The Future of MedTech and Medical Devices - Al Reid

Al Reid is a transformational and visionary business leader in financial management and operational matters. With over 30 years of Fortune 50 experience, he is a skilled leader in providing and executing business insights, strategic solutions, and opportunities for growth. Al served as the Vice President of the Corporate Development Organization of Abbott Laboratories for most of his professional career, and his leadership and strategic efforts were instrumental in key growth initiatives for the company in the MedTech industry.

The Medical technology industry is a fast-growing industry that provides medical devices through tech innovations. With a rising prevalence of diseases and increasing access to health care in low-income countries, medical technology and innovation has never been more important. Unfortunately, the ongoing pandemic has hindered the collaborative efforts of MedTech professionals by limiting access to physical laboratories and group efforts.

As a veteran of the MedTech industry for over two decades, Al Reid was interviewed by the University of North Carolina for an insight into the industry and the future of medical devices.

What is the typical business model in medical devices?

“Today, there is a great need for MedTech companies to quickly adapt their business model and value propositions in an environment that is now centered on cost, quality of care, and access. Presently all MedTech competitors are facing the challenges of tight government budgets and pricing pressure which have led to stringent cost controls with fewer resources for research and innovation.

“The need to adopt technology faster will continue to be the catalyst for new medical devices. There are high manufacturing costs and regulatory challenges stemming from more complex and highly personalized devices — a vital alternative for MedTech is outsourcing to contract manufacturing organizations (CMO). Hence, the need for greater collaboration between MNCs and smaller partners will be vital to ensure proactive real-time quality assurance.”

What about the role of the government in your business?

“The government is instrumental in the approval, regulation, and reimbursement practices of medical devices. Agencies like the Health and Human Services (HHS), Food Drug Administration (FDA), and Center’s for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS), play a pivotal role in managing medical devices. In addition, MedTech companies should expect tighter regulatory scrutiny from the government. Therefore, it will be important for MedTech companies to improve their capabilities, monitor changes in the payer and government policy trends and incorporate the implications into their R&D and product portfolio management decisions.”

What are the challenges you see facing the industry in the coming years?

“The unique challenge of healthcare is the ongoing desire for affordable medical solutions. Since governments are not early adopters of technology, it is important to understand who the adopter is and who will pay for the proposed solutions. Rapid and continual advances in technology will continue to change the adoption of digital health. Finally, providers should view medical device companies as partners, with both sides having an incentive to collect and analyze data to improve care pathways and patient outcomes.”

What kind of innovation should we expect to see going forward? What are the most exciting areas we should be looking out for?

“Going forward, emphasis will continue to be on medical devices that make clinical differences and enhance patient care. The aim will be to advise providers on treatment routes to improve care delivery or even to take over managed care programs entirely. The most informative projects may be those focused on data analysis and the redesign of patient treatment pathways.”

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