Medtech stories you may have missed – 06/04/20

Medtech stories you may have missed – 06/04/20

The demand for #COVID19 antibody testing continues to increase, as does the scrutiny regarding tests’ accuracy. While #CDC guidelines have shown that less than half of those testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies actually have them, increasing the number of tests conducted, particularly in areas of high disease prevalence, boosts positive predictive value. This NPR article shows how prevalence and false positive rates affect antibody test results and why using two different tests, which the CDC now recommends for those who test positive, could improve testing accuracy.

As a result of these CDC guidelines, our client BioDot, which provides dispensing automation and manufacturing solutions to the world’s largest diagnostic companies, continues to scale up its manufacturing operations to keep pace with testing demand. The company recently announced that more than 50 companies worldwide are now using its technology to develop #COVID19 #antibody tests. Each of its automated lateral flow dispensing platforms enable customer production of 1 million point-of-care antibody tests per week. Read more in this SelectScience piece.

In COVID-19-related #telemedicine news, our client Prospero Health, a team-based home health care company, has partnered with GrandPad to improve access to care for seniors during the crisis and address gaps in care coordination. Prospero can now provide 24/7 telemedicine support to its vulnerable patients through GrandPad’s video chat capabilities that enable care teams to regularly check in on patients in real-time, while adhering to social distancing guidelines. This story on South Carolina Public Radio highlights how Prospero and GrandPad are contributing to the promise of virtual medical care, which went from being the future to being the new norm.

Medtech stories you may have missed – 12/12/19

Medtech stories you may have missed – 12/12/19

AI investment continues to grow, but barriers remain

A new report from HealthLeaders found 22% of healthcare organizations are taking advantage of AI capabilities. While this number may seem small, it’s actually up eight points over the last two years, showing providers and payers alike are increasing investments in analytics software. Despite this growth, insufficient funding continues to be a key barrier to adoption, along with insufficient analytics skills. A separate report from IDC FutureScape shows 30 percent of health and life science organizations’ business and clinical decisions will be informed by AI insights by 2023, “revolutionizing the future of work” in one of three health systems.


Health tech is changing the healthcare game for Boomers

As Baby Boomers continue to redefine aging gracefully, they’re becoming more and more inclined to embrace technology that enables active, healthy lifestyles. Because of this, new devices are hitting the active-aging industry market that will help the elderly live longer and happier lives. As Serenity Gibbons recently wrote in her Forbes article, “connected health is changing the healthcare game for Boomers.” From high-tech hearing aids, to less invasive heart devices, to virtual reality headsets that help combat loneliness, medical technology is changing the way seniors age and changing the active-aging landscape. As thousands of companies that manufacture devices are making a play in the senior market, the industry is expected to triple in the next three years reaching nearly $30 billion.


Voice technology continues making (sound) waves in healthcare

Amazon recently announced its new feature that allows Alexa owners to set up medication reminders and request voice-controlled refills of their prescriptions. With this announcement, voice technology continues to emerge as the future of self-service in healthcare, enabling a more human experience for patients that simplifies otherwise complicated interfaces and processes. Medication and disease management and medication adherence remains the most promising use of voice technology. However, in the future, the technology could be leveraged as a diagnostic tool to detect abnormalities in tone, inflection and breathing patterns.


The revolution in diabetes monitoring

If the 60% growth of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices in 2019 is any indication, 2020 is poised to be revolutionary for technology-enabled diabetes monitoring. Through the use of smartphones and smartwatches, CGM has become more mainstream, transforming diabetes control for users. As the market booms, so too does the competition among makers of CGM devices. In fact, MedTech Dive recently ranked the head-to-head battle between Abbott and Dexcom for leadership of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) as the top rivalry of the year. Other competitors such as Medtronic and Senseonics are also looking for a play in the market in 2020.


Medtech stories you may have missed – 06/04/20

Recent medtech stories you may have missed

From Rachel RobbinsSenior Vice President at Greenough Brand Storytellers

Artificial intelligence and robotics top trends that will transform healthcare in 2020

From the use of machine learning to process enormous amounts of medical data to robotics that span surgical use, transporting medical supplies and helping patients with rehab, technology will continue to transform healthcare in 2020. According to this Forbes article, wearable tech, 3D printing and extended reality (virtual, augmented and mixed) also show incredible promise for patients and medical professionals. In fact, a team of scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York has developed a way to 3D print living skin, complete with blood vessels.


