What is the future of medtech in 2019?

future of medtech medical device predictions crystal ball

[Image from Unsplash]

A global push to increase medical device industry regulation and the continued blurring of high tech and medtech – those are but some of the predictions that Medical Design & Outsourcing editors are hearing from experts.

Read on to discover some of the top predictions of where the industry is going in 2019.

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Senior editor Nancy Crotti and assistant editor Danielle Kirsh contributed to this report. 

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Hospital software dev Jump Tech raises $3m

Jump Technologies

Hospital supply chain solutions developer Jump Technologies said today it closed a $2 million follow-on investment round.

The Eagan, Minn.-based company developed and supports the JumpStock could-based hospital supply chain software, according to a press release.

The financing round was led by Black Granite Capital and joined by new strategic investor Mount Sinai Ventures, as well as two large unnamed investors, Jump Tech said.

“Health Systems need to drive innovation in business practices and technologies, not only in clinical care or practice. Our partnership with Jump Technologies has enabled the development of a best-in-class inventory management solution that reflects the unique needs of our system and brings increased efficiency and support to our world-class clinical teams and the patients we serve,” Les Grant of Mount Sinai Health System said in a prepared statement.

“Additional investment capital helps us expand our footprint more quickly to hospitals and health systems across the country. Hospitals invest in cutting-edge technology to treat patients, but when it comes to inventory management, some facilities still rely on individuals counting materials in store rooms every day. We’re improving this dramatically with our powerful automation and data analytics and simple user interface. By delivering actionable analytics that are visible to all areas of the hospital, we can positively impact the supply room, patient care, and an organization’s bottom line,” Jump Tech CEO John Freund said in a press release.

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Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospitals to deploy Philips’ tele-ICU program

Philips’ eICU program combines predictive analytics, data visualization, and advanced reporting capabilities to deliver vital information to bedside caregivers. (Image courtesy of Royal Philips)

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (Lebanon, N.H.) has agreed to implement Royal Philips’ (NYSE: PHG) eICU program technology.  The program aims to help reduce mortality, length of stay, and ventilation days while providing care to patients wherever they are located.

Philips’ eICU is a tele-ICU program that will link specialists at the health system’s flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, N.H., with the patient’s local hospital. Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s program will start with medical, surgical, and neurology intensive care units at DHMC, along with the intensive care unit at Cheshire Medical Center. The program’s tele-ICU hub will also be located at DHMC, where it will leverage Philips’ IntelliSpace eCareManager, the program’s source-agnostic software, providing clinicians with a single integrated view of patient data.

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

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Senators question basis for FDA’s digital health pre-cert pilot

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass., left), Tina Smith (D-Minn., center) and Patty Murray (D-Wash. right) [Images are public domain]

Three Democratic senators representing major high tech and medtech hubs in the United States are questioning the statutory basis of FDA’s new pilot program for digital health product precertification.

“We support FDA’s efforts to update the medical device review regime to better accommodate digital health devices and believe that it is an important step in ensuring that America remains an innovative, cutting-edge producer of medical devices. However, it is essential that changes to FDA’s regulatory framework are done in compliance with the current statutory framework and do not compromise public safety.” Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) wrote in a letter dated Oct. 10 to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

Their letter requests a response from Gottlieb by Nov. 9. FDA plans to respond directly to the senators, said agency spokesperson Stephanie Caccomo.

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

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Philips buys military health-monitoring software

Chief Master Sgt. Robert Bean, an Air Force pararescue jumper, demonstrates how Batdok can be worn on the wrist, displaying the health status of multiple patients. (Photo by
Richard Eldridge/US Air Force)

Philips Healthcare has signed a non-exclusive patent license agreement with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory for a mobile software application that provides integrated, real-time patient monitoring.

Known as Batdok, an acronym for Battlefield Assisted Trauma Distributed Observation Kit, the software application was developed by the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Designed as a wearable technology, it allows a medic to efficiently monitor multiple casualties in the field using a smartphone or tablet. Adaptation for civilian applications will advance telemedicine capabilities, the company said.

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

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Amazon lures ex-FDA chief health informatics officer for healthcare skunkworks

Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN) is continuing to build its healthcare team, this time picking up former FDA chief health informatics officer Taha Kass-Hout, according to a report from CNBC.

Kass-Hout is slated to take up a business development role with Amazon’s Grand Challenge team, a moonshot technology program similar to Google‘s (NSDQ:GOOG) Google X lab, according to the report.

Amazon has not yet released details on the hire, or what projects in specific that Kass-Hout will work on as the company stays hush-hush on its healthcare endeavors.

Kass-Hout will reportedly be working alongside Amazon Grand Challenge chief Babak Parviz, who previously acted as a director at Google X but jumped ship to Amazon in 2014 as a VP, CNBC reports.

Amazon may be looking to use Kass-Hout’s expertise in healthcare informatics in a project aiming to improve consumer access to healthcare records, CNBC theorizes. The move would be in line with Kass-Hout’s previous work, as he led the openFDA initiative while at the Agency in 2013.

Most recently, Kass-Hout worked at Michigan’s Trinity Health, departing last May according to his LinkedIn profile.

In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was looking to revamp its medical supplies business and turn the unit into a major supplier to US hospitals and clinics.

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Medtech’s existential crisis and how it can survive

The new EY report even includes an equation to show how medtech and other life science companies will need to deliver value: “Future value (FV) is driven by innovation (I) that focuses on outcomes with a high degree of personalization and is fueled
by unlocking the power of data (D.” [Image courtesy of EY]

Executives in medtech and other life sciences companies view digital health startups and high tech giants as an existential threat. To compete, they’re going to have to invest in or acquire customer engagement and personalization skills usually associated with online retailers and social networking sites, according to a new report out today from EY.

