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Medica 2016: Trends and observations

November 16, 2016

I'm in Dusseldorf this week attending Medica 2016, the world’s largest medical trade show, with Rainer Schnabel, our Director of New Product Development. 

Here are some of my thoughts from day one:

Manufacturers are improving the value equation
As competitive pressures tighten, manufactures are implementing rental and service programs to extend their value proposition.  Beyond supplying equipment, manufacturers are increasingly relying on financing packages coupled with downstream services such as infection control, maintenance, services, etc. 

Some exhibitors spoke to us about implementing risk-sharing programs where equipment manufacturers are absorbing some of the risks associated with capital acquisition.  If customers don’t see promised benefits within six months (i.e. reduction in slips and falls) then there is a rebate or the opportunity to return equipment.

The EU is getting more restrictive
Although we generally think of the U.S. market as being the most restrictive, some exhibitors spoke about increasing legal challenges in the EU. In particular, prohibitions on the use of social media as a marketing tool are making it difficult for manufacturers to communicate value proposition.

Economic outcomes part of sales pitch
Continued drive for cost reductions are causing medical manufacturers to increasingly pivot to trying to document and communicate the “total cost of ownership” for durable medical equipment. Beyond the initial acquisition costs, how can manufacturers capture and convey related costs?  Manufacturers are trying to show rolled up costs including allowances for service, cleaning, improved patient care, etc.  There was a lot of talk about health economic outcomes.   

Although we generally think of the U.S. market as being the most restrictive, some exhibitors spoke about increasing legal challenges in the EU.

Consolidating and branching out
Continued consolidation of providers of hospital equipment are causing manufacturers to build out the breadth of the product offering so they can provide a broader range of solutions within the same sales and distribution framework. Single SKU med device companies seem to be coming rarer.

More out-of-hospital solutions
Cost pressure on hospitals and emergency departments are increasing focus on tailored solutions specifically designed for day-surgery and outpatient clinics as a more visible revenue source.

Identifier requirements may decrease equipment reuse
Upcoming requirements for unique identifiers for hospital equipment may have the unintended consequence of increasing the use of single-use, disposable surgical tools versus reusable, sterilizable tools.  Tools that are reused may need to be serialized and tracked to the patient’s records to provide an audit trail, which is increasingly complicated.  Although Europe has traditionally promoted reuse for environmental reasons, this might be decreased due to serialization requirements. 

Below is a gallery of some of the sights from our first day at Medica. We’ll be sharing thoughts regularly this week on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.