Competition heats up in robot-assisted surgery market

Robotic-assisted surgery using da Vinci robots – which enable surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations through a few small incisions – continue to skyrocket. This is evident through Intuitive Surgical’s latest sales numbers, bringing the total number of da Vinci systems in operation to more than 5,400 worldwide. Despite this domination, only about 2% of surgeries worldwide are performed using robotic surgery equipment. The competition is about to heat up, with medical device giant Medtronic planning to launch its Hugo system in 2020—a system they claim is more flexible and cost-effective than those presently on the market.


More Americans using wearable fitness trackers to monitor health than ever before

Millions of Americans are using technology to monitor their exercise, heart rate, calorie consumption, sleep quality and step count. According to ACSM’s survey of 2020 fitness trends, the use of wearable technology—now a $95 billion industry—topped the list for the third year in a row. Google is tapping into the success of the fitness tracker market, going head-to-head with Apple and Samsung, announcing last week it is buying Fitbit for $2.1 billion. The purchase will help Google tap into an enormous amount of health data, with more than 28 million users on the Fitbit platform.


New technology promises to change the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment

In conjunction with Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Auris Health unveiled a revolutionary robot that can detect lung cancer at an early stage. Data from the company’s first study on live human subjects show its Monarch robotic system can successfully target hard-to-reach lung nodules and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy. The robot is a promising advancement that has the potential to change the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, Thermo Fisher Scientific unveiled its Ion Torrent Genexus System this week—a next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform that can deliver results in a single day, which will enable patients to be matched to targeted therapies or clinical trials faster. The system simplifies genomic testing so it can be performed in any clinical setting – including community hospitals, where most cancer patients are treated today.


Medtech stories you may have missed – 06/04/20

Recent medtech articles you may have missed

From Rachel RobbinsSenior Vice President at Greenough Brand Storytellers

Use of artificial intelligence in healthcare continues to gain momentum

A new study from Optum finds that healthcare organizations’ confidence and investment in AI remains high. According to the study, the number of respondents who said their organizations have an AI strategy in place rose 88% year over year. The potential for AI in healthcare continues to soar. A separate study published by The Lancet Digital Health found that AI can detect diseases from medical imaging with the same accuracy as healthcare professionals. It’s no wonder that nine in 10 healthcare executives surveyed by Optum felt confident they’ll see an ROI sooner than previously expected.


Medical robots taking over: in the hospital, at home and on the battlefield

Digital Health firm Diligent Robotics recently announced it raised $3 million in a seed funding round for its AI healthcare assistant, Moxi, a robot that can help physicians and nurses gather and distribute supplies, lab samples and dirty laundry. Diligent will soon begin deploying Moxi following pilot trials at a number of hospitals. Pfizer also announced the launch of a pilot program with Catalia Health to assess patient behavior when interacting with the AI-powered home robot, Mabu, which is designed to coach patients on health and prescription drugs and supply information back to medical professionals to inform them about their patients’ medication adherence. The U.S. Army is also seeing the benefits of medical robots, announcing it will begin using medical drones to aid medics in the field by bringing medical supplies, blood and products to care for wounded soldiers.


Amazon pushes deeper into telemedicine with launch of virtual medical clinic for employees

Through its new virtual health clinic, Amazon Care, Amazon will provide its employees with faster access to healthcare, on-demand. Amazon Care is a pilot program for employees in the Seattle area that combines telemedicine with in-person services to support diagnosis, treatment and referrals. Amazon will also prescribe medications via Amazon Care within a few hours or offer a way for employees to pick them up at a preferred pharmacy. This is certainly one to watch, particularly if Amazon expands the offering beyond its employees.


Medical devices and consumer electronics continue to converge

According to new research from Business Insider Intelligence, the use of wearable technology has more than tripled in the last four years, as consumers continue to take control of their own health. Wearable fitness trackers, smart health watches and wearable ECG and blood press monitors continue to surge, influencing healthcare decisionmakers to take a closer look at the benefits of wearable healthcare technology. In fact, the research found that doctors could save 15 hours per week if their patients use wearable technology. Smart hearing aids are the latest example of lines blurring between medical devices and consumer electronics. These hearing aids amplify sounds for the user and reduce background noise, while also taking phone calls, streaming music, tracking physical activity and even turning on a Bluetooth-connected coffeepot.

Medtech stories you may have missed – 06/04/20

Recent medtech articles you may have missed

From Rachel Robbins, Senior Vice President at Greenough Brand Storytellers

Medical robotics market is booming

The medical robots market is expected to reach $16.74 billion by 2023, fueled by the increasing benefits of robotically-assisted surgeries. While the biggest appeal for patients, providers and payers alike could be the reduced length of hospital stay and better patient recovery rates, lowering both hospital and patient costs, several growth factors are cited, such as “technological advancements in medical robots, advantages offered by robot-assisted training in rehabilitation therapy, rapid growth in the geriatric population and rising patient preference for minimally invasive surgeries.”