The report — Life Sciences 4.0: Securing value through data-driven platforms — quotes Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky to indicate where things are going:  “Technology will touch everything that we do, whether it’s the way we use data to better understand the genome … or as it applies to things like minimally invasive surgery, even the way we talk to consumer vis-à-vis social media.”

Technology isn’t the only factor driving the change. Aging populations in the developed world mean that both public and private payers are tackling budgetary constraints and longstanding inefficiencies in healthcare systems.

In the medical device industry, companies are having to decide whether they are products companies selling to health providers or services companies focused on patients as a customer, according to the report’s author, Pamela Spence,  EY Global Life Sciences industry leader.

“I think companies need to decide what they want to be. … It’s hard to do both,” Spence said during an interview with our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing.

Get the full story on MDO. 

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Google looks to take healthcare into the Cloud

Google (NSDQ:GOOG) is taking its Cloud services into the field of healthcare as it aims to enable data sharing and collaboration between providers and patients, according to a recent blog post from the tech giant.

The company said it recently launched the Cloud Healthcare API service to address interoperability issues in healthcare data. The system includes a scalable infrastructure designed to ingest and manage healthcare data, including HL7, FHIR and DICOM formats, and allow for its use in analytics and machine learning systems, according to the post.

Google said it is already working with the Stanford School of Medicine through an early launch program to test the Cloud Healthcare API.

“Open standards are critical to healthcare interoperability as well as for enabling biomedical research. We have been using the Google Cloud Genomics API for a long time and are very excited to see Google Cloud expanding its offerings to include the new Cloud Healthcare API. The ability to combine interoperability with Google Cloud’s scalable analytics will have a transformative impact on our research community,” Stanford School of Medicine Research IT director Somalee Datta said in prepared statement.

The company said it is hopeful that its cloud-based Healthcare API will improve adoption of machine learning in the healthcare field and allow for increased clinical insights and improvements for patients, according to the blog post.

Google said it is working with a number of partners in the healthcare field utilizing its cloud-based services, including Flex, Imagia, Kanteron Systems and WuXi NextCODE.

Another partner, DiA Imaging Analysis, said today it inked a collaborative deal with Google Cloud looking to produce new automated tools for ultrasound imaging analysis.

The Israel-based company said it is developing tools using machine learning algorithms and pattern recognition on Google’s Cloud platform, looking to improve both immediate and remote evaluations of ultrasound images.

“One of DiA’s obvious advantages is its ability to operate cross platforms. Our automated tools can be easily implemented into any ultrasound device and any healthcare IT system including cloud based platforms, all as part of the physician’s workflow. Once Google Cloud announced its engagement with the medical imaging industry, it was natural that we join forces to offer our quick and accurate auto ultrasound analysis, together with Google’s cloud-enabled capabilities, in order to improve patient outcome,” DiA CEO Hila Aslan said in a prepared release.

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Attivo Networks receives validation from BD for BOTsink cybersecurity solution

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[Image courtesy of Blogtrepreneur on Flickr, per Creative Commons 2.0 license]

Attivo Networks recently announced that it has received validation through a BD Product Security Partner Program for its BOTsink cybersecurity deception solution when used with BD devices. The company recently expanded its IOT portfolio and the BD collaboration will allow for improved detection capabilities against cyber threats that impact medical devices.

The deception-based threat detection in the BOTsink features decoys and lures that misdirect potential attackers from production assets. Through the collaboration, BOTsink decoys will provide software on certain BD products that will create mirror-match decoy authenticity. This will create an illusion where a potential attacker will not be able to tell what is real and fake. It will also show what an attacker is doing as they scan systems or try to download malware onto medical devices.

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

Apple continues its foray into healthcare, puts select EHR data on iPhone devices

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Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) said this week it is introducing a feature allowing customers to obtain, view and keep medical records on their iPhones, continuing the company’s experimentation into the healthcare market.

Electronic health records will be available within the company’s Health application, with 12 different healthcare organizations already agreeing to make their records available to current customers.

Records viewable on the mobile devices were created based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standards, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said. Medical data stored on iPhone devices are encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Apple said.

“Our goal is to help consumers live a better day. We’ve worked closely with the health community to create an experience everyone has wanted for years — to view medical records easily and securely right on your iPhone. By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives,” Apple COO Jeff Williams said in a press release.

Participating medical institutions include Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Medicine, Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai, Philadelphia’s Penn Medicine, Danville, Penn.’s Geisinger Health System, San Diego’s UC San Diego Health, Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, Dignity Health, Jefferson Parish, La.’s Ochsner Health System, MedStar Health, Columbus, Ohio’s OhioHealth and Kansas City’s Cerner Healthe Clinic, Apple said.

“Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one. This is why we are excited about working with Apple to make accessing secure medical records from an iPhone as simple for a patient as checking email,” Johns Hopkins Medicine CIO Stephanie Reel said in a prepared statement.

“Putting the patient at the center of their care by enabling them to direct and control their own health records has been a focus for us at Cedars-Sinai for some time. We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones. Apple is uniquely positioned to help scale adoption because they have both a secure and trusted platform and have adopted the latest industry open standards at a time when the industry is well positioned to respond,” Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin said in prepared remarks.

Last month, Apple was reported to be developing an in-house ECG for its Apple Watch that would compete with the recently approved KardiaBand made by AliveCor.