valueI recently posted on 10 trends from the JP Morgan 2016 Healthcare conference. Because it’s held by JP Morgan, a lot of the perspective is from investors. And that is why it’s important – follow the money. How might some of those trends impact medical device design?

It seems the main topic on everyone’s mind is how to reduce the cost of care delivery. Fee-for-service is being replaced by delivering value and improvement in patient outcomes. This is going to put pressure on device companies to find ways to reduce their development costs as well as to find ways to reduce component manufacturing and assembly cost. Cost of materials will be weighted heavier in product design decisions. Minimizing part count through clever design will be increasingly important. Research and testing methods will need to be streamlined and made more efficient, as will the entire design and engineering process.

In developing a new medical device, or redesigning an existing product, the value that the device offers to the healthcare ecosystem will need to be an integral part of the design brief upfront, and held as a primary driver in the process going forward. Companies will also need to design for and capture performance metrics that prove value.

As a means to reduce costs, health systems are going to move more care delivery to outpatient services. Medical device and product companies will find opportunities in markets that focus on those services. Consumers are becoming more discriminating in their healthcare purchase decisions. Products that can be sold direct-to-consumer, or at least marketed to them, will have good potential.

Finally, good design will be increasingly important in promoting brand.