Medical devices and equipment is a multi-billion dollar industry. But a major drag on its growth is a consequence of its structure with more than 99 per cent of firms in the sector defined as small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).
Dr David Bell of Brunel University London said: “Their lack of size often means they don’t have access to expertise to explain the health economics arguments of the benefits of new and improved products.
“In a world where healthcare systems need to be able to provide more for less, validation of the health economics arguments of products is essential when seeking to market new ones and even more in justifying investment and guiding product development.
“Without that analysis companies can develop features that aren’t regarded as necessary or important by their customers. So you might be able to slash the time a test takes from 60 minutes to 60 seconds but if that simply adds cost without a clear, identifiable benefit to patient or doctor or hospital or clinic it’s wasted effort.”
To bridge the gap Brunel is launching a web-based virtual health economics platform – HecoAnalystics Ltd. This combines clever software using semantic technology and experienced health economists to make proper assessments.
Added Dr Bell: “Online for customers will be a suite of decision-making tools that allow a company to make instant health economic assessment of their product portfolio which allows scenario planning in response to new development, or changes in clinical or market data.
“Client medtech companies will be able to access a complete understanding of a disease area and treatment pathway – knowledge which is currently expensive and difficult to access.”