We were delighted to exhibit at the MedTech Forum in Dublin on 30th May – 1st June. Here our team share their reflections, highlights and key takeaways from the event. Jump to:
- Industry & Innovation highlights from Prof. Phil Richardson
- Market Access and Regulatory highlights from Katie Rose
- Our MedTech Forum experience
Or visit our virtual booth to access our MedTech market access resources
Prof. Phil Richardson’s highlights from the MedTech Forum – Industry & Innovation
Phil Richardson (Chair & Chief Innovation Officer, Mtech Access) shares his highlights from the thought leadership shared during the MedTech Forum:
Tanks, timing and interoperability
I didn't expect to see tanks at a MedTech conference! Yet Major General Tim Hodgetts, Surgeon-General for the British Army, brought to life the importance of interoperability, interchangeability and intergrability, with images from the front line.
If the focus is only on interoperability, what happens at home when none of the interoperable devices plug together? Or if a patient's arm is simply not long enough to hold every needed wearable? Whilst the translation from the battlefield to the patient's environment may be an uncomfortable metaphor for some, there are probably many similarities.
One is the timeframe between need and a suitable solution being deployed. It takes too long. This discussion was brilliantly amplified by Rob ten Hoedt from Medtronic, whose impatience was clearly focused on better outcomes for patients.
Kevin Taylor from Johnson & Johnson rightly questioned why regulatory barriers mean that products approved in certain nations were geofenced away from patients in others. This makes no sense from a patient's point of view.
Universal healthcare, collaboration and partnership
There was a very interesting debate on universal healthcare, with many of the components suggested already tested in some countries with less than predicted outcomes. The plan doesn't seem to be working: transposing existing successful health system practices doesn't create the desired effect.
What would happen if we combined the innovative expertise from the 1,000 or so people assembled in Dublin and countless colleagues in MedTech? MedTech Europe attracted a rich and diverse range of delegates, speakers and sponsors with great engagement in the sessions and in the exhibition area.
A clear message emerged for CTOs, CMOs, CNIOs, and CCIOs in health systems:
Start to think about how sustainability, innovation, regulation and partnerships with the MedTech industry would unlock challenges from workforce, through to self-care at home.
It's possible that the focus on the clinical model alone, and controlled comparisons, may not truly capture the insight that is available from real-world evidence and the patient's lived experience. Siemens Healthineers were clear that the key question is about improving care out of hospitals; a question we asked in NHS Dorset as part of the Clinical Services Review. It was all too easy to focus on the big spend and the available data and miss the 90%+ of people who receive their care in the community.
We should be viewing clinicians by trained capability and skills rather than professional labels. Mutual capability development means a closer partnership between clinicians and academia. MedTech has a real role to play as it is able to provide a digital twin of socially based health systems connecting together the practicalities of daily life for people with the expertise needed. Patient centricity is a resources choice rather than a mission and the ability to collaborate shifts the mindset from our product to our partnership. That is the North Star. An opportunity to collectively engineer for life.
Market Access and Regulatory highlights from the MedTech Forum
Katie Rose (Consultant – Market Access, Mtech Access) summarises some of the other key themes related to regulation and market access:
The MedTech forum provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with MedTech innovators, experts and likeminded individuals, as well as to learn through engaging presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions.
Navigating MDR and IVDR – tips for dealing with notified bodies
The ‘Ask the Expert’ sessions prompted interesting and honest discussions amongst a variety of stakeholders. One particular session focused on ‘Best Practices to Avoid Challenging Situations During Conformity Assessment Procedures under the MDR and IVDR’. Following a presentation of best practice tips for pre-, during and post-conformity assessment, MedTech company representatives and notified body representatives discussed the particular areas of difficulty. Out of this, I noted down these tips for MedTech innovators:
- Maintain a good dialogue with your notified body including regular meetings with an account manager
- When questions are received from the notified body, it is important not to make assumptions as to what the question is asking for. Instead, have a call with the notified body to fully understand what the issue is and how this needs to be rectified whether that be change of wording, additional context etc.
- There must be a legal basis for a non-conformity and so if there is no legal basis, don't be afraid to talk to the notified body and push back. Ask KOLs to look at the non-conformity as they may be able to help
- Ensure that wording in advertising / promotion mirrors the wording in the technical report
- Avoid the word 'novel'. In medical device terms, novel refers to a device that is so new that it would require expert panels and a very high level of scrutiny
- Transparency is paramount to a good relationship – for example, the following should be shared with the notified body as soon as possible – manufacturer reports, inspection reports and post-marketing surveillance data
The environmental cost of a medical device
A key theme throughout the conference was that of environmental impact and sustainability. A number of sessions reiterated the fact that the environmental cost of a medical device or technology is becoming an increasingly important factor in decision making alongside clinical effectiveness and safety.
It is widely known that the UK NHS has committed to becoming net zero by 2040 for directly controlled emissions, and by 2045 for influenced emissions through the products and services purchased from partners and suppliers. The second target has implications for suppliers to the NHS and so companies need to start thinking about the following interim targets the NHS has put in place:
- From April 2027: all suppliers will be required to publicly report targets and emissions, and publish a Carbon Reduction Plan for global emissions aligned to the NHS net zero target, for all of their Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions
- From April 2028: new requirements will be introduced overseeing the provision of carbon footprinting for individual products supplied to the NHS. The NHS will work with suppliers and regulators to determine the scope and methodology
- From 2030: suppliers will only be able to qualify for NHS contracts if they can demonstrate their progress through published progress reports and continued carbon emissions reporting through the Evergreen sustainable supplier assessment
Our MedTech Forum experience
Ahead of The MedTech Forum, some of our team were delighted to drop in on the Meeting of Minds Digital Health Conference pre-event hosted by the Irish Medtech Association. Phil Richardson particularly enjoyed a session on sustainable market access in the US and Irish markets.
Following these sessions, we popped over to the main hall to set up our stand ready to welcome visitors the next day. We had iPads ready to demonstrate our digital customer communication tools and QR codes to take our visitors through to our virtual booth, featuring a wealth of MedTech market access resources.
After setting up our booth the team headed through to the welcome drinks reception.
“It was great to be in a room full of people who are so passionate about developing new medical technology and also working to get them to patients. The atmosphere of the conference was brilliant and you got the feeling that people were open to working collaboratively and were interested to learn from each other.” – Parishee Desai (Senior Partnerships Coordinator, Mtech Access)
On Wednesday, the conference got into full swing with a really interesting programme of sessions covering everything from policy to regulation, environmental impact to AI.
Our team also embraced the opportunity to speak to a wide range of attendees, from across the sector:
“Our MedTech client base is really important to us and so we were keen to attend a dedicated conference to meet more people from the industry and to understand what opportunities and challenges they are facing. What came across to me was the enthusiasm that delegates had for the technologies they worked with, which were so often borne out of passion for solving a problem in an innovative way. I spent time meeting other exhibitors and enjoyed learning about how they supported device manufacturers from product conception and design through to regulatory processes and production efficiency.” – Lydia Crowe (Commercial Director, Mtech Access)
Clare Foy summed up the experience for our team, saying:
“I really enjoyed the MedTech Forum in Dublin. I was only able to attend for one day, but it was a productive day that sparked lots of great ideas from my colleagues and insightful meetings with clients and partners. I am looking forward to following up on these ideas with some exciting new opportunities for the team” – Clare Foy (Director – Global Market Access, Mtech Access)
For more MedTech resources visit our virtual booth.