Devices & Diagnostics, Hospitals

Like pharma, medtech players seek to go beyond the device

A recent report show how top medical device companies are seeking to develop services as a core competency as they come to the aid of hospitals navigating value-based care.

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Change or die may be a cliché, but it also happens to be true.

It is at the heart of the recognition that a device-only focus in healthcare will not be a winning strategy for medical technology companies as the nation transitions to a value-based care model and hospitals scamper to adjust.

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There are too many challenges — both operational and clinical — that cannot be wished away or addressed with an implant or piece of  hardware. As hospitals and providers become more accountable for the care that they receive, they in turn are asking vendors to step up and help with services that can improve operational efficiency, improve outcomes and reduce costs.

Medtech has also realized —yes another cliché coming your way — that a rising tide lifts all boats. So it is in their very interest to help hospitals win the value-based care battle.

That has led to a flurry of announcements where big medtech names flex their services muscle – be it Stryker, or Zimmer Biomet or Medtronic.

A recent report entitled Beyond the Device: From producer to problem solver from PwC’s Health Research Institute shows that the trend toward services is pervasive. Both value-based care and the emergence of new entrants who are addressing healthcare’s myriad problems with services leveraging technology, are prompting top medtech companies to offer their own services to hospital customers.

Here’s the chart that shows how services is becoming a core competency among top 10 device makers by 2014 revenue that PwC reviewed:

PwC chart

Just as Big Pharma is aiming to use services that go beyond the pill, device makers are similarly following suit. In September 2013, Medtronic launched its Hospital Solutions Business to manage the cath labs of hospitals, initially in Europe although now the business has customers in the U.S. as well.

Stryker’s services business — Stryker Performance Solutions — launched in 2009 and this April unveiled JointCOACH, a web-based portal to help facilitate communication between joint replacement patients with their hospital care teams, from surgery preparation through the post-operative
recovery period, the PwC report found.

In late July, Zimmer Biomet announced the launch of Signature Solutions, a primarily services offering for the musculoskeletal division of hospitals to help them maintain good patient outcomes and gain cost and procedural efficiencies.

Signature Solutions is combining the company’s existing consulting business with a curated set of technologies and services that Zimmer Biomet already owns or will obtain through acquisitions. Initially the offering will target the musculoskeletal service lines of select academic hospitals across the nation. In 2017, the service is expected to be available more broadly.

As top device makers look for ways to help hospitals navigate the healthcare landscape, there are other ways they can assist – aside from building new services and taking on risk with performance guarantees. They can retool their products   to help them generate data, PwC’s report recommends.

“Medical device makers should integrate their data and insights into physician workflows,” according to the report. ” Physicians will view devices that deliver data as well as automated, relevant and actionable insights as far more valuable than devices that do not.”