The medical equipment industry’s remarkable growth during the past decade was slowed only by pervasive industry changes. A return to widespread growth will be difficult as demands for innovation, personalized care, and budget restrictions intensify. Given these conditions, industry manufacturers need to look beyond traditional business models to capitalize on new burgeoning markets opportunities.
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Although stand-alone medical devices for monitoring home-bound patients exist, future developments may make these devices less obtrusive as they are integrated into tables, chairs and desks. Devices capable of monitoring a wide variety of health indicators for analysis and evaluation would come pre-equipped into home furniture. The growing number of patients in need of care will be able to take advantage of more convenient at-home care, such as smart medical furniture, and avoid expensive hospital visits and stays.
The market possibilities are wide open. Medical equipment makers must act quickly to move ahead of potential competitors, such as furniture makers, who are also pursuing this market. Early market entrants will shape and drive this business.
Meanwhile, the amount of clinical data available on the Internet has made traditional research sources antiquated and limited. Finding medical research and measurements online has become as easy as booking an airplane flight. To adapt and productize this source of innovation, medical equipment manufacturers can become service providers that deliver accurate, detailed medical data to hospitals. By outsourcing R&D function to manufacturers, medical professionals would achieve lower-cost and more efficient benefits than performing the function in-house.
Medical equipment manufacturers also have an opportunity to expand their market by sharing manufacturing operations, a model that has achieved great success among consumer goods manufacturers. Applying this model, the development of medical equipment would be shared by all the major medical equipment manufacturers at common production sites operated by contract manufacturers. Sharing a common assembly line would lower per-unit costs, thereby decreasing prices of products.
--Armin Meissner is a senior executive with Accenture’s Electronics & High-Tech Group. He can be reached at email@example.com