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Increase Your Knowledge With Advice on Technology, Cost Pressures, Patient Outcomes

Each year, we publish THE ORTHOPAEDIC INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT® with the goal to help you identify new technology, acquisition targets and competitor products, as well as bolster your sales and business plans. The report aims to educate you on the both the state and the future of the orthopaedic industry, which as a whole generated $49.3 billion in product sales in 2017.

As part of the production of the report, we conducted a survey with nearly 200 orthopaedic professionals (device companies, suppliers, consultants, etc.). One of the questions in this survey asked, “For 2018 and beyond, what one piece of advice can you offer your peers?” Responses included tried-and-true business advice, “Solve your customers’ worst problems,” “Create a positive culture to keep talent” and “Good enough is no longer good enough.” We thought you would be interested to read some of the industry-specific responses we received to provide perspective on the priorities of your industry colleagues.

This is an exciting time for orthopaedics. New technologies, such as additive manufacturing, coatings, minimally invasive devices, robotics and software solutions, continue to provide opportunities for device companies, hospitals and patients. With that being said, technology was a term that was mentioned by multiple survey respondents:

“Look for openings in markets that have not traditionally adopted new technologies. There are significant opportunities to create value for emerging technologies as the market shifts to the new healthcare model.”

“Stay focused on process improvements and technological improvements (better data collection, controls, etc.).”

“Embrace change. Disruptive technologies are in place that will provide opportunities for those that embrace them.”

“New technology will only be adopted if it can demonstrate improved clinical and financial outcomes.”

Industry recognizes that the rising cost of healthcare must be curbed while patient outcomes must be simultaneously improved. As we noted in THE ORTHOPAEDIC INDUSTRY ANNUAL REPORT, “efforts to contain cost of orthopaedic care and create efficiency and transparency throughout the industry have led to a number of market forces that impacted the industry in 2017 and will continue to change its dynamics for the foreseeable future.“  In other words, cost drivers and pressures are at the forefront of every device company’s strategic plans. In that vein, several survey respondents provided cost-related advice:

“We should always place patients before profits. If you meet the needs of your customer (surgeon, hospital, patient, etc.), profits will follow.”

“There are a lot of patients with spine problems looking for better solutions. We think providing improved outcomes and reduced invasiveness will still drive growth and opportunity.”

“Ensure that new products address a real problem and that patients, hospitals and payers will benefit.”      

“Focus on less-invasive procedures with positive patient outcomes that are cost effective.”

“Don’t miss the trend toward lower costs and higher performance devices to support the move toward outpatient surgery centers for reconstructive joints.”

“Strive to provide clinical effectiveness from a cost-effective price point.”

Some respondents highlighted that developing an informed understanding and acumen for the industry is critical to professional success:

“Know your product, know your competitors and know your market space.”

“We need to learn to adapt to changing market conditions, i.e. commoditization, with a much more dynamic and less skilled workforce.”

“Never stop learning and studying the markets.”

In closing, we provide our own three pieces of advice below, linked to content and OMTEC® 2018 sessions that we find useful and relevant to the points made:

  1. The medical device regulatory landscape is a long and winding road—correctly navigating it includes the device design stage.
  1. It will not be long before new products are introduced with embedded electronics and sensors—to capitalize on this paradigm shift, familiarize yourself with sensors in medical device design.
  1. Unique device identification is expanding globally—now is the time to increase your knowledge of this often confusing topic.

We are constantly reminded how important it is touch base with industry on a regular basis, nourish our roots and keep our perspectives both sharp and broad. What advice would you give to your colleagues?

Rob Meyer is ORTHOWORLD’s Senior Editor. Please send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..