72 blogs about the topic
Think of innovation in health and many people conjure up images of men and women in white coats – surrounded by coloured test tubes crouched over microscopes in sterile laboratories – developing intricate vaccines or other miracle cures. Yet these tightly controlled, high cost, industrial scale operations are only one end of a very long scale. In the developing world at least, we’re increasingly witnessing some of the more interesting, impactful healthcare innovations coming from lone entrepreneurs and problem solvers. Large multinationals just don’t operate in what can often be seen as the ‘scrappy long tail’ of social innovation. Not only are few present in these markets, many just don’t understand them – or even worse they don’t understand why they need to be in them.
One central theme revolved around the Second World Health Organisation’s Global Forum on Medical Devices – the WHO recognises medical devices as an investment and not a cost. However, there is a mismatch between innovation of medical devices and public health needs. 677 participants from 108 countries took their pick from 28 workshops and 4 plenary sessions. Held on November 22-24th in Geneva, the event enabled academia, international organisations, industry and NGOs to gain insight from 159 presentations, 144 posters (one of which was presented by EDMA on Lab Tests Online), and 8 films.
Consider the cell phone.
As an engine of change, it is a romantically disruptive one, a technology that crisscrosses borders and thrives on connection in all its forms – to networks, to people, to the world. Already, in areas of Africa and India, mobile phones play every part at once, bankers and pharmacists and secretaries rolled into one. In developing countries, the path of least resistance to modernization is flung up one phone tower at a time. They have taken a platform we have spent on Angry Birds and advertisements, and woven a way of life.
Two years ago in our annual report on the medtech sector, Pulse of the industry, we warned that the sector was facing a perfect storm, caused by a general shift toward value-based care, growing regulatory pressure in the US and limited resources as a result of a global downturn. Those events came to pass, with the added complication of tougher new regulatory issues in Europe. It was time, we felt, in this year’s report to see how the sector is weathering the storm.
Posted on 14.08.2013
Why do the mHealth Grand Tour, I mean, I’ve never been a sporting cyclist (yes, I’ve commuted by bike for years but not a 100 miles a day) nor am I a huge Tour de France fan, neither do I have diabetes… and developing a rather numb posterior, day after day, seriously?
It has been my privilege to serve as Executive Producer of Lab Tests Online for the last twelve years, overseeing its launch in the United States and expansion into 16 other countries. Of course, to say I “oversaw” the launch does not quite capture the roll-up-the-sleeves intensity of those early days in 2001 when I and then-intern Ellen O’Connell worked sometimes through the night and in collaboration with our Editorial Review Board to build and develop all that became the foundation of Lab Tests Online. In those first two years, the pace was unrelenting as we continued to develop, learn, and re-develop various aspects of the site, steadily improving the content and laying the groundwork for a model that would dramatically alter the scope of our work in a few short years.
From the day I embarked on my journey in the world of medical technology as a Eucomed Communications Intern, I have been impressed by the wide spectrum of technological breakthroughs that surges forward with unprecedented speed. At the same time, I have come to realise that innovation plays a key role in the medtech industry as it helps to improve patients’ lives. And one technology that substantially contributes to driving innovation is three-dimensional printing – also termed ‘additional manufacturing’ – which has already been used for the production of medical devices, bones and, most lately, for a tracheal splint that saved a baby’s life. This printing technique takes on yet another dimension when it comes to producing human tissue and manufacturing human organs. However real this may seem, researchers at Princeton University in New Jersey, the United States, have made the impossible possible. The team has conceived a 3-D ‘bionic’ ear, interwoven with electronics and tissue – and capable of hearing radio frequencies by far surpassing the range of a natural human ear. If only Van Gogh and Beethoven were still alive, one would think.
We are currently facing a crisis in medicine, one that I believe has much larger repercussions than climate change and would endanger each and every one of our lives.
What’s happening is that we are seeing the emergence of these “super” diseases that mutate to be resistant to medical treatments and are difficult to diagnose, one of the main ones being cancer. In the next few years several cancers are predicted to increase their death tolls by 200% because of the lack of new medical innovation. These diseases are mutating at rates that are far faster than our current rate of medical innovation, and in the natural world it is survival of the fittest.
As an activist for maternal health rights in Romania and the Head of the White Cross Foundation for Maternity Healthcare Services, increasing health literacy and access to healthcare for as many Romanian mothers as possible is extremely instrumental to me. It is important that they understand the role and significance of prenatal tests. Though we [my organisation] had already been directing women to Lab Tests Online as part of an effort to help them better understand the role and importance of these tests, we relied on the languages that were available – English, French or German (as most educated women in Romanian are fluent in at least one of these languages), Hungarian (as Romania has quite a large Hungarian-speaking minority), Italian and Spanish (spoken by many low-income Romanian women who engaged in seasonal work in Spain and Italy). Unfortunately, the great service Lab Tests Online sites provide was not available in Romanian, or at least so was the case until the launch of the country’s own site in November 2012 through the noteworthy efforts of the Romanian Association of Medical Products Providers.