the government will corrupt this market place to no end. We have potentates in Washington that don?t have a clue what a market ?is? but muse about ?feelings.?
So stay as far away from this arena as possible unless you have an army of lobbyist and have a vanguard already present in Washington. In this environment, the best lobbyists will win not the best ideas. Need I say more???
I did read Steve's blog http://stephanohr.typepad.com/ and I agree that to a "hammer, everything looks like a nail", BUT not that this is a bad thing in a discussion panel. There are many different "hammers" in the panel at ESC and each one can give his perspective to the "where is the money" question. Too bad we have such a short time.
I have recently enganging the discussion of this topic by mentioning Dr. Christensen publication "The Innovator's Prescription" - http://www.amazon.com/Innovators-Prescription-Disruptive-Solution-Health/dp/0071592083. There are a few disruptions to the current system that are necessary for moving ahead in making the healthcare system better. One of them is the drastic simplification of medical devices for diagnostic and treatment. The EASY BUTTON device. Not an easier to use of the "same thing" but a much more sophysticated and intelligent device, that is also simpler to perate and more precise on it's outcome. I believe, this is a "huge" opportunity for the many creative minds out there.
The problem, and one of the reason for the previously cited boneyard of ideas, is the proccess of going form an idea to a product. The domain expert and their embedded design engineers and technology providers, have to face the increased need for embedded software content (uP, uC, DSP, FPGA - algorithm desig), better graphical user interface, more reliability, shorter evolutionary life cycles, smaller footprint, more comprehensive HW and SW testing, etc...
I bring the perspective that we must not only simplify the "products" in itself, but also abstract the complexity of the tools for design, development, deployment, and test of the next generation of medical devices.