EMDT_European Medical Device Technology

European Medical Device Technology, Spring 2014

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4 | Spring 2014 European Medical Device Technology emdt.co.uk a note from the editor Thomas Klein Thomas.Klein@ubm.com Keeping Up with the Mulumudis For many years, product development for medical device companies meant keeping up with the Medtronics of the industry—the global power players that dominated the market. In order to compete, companies kept add- ing more sophisticated features, more tech- nology, and more capabilities, which led to increasingly complex devices. For a long time, this model worked out well for the manufacturers because clinics and payers were willing to pay for every improvement. But as hospitals tighten their purse strings, companies now have to look to new business models (see page 36) and new markets for growth opportunities. If manufacturers think that they can simply introduce exist- ing product lines into developing countries, however, they need to think again (see page 8). And simply stripping down a device's features to lower the price may not always work, either. Instead, companies have to review their whole product development pro- cess with local conditions, needs, and use environments in mind. Products must be cheaper for these markets as well as suitable for rural areas, for example, where doctors may have to travel hundreds of kilometers through rough terrain. Stanford Univer- sity scientist Manu Prakash developed a functional microscope constructed from paper for diagnostic purposes that has exactly these properties (see page 17). It costs only one U.S. dollar, can be mailed in an envelope and can even be stomped upon. Local competitors already lead the way in producing cheaper, less com- plex products, and Western companies have to keep up in order to compete in these markets. But local competitors aren't the only thing engineers should be keeping their eye on. Fifteen-year-old whiz kid Suman Mulumudi recently started his own company selling a smartphone case that allows the use of a mobile phone as a stethoscope (see page 20). These examples of low-cost, portable innovation illustrate how new factors like 3-D printing, social media and crowd funding will make it easier for consumers and amateur inventors to get involved in the development of medical devices. For manufacturers, this means that they don't only have to keep up with the top dogs at the high-tech end, they also have to keep an eye on competitors and creative developers at the low-tech end. And keeping up with inspired inventors like Mulumudi might prove to be harder than keeping up with GE moving forward because there are just so many of them. When a life is on the line Proven, reliable connectors and cable assemblies are here www.fi scherconnectors.com Headquarters Fischer Connectors SA Saint-Prex - Switzerland Phone +41 21 800 95 95 mail@fi scherconnectors.ch Visit us at MEDTEC Europe Stand 7C47 ES433923_EMDT1405_004.pgs 05.02.2014 14:06 UBM black yellow magenta cyan

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