Impact of Medical Technologies adoption in Life Sciences industry

The Medical Technologies industry has seen a remarkable transformation in recent times and the trend is going to be on an upward path. Buoyed by the fast-tracked technological innovations in the areas of IoT/IoMT, wearables, AI/ML/DL, computer vision, augmented/mixed reality and robotics, the medical technologies industry is going to transform how healthcare is delivered and bring much-needed impetus to the life sciences R&D, especially in the drug discovery process. The article intends to discuss some of the upward trends in medical technologies consumption that are going to make an impact on healthcare delivery.

Enabling real-world evidence

Changing dimensions of usage of medical technologies

The role of Medical Technologies transformed immensely in the recent past. Besides drug delivery and diagnostics, additional dimensions have come into prominence.

  • Continuous Remote Monitoring using wearables and self-use devices
  • Remote Robotic surgeries
  • Controlled precision drug release
  • Self-use Test Kits
  • Convergence of Drug and Medical Device enhanced by software platforms to monitor the drug administration
  • AI-enabled Image processing for accurate diagnostics – Example: Retina Images, check X-Rays,
  • Continuous monitoring of the quality of the drugs in dialysis machines etc.

With these new areas not only client relationships change, but also the entire business model. The Medical Device industry adjusts more and more to these new market requirements, and even COVID supported the speed of changing and enhancing the portfolio.

COVID impact

After the onset of the COVID pandemic, the rate of innovation in Medical Technologies increased multifold. The medical professionals have stepped up their efforts to innovate and accelerate the adoption of new technologies and devices to meet the healthcare delivery challenges. This was not an ideal time for the general public, government and healthcare professionals to navigate through this deadly pandemic, the only positive resultant dimension is the surge in entrepreneurship in the Medical Technologies industry. Governments all across the globe have realized the need for providing the required impetus to this surge and soon started providing the necessary emergency approvals for the use of these new innovations.

Increased consumerism

Medical Technologies usage is no longer the exclusive portfolio of healthcare professionals. COVID pandemic has completely transformed the consumption patterns of Medical Devices. For example, more consumers (called patients or public) are buying oxygenators, pulse oximeters, BP monitoring devices etc. The device price barriers are no longer a limitation. The so-called high-value capital purchase items are slowly and steadily transforming into consumer medical appliances. This has catapulted the demand for Medical Technologies in the recent past. And the trend is going to see a northward trajectory.

The collapsing boundaries between software and hardware

The recent trends in Medical Technologies also see an emergence of AI-enabled tools that are slowly encroaching into the Medical Devices space. Governments and regulatory bodies started recognizing the role of AI and Computer Vision-based diagnostics as a Medical Device substitute for accurate diagnostics. Many tech companies are offering their AI-based software tools for diagnostics, which in the past used to be only the forte of the traditional Medical Devices. Some of the examples are: detection of diabetic retinopathy using the fundus images, early detection of cardiovascular diseases through the AI-based ECG monitoring, early cancer detection through thermal images etc.

Auxiliary devices that are helping the Life Science industry

There are other devices, that may not be categorised under Medical Devices, but can be considered auxiliary devices that support the Life Science industry.

Temperature loggers, location tracking devices, anti-counterfeiting detection scanners, bar code readers for accurate detection of right medical supply batches for despatch are some of the examples, which are going to become a game-changer for the Life Science industry.

COVID pandemic has brought to the fore the importance of delivering the vaccine at the right temperature to the patient. Here the industry has crossed the traditional supply chain boundaries, by monitoring the vaccine supplies temperatures to the last mile up to the customer.

With the help of location trackers, companies are not only able to detect the status of their supplies through the supply chain with an aim to minimise the wastage, but also ensure the timely provision of the medicines/vaccines to the patients.

There are also bar-code reading devices, that scan the medicine labels and provide information about the authenticity of the medicines, detect if they are counterfeit medicines and ensure the quality of the supplies to the patients.

Medical Device as a service is picking up pace

Another interesting trend is that the Medical Devices manufacturers are offering their equipment on ‘Device as a service’. They are ensuring the cost to the procurer is not passed on immediately but on actual usage. However, these companies' service agreements with field force become more and more important to keep the devices maintained, up-to-date and available round the clock. This model is also pushing the sale of high-cost Medical Devices, especially in low resource settings, where high capital investments are prohibiting the usage of life-saving devices.

Impact on Life Science industry

Devices have become simpler, come with an AI-based application platform to read, monitor and automatically interpret the results. In the context of decentralized clinical trials, Pharma Companies are more and more funding the Medical Devices for home consumption by the subjects directly. Earlier these subjects used to visit the sites/ hospitals for the trials. Some of the Medical Devices and pharma companies are funding the CKDs/SKDs for the Contract Manufacturing Organizations to assemble the final products. The supply chain challenges in procurement of long-lead time items are mitigated with adequate stocking of these CKDs/SKDs at the CMO sites.

Surge in the Healthcare Data

With the advent of software-enabled Medical Devices, there is humongous growth of data collected from various sources. Lab data, radiology reports, patient-centric apps, EHR/EMR adoption, innovative health data monitoring devices, wearables, and many such sources of data collection channels is propelling the accumulation of wealth of healthcare data. There is a great opportunity for healthcare providers and Life Science companies to harness these data for improving care delivery.

Please note, this article has consciously excluded the discussions around medical consumables that many fall under devices category, such as gloves, syringes, bandages, cotton wool, sutures, catheters, tubes, infusion sets, IV cannulas; Laboratory supplies, including pipettes, blood collecting tubes and microscope supplies; Surgical instruments, such as scalpels, forceps, lancets, scissors, instrument boxes etc.

About Tenthpin Management Consultants

Tenthpin is a swiss headquartered management consulting organization with a focus on Strategy Consulting and Digital Transformation of Lifesciences and Healthcare Companies. Tenthpin has been working extensively in digital transformation initiatives in these industries, where Medical Technologies play a pivotal role in data collection and aggregation. Working with almost all the major Lifesciences Companies across the globe, Tenthpin focuses on data-driven digital transformation initiatives. 

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*This article has been jointly authored by Raghuram Janapareddy and Christian Rüggeberg. Active contributions have been made by Dan Silva and Ryan Bleam, Partners at Tenthpin.

Raghuram Janapareddy

written by

Raghuram Janapareddy


Christian Rüggeberg

Christian Rüggeberg


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