Some of the Challenges Medical Technology is Grappling With The development and growth of medical technology lies in the hands of engineers and doctors to collaborate and solve the problem statements in the current scenario

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The MedTech industry is among the world's fastest growing industry sectors. It encompasses a wide range of healthcare solutions and devices for early and rapid diagnosis, minimally invasive treatments, digitised healthcare and care and delivery solutions. According to research, most of the companies operating in this market are optimistic about the future of the industry. However, with the fast-paced development and acceleration also comes a bundle of challenges. Based on the current trends in the industry, there are a few major challenges faced by the start-ups

Longer Gestation Period

MedTech start-ups and entrepreneurs face five major challenges. The most important one being the time involved in taking the product to the market. The gestation period for medtech companies is higher compared to other software and technology start-ups as they have to go through extensive clinical trials, regulatory and compliances before getting commercialised. Also, design and development of medical technology is capital and skill intensive. A product moving from a proof of concept stage to real time working instrument requires resources, skill and time. The maintenance of the instrument also requires adequate amount to get reliable results with efficiency.

Data Management and Security Challenges

With the rapid increase in Digital Healthcare, one of the rising challenges for technology in the market is Data Management and Security. Diagnosis and treatment of patients generates a large amount of data which are to be compiled and stored for future access. The recent development in Information Technology helps us to access the data through of Internet of Things (IOT). Therefore, the data collected is managed and stored in cloud or through other web services to keep the history of the patient confidential. However, storage and retrieval of data requires a lot of care as it is personal data and should be highly secured and well protected against accidental loss, damage, destruction and misuse and misinterpretation of data by unauthorised access.

Coping with Newer Technology

The other challenge faced by Indian medtech entrepreneurs is tackling the emerging medtech market, as most of the medical devices consumed in India are manufactured and imported from foreign countries. Hence, the new devices developed need to be able to compete with the current devices available in the markets by providing better facility, lower cost and advance technology. The newly innovated devices must be able to overcome this market barrier as the success of the product will be based on its market positioning.

Frequent Change in Legislations

According to the "Medical Device Regulations" framed by WHO in 2003, the rules serves as checkpoint in every step of their growth and betterment. These laws are difficult to understand and abide, also as these rules are constantly altered it makes it tedious to follow. Changing legislation remains to be one of the main causes of concern for medical device developers. Evolving regulations on the security, privacy, reliability and safety of medical devices have a significant impact on the core processes, as well as the profitability of medtech companies. The Indian health ministry is pushing forward with the implementation of a globally harmonised medical device regulations. The recently notified "Medical device Rules 2017" that got executed in Jan 2018, might be a breather for the medtech start-ups and companies as this would regulate the Medical devices industry.

In conclusion, medical technology has been an interdisciplinary domain which connects experts from varied disciplines to a develop a product. It is an emerging approach which serves as a solution for diagnosis and imaging to capitalize on the cost sensitive emerging markets. Thus, the development and growth of medical technology lies in the hands of engineers and doctors to collaborate and solve the problem statements in the current scenario.

Muthu Singaram and Prathistha Jain

CEO, IIT Madras HTIC Incubator and Director at Vibazone Private Limited

Muthu Singaram is the CEO of IIT Madras HTIC Incubator. And, Prathistha Jain is the Director at Vibazone Pvt. Ltd. 

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