From Crisis Comes Innovation: Providers and MedTech Collaborating to Build Healthcare’s Future

In the last year, we’ve become accustomed to infrared thermometers at entrances to public places. Most people may not realize this technology has its roots in space exploration. Yet this everyday part of our “new normal” originates from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Creativity that translates innovative ideas into solutions is needed more than ever in the face of public health crises.

Our health systems are facing many challenges. Fortunately, the potential for innovation is immense. Just look at the speed of vaccine development and regulatory approval. My experience leading transformational companies in the MedTech industry has shown me collaboration is key to accelerating approval and adoption of technology. Alliances between providers and the MedTech community can help provide a response to the immediate risks — and propel us toward a future of less invasive outpatient care.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) estimated that hospitals in the United States lost $202.6 billion from March 1 to June 30, 2020.  While there was a massive reduction in elective procedures during this timeframe, providers came back strongly, specifically related to less-invasive outpatient procedures.  The company I lead, Insightec, created a device that uses ultrasound waves to treat deep inside the brain in a single, outpatient treatment. We were proud to be one of the innovators that bounced backed quickly, however, we recognize that our provider partners experienced a deep cut with cancelled surgeries and other crucial services, accounting for a loss of $161.4 billion in revenue over the same time period.

This puts hospitals in a Catch-22—emerging technology could offer revenue-generating procedures and services to help return to profitability,, but COVID-19 has severely impacted many medical systems’ ability to make this type of capital investment. Surmounting this obstacle requires MedTech companies to see hospitals as essential partners. Insightec’s global teams are opening a dialogue with hospital decision makers about how we can work together to transform patient care.

Innovative avenues exist: medical device companies and hospital systems may consider exploring cost or risk sharing arrangements, or operating lease agreements. Creative and cost-effective solutions like these allow hospital budgets to have greater impact by minimizing major capital investments and building new revenue generating service lines. Medical device companies can help develop novel business models, while ensuring continued growth for both sides of the partnership.

Meeting New Patient Expectations

If we can find a positive outcome of the pandemic for healthcare, it is the adoption of technology paired with the human touch to enhance patient services. The use of telemedicine has exploded and now physicians are realizing that remote care can increase efficiency and accessibility. This progress is hastening the development of technological solutions to remotely monitor the health of patients in their homes, enabling safer management of care for at risk populations.

Could the preference to remain at home change the current standard of care? Should a treatment require costly hospitalization, or can care be accomplished with a single outpatient session, paired with personalized and sometimes remote consultation? Can less invasive surgical procedures, such as Focused Ultrasound, become standard of care, removing the expense of traditional operating rooms, sterile instrumentation, and potential readmissions from infection?

Access to care and staff experience drive provider selection, which makes health systems’ investments in new technologies even more critical to increase patient satisfaction. In addition to finding flexible models for providers to implement new technologies, Insightec believes in going beyond transactional relationships with health systems and physicians.

We can and must create ongoing collaboration to help deliver effective care and provide the seamless consumer experience patients now expect.
Innovating Together

The creation of COVID-19 vaccines in under a year is a remarkable example of innovation driven by hardship. The landscape that hospitals currently face, with competing capacities for investment in innovation and growing patient expectations, sparks potential collaborations for providers and MedTech companies, paving a bright future for healthcare, together.

Maurice R. Ferré MD is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Insightec, a global medical technology innovator of incisionless surgery. Dr. Ferré brings over 20 years of experience in the medical device industry. Before Insightec, Dr. Ferré served as Chairman of the Board and CEO of MAKO Surgical Corp, a transformational robotic surgical company that he co-founded in 2004. The company was IPO’d in 2008 and sold to Stryker Corp. for $1.65 billion in 2013. Prior to MAKO, Dr. Ferré was Founder, CEO and President of Visualization Technology Inc. (1993-2002). VTI became the world leader in image guided surgery for ENT, cranial and orthopedic procedures. The Company was acquired by GE Healthcare in 2002.

Dr. Ferré received his Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health from Boston University in 1992.  He was the recipient of the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of The Year® Florida in 2020 and 2007 and was awarded BioFlorida’s Lifetime Achievpent Award in 2018.

Dr. Ferré is a mpber of the Board of Trustees for Boston University and is also active on the boards of The Everglades Foundation and Endeavor Miami.

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