March 9, 2019

5 Key Medtech Trends in Emerging Markets in 2019

"The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Healthcare highlights key trends in the global medical technology (medtech) industry in 2019 – from the industry coming under pressure as US-China economic and technological rivalry continues to unfold to the pick-up of remote monitoring and telehealth solutions." The EIU's report, MedTech in Emerging Markets 2019, "focuses on the implications of some of these trends on emerging markets as companies look to gain greater access to these fast-growing high-potential markets. We look at various opportunities and challenges to help companies understand where and how emerging market medtech companies are evolving as even stronger competitors in 2019, and affordability and infrastructure issues in these markets."

The report presents the following five global medtech trends shaping 2019:

1. Data-driven healthcare approaches among consumers and healthcare providers demand for greater connectivity.

"Consumers are increasingly expecting medtech to connect over a single platform to offer a holistic solution to multiple needs and demands. High net worth individuals (HNWIs) in Asia, Middle East and Africa polled by the EIU believe that the collection of personal health data will improve their ability to care for their health."

Moreover, "Medtech needs to connect over a single platform for healthcare providers pursuing data-driven healthcare that will need broad sets of data to come together in a connected ecosystem."

Lack of trained healthcare professionals and gaps in local healthcare infrastructure, however, are two barriers to greater adoption of a personal data-driven approach to healthcare according to HNWIs in Asia, Middle East and Africa. But the report notes that 76 percent of healthcare organizations are planning to invest heavily in big data and analytics.

2. Medtech comes under pressure as US-China economic and technological rivalry continues to unfold in 2019.

An estimated total annual value of US$1.1 billion of medical imaging products were subjected to US and China tariffs implemented in 2018. The report further explains fast-growing and high value medtech segments to watch for intensifying competition and potential trade risks include high-value medical consumables, in-vitro diagnostics (IVD), and gene sequencing.

3. Emerging market medtech companies are bolstering their competitiveness in global markets through product innovation and successful go-to-market strategies.

"Emerging market medtech companies are cementing their presence in their domestic market." In fact, four out of 10 of the biggest IVD players in China are domestic companies.

The report further explains, "Emerging market medtech companies are increasingly capturing a larger share of overseas markets – in mid- and higher-end medtech product segments." Two out of three hospitals in the United States use medical equipment from Mindray – China's largest medtech company.

4. Wider adoption of remote monitoring and telehealth under favorable reimbursement schemes.

US healthcare providers polled report that less than 10% of their total care delivery is provided through telehealth and all US healthcare providers polled anticipate use of telehealth to grow over the next three years. Furthermore, "With reimbursement increasing, 45% of US healthcare providers polled expect a significant increase - more than 10% increase, in the share of total care delivery that will be provided through telehealth, over the next 3 years."

5. Big Tech is becoming a more direct competitor in medtech.

The report notes that in 2018, Amazon launched its own medical device brand focused on diabetes and cardiovascular devices that work with Apple Health and Amazon's Alexa. What is more, "80% of healthcare providers polled are paying close attention to Big Tech’s entry into the healthcare space, recognizing the opportunities to redesign their care models by working with these companies."

Healthcare providers see potential for collaboration with Big Tech in streamlining provider workflows, implementing consumer-focused services, and solving supply-chain challenges.

The report also provides insights on:
  • What is the impact of the rise of domestic medtech companies in emerging markets?
  • What are the critical issues challenging affordability and access to healthcare innovations in emerging markets, and how can governments and third-party payers help to improve access
  • Interview with Swiss Re - one of the world's leading reinsurance company: Rethinking the alignment between diagnostic innovation and private health insurance;
  • Where do hospitals in emerging markets lie on the adoption curve for healthcare innovation?
  • How might companies approach and customize their medtech market access strategies in emerging markets?
Do you agree with The EIU's five key medtech trends in emerging markets in 2019?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of Solutions for a Sustainable World.

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