The overall healthcare market is changing in many ways. The healthcare market will rise from $3 trillion this year to $4.7 trillion in 2024, the real per capita health expenditure growth rate will decrease from 4% to 1.5% according to BMI Research (www.bmiresearch.com), a market research firm covering medical devices. (Figure 1). In other words the projected overall medical devices purchase will decrease. To compensate for the revenue short fall, medical device firms will diversify. This can be in the form of acquisitions and mergers. We have already seen changes taking place. In March 2016, the struggling Toshiba sold its Toshiba Medical Unit to Canon for $6.11 billion. Given Imaging, inventor of the swallowable camera was acquired by Covidien early 2014 for $860 million. Not bad for an exit strategy. Medtronic later acquired the Ireland-based Covidien for $42.9 billion while Becton Dickinson acquired the San Diego based CareFusion for growth reason. This trend is expected to increase over the next few years. Another trend we expect to see is more and more innovative products and solutions coming from start-ups and smaller firms. Separately, wearable devices are gaining momentum in the healthcare industry for process simplification such as clinical workflow and data analysis. According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (www.strategyr.com), a market research firm, the wearable devices market is expected to double from $2 billion in 2015 to $4.6 billion in 2020 worldwide with USA represents almost half of the market.
Sotera sets future trend of patient monitoring
Those who have stayed in the hospital overnights often complain it is difficult to get a good night sleep being waken up constantly for temperature and other types of measurement. But there is good news. Sotera has introduced a wireless, wearable ViSi Mobile® System (Figure 2) which can continuously monitor patients’ vital signs (ECG, HR/PR, SpO2, Blood Pressure, Respiration and Skin Temperature). This wireless monitoring device attached to the patient, continually transmits data to the nearby Wi-Fi / 802.11 access points while the patient sleeps uninterrupted throughout the night. Patients reported that they were much more comfortable with better rest during the hospital stay. Additionally, the company is said to be working on a new method of measuring blood pressure. This non-invasive, cutfless (cNIBP) approach which can measure blood pressure on a beat-to-beat basis with equal accuracy as the traditional approach.
Figure 1:While healthcare market will rise from $3 trillion this year to $4.7 trillion in 2024 (blue bars), the projected overall medical devices purchase will decrease from 4% to 1.5% (red line) as projected by BMI.
Pressure Profile revolutionizes breast cancer detection
To provide early detection of breast cancer, Medical Tactile, maker of the SureTouch system (Figure 3) has revolutionized the industry with a painless, radiation free approach with instant digital results. The traditional approach has limitation. More than 50% of cancers develop in the upper outer quadrant of the breast can be difficult to detect with the imaging modalities. This new non-invasive examination involves applying the device with gentle pressure on an area of the breast to obtain the pressure readings in 5 to 15 minutes depends on the complexity of the case. Then the doctor and patient can view, if any, the shape, size, hardness and location of the suspicious masses based on the pressure readings which can also be read over the cloud. The FDA cleared class II medical device has gone through more than 1000 patient clinical studies and the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference (SABCS) has concluded that the SureTouch approach is more sensitive than the conventional breast examination (CBE) in identifying potential breast cancer. Recently, the unit received a new category III CPT reimbursement code title “0422T-tactile Breast Imaging by Computer-aided Tactile Sensors, unilateral or bilateral”. With this device, there is less hassle for patients to go through breast examinations.
Need a colonoscopy examination? Swallow a pill.
Thousands of Americans need examinations of disorders such as chronic constipation or diarrhea, bleeding, infections, cancers, ulcers, obstructions, celiac and Crohn’s disease. But most of us dread going to the doctor for a gastrointestinal (GI) checkup. We are afraid of the unknown, discomfort, the hospital environment and everything that goes with it. This may change. Olympus’ Endocapsule 10 system, shaped like a pill, houses a very small camera and a battery will do the job. Figure 4. Here is how it works. As the patient swallows a vitamin-sized capsule the embedded camera moves through the gastrointestinal (GI) path, taking photos and transmits the images to a portable data recorder worn by the patient. When the recorder is returned to the hospital and the clinician can download the information for analysis. In a few days, the disposable capsule will be expelled from the body of the patient painlessly. Similar products are also offered by Given Imaging (now owned by Medtronic).
Figure 4: FDA cleared ViSi Mobile Surveillance Monitoring System worn by patients can continuously monitor patients’ vital signs (ECG, HR/PR, SpO2, Blood Pressure, Respiration and Skin Temperature).