This post is sponsored by IQVIA MedTech.
Digital health products and services, expected to hit a market size of $120 billion in the next five or six years, are seeing rapid development and uptake by healthcare organizations around the world.
There are more than 318,500 currently available health apps and about 200 more are added every day. Apps focused on health conditions and healthcare constitute 40% of all apps – an increase from 27% in 2015.
These apps, and the information they generate and store, bring significant implications and untapped promise for MedTech. Digital data can both inform and connect all areas of the business, from product development to compliance efforts to commercial strategies. By feeding real-world digital data back into these business functions, companies can orchestrate their processes and strategies to improve outcomes for both patients and their business.
Digital health’s untapped promise
While digital health has become one of the most ubiquitous phrases in the industry, few enterprises, health systems or even clinicians define it in the same way. In its broadest sense, digital health refers to the convergence of healthcare and technology with the goal of improving health and wellness. Most often, health systems and companies think of it as falling into one of two categories: connected technologies or software as a device.
In bringing new products to market, or when incorporating digital technology into care delivery, many organizations simply consider the specific function and user experience for connected technologies or software as a device, but that perspective overlooks the potential value of the data those technologies generate.
Data science takes digital health to the next level, combining people, technology and analytics to bring the right products to market and improve patient care. The implications for MedTech companies are significant, but most firms’ data science capabilities are in their infancy. They may struggle to gather and analyze all the data required to effectively research their target markets, identify opportunities and improve products while still focusing on core business processes. The rapid escalation of digital health compounds that challenge by providing rapidly increasing volumes of data in different formats and structures that is meaningless to companies that don’t know how to leverage it.
As a result, leaders are turning to partners with domain expertise in the MedTech space that can not only provide access to data but also assist with the integration and ultimate analysis of the data.
Access to data. The ability to tap into real-world usable data and gain meaningful insights is the game-changer that can set MedTech companies apart from the competition. To be useful, data must be ample and aggregated from numerous sources such as deidentified patient records, global sales figures, IoT data feeds and more.
Integration. Integrating multiple disparate sets of data can be challenging. In healthcare this becomes more daunting given the need to protect patient privacy and account for geographic differences and partial data sets.
Analytics. Data is meaningless when an organization lacks the expertise to interpret it. Data scientists who specialize in healthcare must curate data feeds so that analytics engines and algorithms can be employed to pull the data most critical to a company’s specific technology.
The strategic advantage of data
Broad data access and analytics have the potential to transform the creation and implementation of any medical technology. A strategic data partnership:
- Shortens the development cycle. The ability to quickly conduct virtual trials and review historic data enables development teams solve problems and identify needs much faster.
- Facilitates concept-to-market orchestration. Companies that leverage the power of data break down organizational silos, aligning every department — from R&D to commercial launch to post-market services — to make better decisions and focus on achieving the same goals. Accomplishing organizational alignment requires that everyone have access to the same data — an impossibility if data isn’t shared, and analytics aren’t coordinated.
- Improves product performance. Ongoing access to relevant data from outside sources can inform product updates and fine-tune product capabilities. Combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning tools, data can be used to predict problems before they happen, enabling development teams to prevent issues that would cause downtime, errors, or other adverse events.
- Streamline compliance. A strategic data partner can assist MedTech companies in collecting the data required for the EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR) and other emerging compliance standards. Implemented correctly, measures for compliance with new data regulations can become opportunities to enhance the product development process.
The rising tide of digital health means the volume and quantity of available healthcare data continues to grow exponentially, with researchers predicting a compound annual growth rate of 36% through 2025. The challenge for MedTech firms is to create partnerships that leverage that data to make it both meaningful and usable to improve business operations as well as patient health. With data as the link between clinical development, regulatory compliance and commercial strategies, MedTech companies can orchestrate more efficient operations, achieve a higher level of success and gain recognition as leaders in the industry.
IQVIA MedTech solutions and services help medical device and diagnostics companies to innovate with confidence, maximize opportunities, and, ultimately, drive human health outcomes safely forward. Learn more at www.iqviamedtech.com.