In Medical Devices, Is "Good Enough" Good Enough?
Device companies have historically been rewarded for even incremental technology enhancements with premium pricing by a price-insensitive customer, all in the spirit that no improvement to the clinical episode would go unrewarded. But in a health care system that is trying to balance exploding costs and greater access, such a goal becomes simply unaffordable. Instead, payors, hospitals and even physicians, encouraged by government policy makers, will increasingly look for technology that delivers an acceptable clinical outcome at a better price.
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There has been a tendency in the health care products industries to design products that serve the maximum number of patients, in order to create the biggest markets. In pursuit of that all inclusive goal, medical device companies have often overengineered products, adding features - and costs - not necessary for the majority of patients. This has been the case in the field of arrhythmia monitoring. By challenging previous assumptions about arrhythmia monitoring, iRhythm believes it's developed a device that improves the diagnostic efficiency and ultimately the economics of arrhythmia care.
For many years, the Paris Course on Revascularization, Europe's largest showcase of devices and technology used in interventional cardiology, more often looked like a mini-TCT, the US-based meeting serving interventional medicine as well. But in the last couple of years, it's been hard to miss a somewhat diminished role for US physicians. While fewer US physicians have made the trip to Paris, interventionalists from China and India have been coming to PCR in greater numbers.This article first appeared in the June 2011 issue of IN VIVO.