Medical Device Connectivity: Market Development and When to Buy

I was reading an article the other day on “smart” pumps, and was struck by the comment that one might want to, “wait to buy a “smart” pump system until the market is mature.” I doubt that any medical device market will mature then remain constant and unchanged. Over time medical device's basic technology (data acquisition, image quality, infusing meds, etc.) matures and becomes undifferentiated to the point that vendors find themselves competing more and more on price, services, and “value-add” – this is a mature medical device market. This very “maturity” gives rise to new market requirements – since everyone's device delivers great data (or whatever) users start to think about ways vendors could help manage the data (or whatever) their devices produce. At the same time vendors are looking for anything to differentiate their products and add value besides price. This is the very market maturity that gives rise to “smart” pumps today or `5 years ago, cath lab recorders like Marquette's MacLab that helped kill off E for M. Most device markets have either started this value migration or market transition; or, like the cath lab, already gone through it. This type of medical device connectivity has a narrow scope of workflow automation, focused on a single vendor's one device (or maybe two). The resulting transitions, while firmly outside the comfort zone of most device vendors,...

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