25 2015
Aug

Sridharan Mani CEO and Director - American Megatrends India

Companies are integrating their Indian operations with global R&D, along with manufacturing organizations to create higher quality products with comparable cost structures.

The Indian healthcare ecosystem is at an inflection point resulting in increased demand for newer and more effective technologies. The Indian MedTech industry is expected to show sustained growth driven by several factors, such as ageing population, increased life expectancy, and expanding markets of developing countries. Investing in R&D for prioritized technologies enables equitable access to healthcare. Manufacturers are now recognizing the need to innovate and create products tailored to Indian needs that deliver real value for Indian healthcare providers. An inventive approach to product innovation that has a finger on the pulse of the customers as well as the healthcare providers to build products of real value is the need of the hour.

There is a distinct need to incentivize research to address hitherto unmet demands. The widespread and equitable impact of new technologies cannot be achieved without ensuring appropriate access to finished products. This would entail incentivizing production in enterprises, building their capacity, supporting R&D, creating MedTech enterprises clusters, industry academic linkages, product development partnerships, and ensuring access to financial capital.

Indian medical devices industry is worth Rs. 18,000 crore (USD 3 billion) and contributes to six percent of India's Rs. 2,40,000 crore (USD 40 billion) healthcare industry. India is one of the top 20 markets for medical devices in the world and is the fourth largest market in Asia after Japan, China and South Korea and presents an exciting business landscape and opportunities for both multinational and domestic players. At present, there are 1000 domestic firms which are primarily manufacturing low technology products. The companies are expanding operations to produce medium-end medical devices also. The industry is turning technology intensive thereby producing high quality and cost-effective medical devices.

On the other hand, the present Indian medical devices industry landscape is primarily driven with imports contributing close to 75 percent of the market. The medical device, industry in India is fragmented with the bulk of the manufacturing done by SMEs focusing on low-margin low-technology products like consumables and disposables such as bandages, suturing materials, and syringes. The high-tech and high-quality medical products space, such as diagnostic and imaging equipment, is largely dominated by multinationals. Along with the challenges with inadequate quality standards setting, time delays, and other related hassles, new product development has become a hindrance making the domestic medical devices business challenging for the industry.

Focus on India-Centric Business Development

With the government encouraging the growth of medical devices sector in the country, and Make in India drive pushing industrial growth, it is necessary to put in proportionate efforts in development of facilities which have infrastructure and technical capability to perform various tests. Several large multinational medical device companies are present in India with their own establishment to produce India-specific products. These companies look to integrate their Indian operations with global research and development, along with manufacturing organizations to create higher quality products (compared to local Indian products) but with comparable cost structures.

With growing demand, with the industry's recognition that they need India-specific development/marketing strategies, and with a growing perception of government interest in developing a MedTech manufacturing base to help meet the demand, there is significant potential in India.

To increase opportunities, MedTech players need to:

Customize products to the market, offering more than just affordable versions of products designed for developed markets

Develop a long-term strategy for growth and operate for the long haul in India

Focus on innovation for the Indian market and customer, which starts with asking the customer base what is important to them and ultimately to their patients Recognize the importance, to the Indian customer, to the Indian government, of establishing production facilities in India to contribute value in-market (while also creating a base for exports)

Adopt innovative business models and engage in public-private partnerships while setting up the right revenue-realization models Better align with India's strategic priorities and focus on public health, to increase influence across the industry value chain as a whole Finally, be realistic in factoring in the limits to the size of the India market

The innovation ecosystem in India has been steadily growing in the past several years with over 120 companies that are developing products and solutions for the Indian and emerging markets. Many of these start-ups have also garnered investors' interest. Companies have developed innovation hubs wherein targeted short-, medium-, and long-term interventions will go a long way in building an innovation talent pool in India.

Products designed for emerging markets can infuse new perspectives into developed markets, to improve affordability, accessibility, and operational efficiency in healthcare. Unmet needs abound in emerging markets. Despite complex challenges, emerging markets offer enormous opportunity for the industry.

The reverse innovation approach, where the wide range of buildable features and their costs are known at the outset and innovation involves wisely selecting those available features that meet market needs, while also creatively developing compatible solutions, like increased portability, that address other local customer concerns, can help companies develop appropriate products and sharpen their marketing approaches to other developing economies.

Innovations in product design. Reverse innovation has seen the development of several products tailored specifically to the needs of the Indian market. For example, instead of large stationary scanners, MedTech companies have begun making light and mobile devices that can be used in the field, at the same time removing costs where practical in order to stay price competitive.

Manufacturers are providing ECG equipment that is fully conceptualized, designed, sourced, and manufactured in India according to the requirements of local customers, and priced at a fraction of the cost of imported ECG systems of similar quality. Reverse innovations and collaborations have formed the major growth strategies, especially due to the growing emphasis on preventive healthcare.

