5 top stories that mattered for medtech in 2018

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[Image by managing editor Chris Newmarker]

The medical device industry faced some major challenges over the past year, from increased media scrutiny to regulatory uncertainty in both the U.S. and E.U.

It’s worth noting, though, that many things have been going right for medtech.

More than half of the roughly 100 largest medical device companies in the world saw their stock prices increase during 2018 – not a bad record considering the slumping Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500.

Medical device companies spending a large amount on R&D compared to revenue – including Dexcom, Abiomed, Atricure, Edwards Lifesciences and Insulet – saw their stock prices skyrocket as they marketed innovative devices in fields including diabetes management and cardiology.

Artificial intelligence is playing a larger role in medtech innovation, medical device companies are increasingly forging partnerships with high tech companies, and there’s even a chance that the device industry might help combat the opioid epidemic.

Here are five trends that mattered for medtech in 2018 – and are bound to influence the future of the industry this year.

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Could AI be the next big thing for medical device manufacturing?

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Officials at machine learning and artificial intelligence consulting company Wovenware think AI could boost the quality of medical device manufacturing.

The San Juan, Puerto Rico–based company already has clients in a variety of industries including airlines, education, food, financial services, insurance, telecommunications and utilities. Now it’s working with a number of medical device companies to test proof of concept at plants on the island, according to COO and co-founder Carlos Meléndez.

Get the full story on our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing. 

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The top 10 medical disruptors of 2019

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The Cleveland Clinic for the past 16 years has predicted what the top 10 medical disruptors will be for the following year.

The health provider seeks input from 150 to 200 of its physicians, hailing from each of its institutes. The result is 300 to 400 suggestions, which the clinic then narrows down to 150.

After that, 20 physicians meet and vote the list down to the top 10. The criteria to be considered a disruptor is that it has to be so innovative that it could change healthcare in a significant way in the next year.

The Cleveland Clinic announced this year’s top 10 list at its Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit, which took place Oct. 22-24 in Cleveland. From RNA-based therapies to alternative pain therapy to fight the opioid crisis, here are the Cleveland Clinic’s predictions of medical technologies that will prove disruptive in 2019.

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MedyMatch, Samsung NeuroLogica bring AI to stroke care

Artificial intelligence is continuing to make its mark in the healthcare field.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based MedyMatch Technology and Danvers, Massachusetts-based Samsung NeuroLogica have joined forces to use artificial intelligence to assist patients in prehospital environments.

MedyMatch is an artificial intelligence company. “Our business is based on machine learning,” MedyMatch CEO Gene Saragnese said in a phone interview with MedCity.

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Samsung NeuroLogica is the healthcare subsidiary of Samsung Electronics. “NeuroLogica has been in the CT business for many years,” Saragnese said.

The alliance, which brings together MedyMatch’s AI clinical decision support tools and Samsung NeuroLogica’s medical imaging hardware, was a smart move for the companies, according to Saragnese. “There’s a strong overlap between the two companies,” he said.

Initially, the companies plan to focus on assessing stroke patients. MedyMatch’s AI technologies will be integrated into mobile stroke units and other emergency vehicles that have a portable Samsung NeuroLogica CereTom CT scanner. Through this, the care team will more easily be able to assess whether the patient’s stroke is due to a hemorrhage or a blood clot.

Many of the nearly 800,000 Americans who experience a stroke each year have an ischemic stroke, which can be treated with a tissue plasminogen activator. The tPA must be administered to the patient within three hours of initial signs of stroke, but “it can take an hour after a stroke patient arrives in the emergency department to receive treatment because of the time needed to determine which kind of stroke the patient is having,” the companies point out in a release. By collaborating, MedyMatch and Samsung NeuroLogica are hoping to quicken the treatment process for stroke patients en route to the hospital.

“In stroke care, time is absolutely critical,” Saragnese said. “We want to improve the confidence physicians have in making these decisions.”

But MedyMatch’s goal goes farther than that. Saragnese told MedCity that MedyMatch strives to improve clinical outcomes and ultimately save money. “What we want to do is improve the quality of diagnosis and speed of treatment, and more people will recover from stroke,” he said. “There will also be fewer people in long-term care, and then there will be cost savings.”

MedyMatch launched in February 2016. Though it’s a startup, the company has already begun to make its mark in the healthcare field. Last June, it partnered with Capital Health in New Jersey. Capital Health vowed to help MedyMatch develop a clinical decision support tool for stroke care.

Photo: John Lund, Getty Images