Seeking Alpha outlines the market growth here.

Telerobotics in healthcare could be transformative

Following news of a doctor in India successfully performing surgery on a patient 20 miles away, news outlets were abuzz about what this could mean for the future of medicine. For expanding patients’ access to care and reducing time to treatment, particularly for time-sensitive illnesses such as heart attack and stroke, the combination of telemedicine and robotics has the potential to have an enormous impact on patients’ lives. For example, MIT researchers unveiled an early prototype of a wormlike robot designed to wind through tiny blood vessels in the brain, break up blood clots that could cause a stroke and restore the flow of blood. The robot is guided by magnets, meaning doctors could direct it remotely from outside the hospital—a game-changer for patients with limited medical resources.

Read more about the groundbreaking procedure in ZDNet.

Augmented vs. artificial intelligence in healthcare: it’s the human factor

United Nations advisor Dr. Anushka Patchava says “we’re not there yet” with the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Why? Healthcare still requires a human touch. As Dr. Patchava states, it shouldn’t be about replacing doctors and healthcare workers, but embedding technologies within the workflow and finding synergistic partnerships. The result will be safer, more efficient care delivery that benefits both patients and physicians.

Read the interview with Dr. Patchave in Information Age.

Japan leads in advanced robotics for healthcare to support aging nation

Japan’s population is rapidly aging and the country is facing a labor shortage. Japan sees an answer in robots, particularly those that target the elderly and offer a better quality of life. From robotic beds that turn into wheelchairs to robotic therapy animals to treat loneliness, depression and dementia, the Japanese robotics industry continues to contribute to advancements in healthcare.

Recent medtech articles you may have missed

Recent medtech articles you may have missed

Recent articles you may have missed

From Rachel Robbins, Senior Vice President at Greenough Brand Storytellers

Medical robots pick up steam in the hospital and the lab

The power and potential of medical robots are quickly becoming a reality. From disinfecting hospital rooms to delivering patients linens and lunch to helping patients through rehab, medical robots show no signs of slowing down. Currently, hundreds of hospitals across the U.S. are employing robots—that’s expected to grow by 20% over the next 5 years. Patients are also experiencing the direct effects of medical robots in the lab, as 50% more tests can be carried out every year using robots, meaning patients can receive treatment faster. And, the future use is even more exciting, as medical robots will eventually help patients put on their hospital gowns or slippers, keep them company in their rooms and even perform CPR.

Check out more uses of medical robots in this AAMC News article.

Patient-centricity a major theme for medical technology companies

The medical technology industry is becoming more and more focused on improving patient outcomes through patient experience, safety, monitoring and engagement. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that one of the biggest AI healthcare trends is patient-centered care. AI continues to emerge as a valuable approach to clinical decision-making and improving the patient-provider relationship; however, we’re also seeing patients become more involved in their own care through at-home health apps and technology for accessing health records at home. As we heard from Terence Mills in his Forbes article, The Top AI Healthcare Trends of 2019, “the public is more willing than ever to participate in the healthcare cycle, and artificial intelligence is driving that trend forward.”

New CMS rule aims to give patients better access to cutting-edge medical devices

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last week that, beginning in 2020, it will give Medicare patients better access to medical devices. In the new rule, CMS said that it would also pay more for “certain transformative new devices” and increase payments for the devices from 50% of the device cost to 65%. This is quite significant as, currently, medical technology manufacturers need to “demonstrate that their devices offer a substantial clinical improvement” in order to be reimbursed. Under the new rule, CMS “acknowledged that these new devices may not have had time to demonstrate ‘fully developed’ substantial clinical improvement,” however can still qualify for higher payments. 

Read more about the new CMS rule in this
Mass Device article.

Facebook, Elon Musk aim to merge brain with AI, AR

Facebook and Elon Musk recently unveiled plans to “merge people with AI” by connecting human brains with computers and mobile devices. While Musk’s company Neuralink is taking a more invasive approach by using neural implants that directly touch the brain, Facebook is researching more non-invasive approaches, such as detecting brain activity by monitoring oxygen levels in the brain using a wearable device. (The ultimate, future goal being to do this through VR headsets or AR glasses). Regardless, both companies are working toward something incredible – helping people with brain damage or conditions such as ALS communicate in ways their body no longer allows them to do, whether this be controlling mobile devices through their brain waves or decoding words and phrases from the brain in real-time.

Check out more about Facebook’s announcement here and Elon Musk’s announcement here.