6 Medtech Trends to Watch in 2017


From a predicted slow but steady revenue-growth outlook, and a rising Asian market for the medtech industry, to multi-functional devices and wearables, medical device manufacturers will be watching several trends this year.

Slow but Steady
The $390 billion-plus medical device market will experience growth in 2017, but slower growth than previously expected, reports Kalorama Information, which publishes health care-related market research. Its industry forecast predicts a 2.8 percent average growth over the next five years. “While the user base for medical devices is growing, cost-cutting mechanisms have impacted price increases.”

United States Still the Focus, with Asia Rising
Kalorama also reports that, though most revenues from medical devices will still be earned in the United States this year, China and the rest of Southeast Asia will see far greater growth than the overall market in 2017.

Companies Still Seek Innovation
A challenging market has only encouraged the industry to keep funding research, says Kalorama, which estimates that medical device companies spend an average of 7 percent of revenue on R&D, which is higher than most industries.

The Scout medical device can measure temperature, heart rate, ECG, and other variables. Photo courtesy: Scanadu.

More Multi-Functional Devices
More medtech manufacturers are making multi-functional devices that can be used for a range of applications, according to Qmed.com. Devices that are specialized are falling out of favor at hospitals because of the premium put on floor space. An example Qmed cited is the Scout device (pictured), from Silicon Valley-based Scanadu. The device can measure pulse oximetry, temperature, heart rate, ECG, and other variables.

A Budding Bioelectronics Sector
Investingnews.com recently reported  that drug makers are moving into the medical device business. Case in point: GlaxoSmithKline is betting on bioelectronics. These tiny, pill-sized implants work by adjusting nerve signals. The industry has only recently made strides toward developing them. Last year GSK joined forces with Google’s Verily to form a spin-off bioelectronics-centered venture.

Wearables remain popular. This example, shown to illustrate the technology inside a pair of eyeglasses that is a fitness tracker, is from VSP Global. Proto Labs provided rapid injection molding services to help VSP validate its product design.

Wearables Still Popular
From glucose monitors to exercise trackers, devices with a wearable component will experience revenue growth that’s double the overall device market, reports Kalorama. The global wearable medical device market was valued at just over $13 billion last year. Health care is among the fastest growing segments for wearables because of the overwhelming need to monitor diseases and because of the aging population.


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