Standardization and interoperability. Product standardization has also become increasingly common across the MedTech industry, including anesthesia workstation, patient monitoring, and ventilation markets. Greater interoperability has led to increased efficiency, improved quality, and more affordable care. This is cost-effective to the healthcare provider, because of the discounts associated with bulk purchasing. In some cases this is forcing suppliers of premium equipment and devices, to lower the cost of their solutions.

Implementing outcome tracking. Integrating outcomes tracking into surgical care, in an affordable and accessible manner, will transform the way patients are treated and hospitals are run. Low-cost data management will be a key enabling technology. Companies and hospitals that can successfully implement outcomes tracking will disrupt healthcare in emerging markets. As hospitals diversify patient offerings to include critical care services, the need for critical care monitoring tailored for emerging markets will grow. Critical care equipment will use low-cost sensor technologies to improve product value, and allow more hospitals to afford the necessary technology to deliver effective post-operative care.

Innovations in Healthcare Delivery Systems

By leveraging technology in specific applications, companies can improve metrics including efficiency, time-to-market, and productivity. While this is true, the twin challenge of new entrants in the marketplace and the increasing global competition is creating a pressing need for MedTech firms to truly integrate technology in their product development processes and practices.

At the same time, traditional MedTech companies are facing the need to address newer technology challenges such as data security, and Unique Device Identification compliance, while continuing to struggle with age-old issues such as product lifecycle management.

The development of manufacturing hubs for medical technology will foster a dynamic domestic medical technology manufacturing system. The potential payoff for companies who break free of past habits and embrace emerging innovation strategies may be even greater than just improving sales. With growing demand, and the industry's recognition of the need for market-specific development, there is significant potential for growth in the industry.

With the convergence of many scientific and technology breakthroughs, the pace of medical invention is accelerating, inspiring the hope for better clinical outcomes with less-invasive procedures and shorter recovery times, all in lower cost settings. There are powerful forces at work that are driving rapid fundamental change in healthcare delivery. These changes will drive demand for new lower cost diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment procedures. Medical devices that offer less-invasive treatment options, with better clinical outcomes and shorter recovery times, will create tremendous value in the next few years.

Hospitals and other healthcare delivery systems have been consolidating. There have been more sophisticated customer buying behaviors, both direct and via group purchasing organizations. Finally, new business models have emerged, including accountable care organizations and various payment reform initiatives. The medical electronics industry has witnessed a double digit growth in recent years and this growth trajectory is expected to continue with the rising incidence of chronic diseases, increased urbanization, growing elderly population, and increased awareness about latest technology solutions to save augment life and rehabilitation.

The influx of medical technology has also reinforced the existing healthcare infrastructure in various ways right from digitizing medical test, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to enhancing the reach of healthcare through telemedicine and health IT. In the next few years, medical technology innovations will fundamentally transform the healthcare delivery system, providing new solutions with medical devices that will challenge the existing paradigms and revolutionize the way treatments are administered.

Industry Speak

Staying Connected with Health Information Is the Key

Need of the hour

ImageIn FY 2013, more than 144,000 high-risk veterans were monitored for chronic conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, weight management, substance-abuse disorder, and spinal cord injuries. Heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes are few examples of silent killers that take a huge toll of life globally. The American Heart Association recommends regular home monitoring for everyone with high blood pressure. This helps the healthcare provider to determine if the treatments are working effectively.

Consumer driven healthcare is the future

Providers and patients are increasingly relying on home-based monitoring. Industry reports mention wireless remote monitoring devices shall be used by more than 1.8 million people worldwide in the next four years, representing a six-fold increase in adoption of telehealth technology.

AMI B.O.L.T: Creating a new vision in Indian Healthcare Ecosystem

B.O.L.T can help healthcare organizations in assisting patients with a chronic illness to manage their condition at home. This powerful device enables an individual to accurately and precisely control his or her health and lifestyle practices by intelligently interpreting the body's vital information and providing access to this data through a specially designed, cloud-enabled smart app.

AMI has partnered with several major healthcare organizations who have been using B.O.L.T to assist their customers to manage and maintain healthy life. The advantage of B.O.L.T is that it is Bluetooth-enabled, is easy-to-use, and does not require experts to handle it. The relationship between the healthcare professionals and patients are strengthened and medical tourists can feel at peace that they are in good hands and their health is safe. The elderly can live in peace that their vitals are constantly being monitored and abnormality will be notified to their healthcare to take required medical attention.

AMI India, the leader in BIOS and Storage, is now expanding the healthcare initiatives and recently, Team Danvantri (AMI's healthcare team) got selected in the top 10 list of Qualcomm Tricorder, an XPRIZE initiative. Team Danvantri is the only Indian team entered in the competition, measuring itself against entries from US, Canadian, and European teams. The idea of the XPRIZE competition is to make the impossible possible. Applying big data analytics is essential for triaging the patient-generated data stream, identifying what's clinically important and routing it to the appropriate provider. We are working hard at integrating our device with a health cloud solution based on a Hadoop cluster for storage and data analytics. We are also developing and integrating several new functions that will make this device a true life companion.