Every company faces obstacles; it’s up to you to see the potential for product breakthroughs.
Legal liability, an ever-changing regulatory environment, reimbursement—these are issues that every device company faces. Some hurdles, however, could pave the way for advances in device development and manufacturing.
For example, take the debate surrounding MoM hip implants. “The initial response has been we should go back to what we knew originally worked –small heads, [a] metal head in an ultrahigh molecular weight polyliner,” said Adam Briscoe, PhD, product development project manager at Invibio, at the OrthoTec conference
this month. “I think that’s a valid response—we know they work reasonably well. But I think the problem is that we’re not addressing the problems that led to the interest in larger heads in the first place—larger heads and thinner shells. We haven’t got the improvement in dislocation, and we’ve haven’t gotten the reduction in bone resection during operation. So there may be some opportunity for a material that can be used in a much thinner section for much larger acetabular components.”
A new generation of consumers is entering the healthcare market. With instant information provided by the Internet, patients are more educated and seeking more life-enriching products
. They are opting for treatments sooner. “They want better functional performance, better mobility, motion, [and] activity,” said Bob Hastings, director of research at DePuy Orthopaedics. “They want minimal incision, tissue preservation, early rehabilitation, and [they want to] minimize their postoperative pain.” In addition, the customers of OEMs (surgeons, patients, and hospitals) hold manufacturers and their products to the same expectations in terms of rate of innovation and pricing
, said Christopher Scifert, PhD, engineering manager at Orchid Design.
Although orthopaedic companies continue to work on improving implant wear and performance over existing products, this increased patient demand could pave the way for new products and materials. It also presents a big opportunity for companies that can offer products that provide early intervention for younger patients, according to Hastings.
As summed up by Bob Hastings, Adam Briscoe, and Christopher Scifert in this table, there are many challenges you face. Take a closer look at where you should be transforming these obstacles into making your company more successful.
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