Exploring the Top 3 Trends in the Medical Technologies Industry

by Judith Bui / April 9, 2024

Benchmark stays on top of the latest medical innovations and trends as a premier design, engineering, and manufacturing partner to some of the largest original electronic manufacturers (OEMs) in the medical industry. As we navigate yet another year of advancements in medical technologies, we are looking at key trends and innovations that will drive the medical industry for many years. This article provides our take on the impact of these advanced technologies and the opportunities and challenges that come with them. We are honored to support our customers today and into the future, helping them develop and build life-saving medical technologies that better serve the individuals at the center of it all—the patients.

Trend #1: Digital Therapeutics

In recent years, medical industry innovation has been heavily defined by pandemic-era disruptions that drove people home, resulting in today’s more remote, digital lifestyle. In response to the stay-at-home orders, medical device manufacturers have developed technology that has enabled better patient access to healthcare in a digital environment. This has led to developments in medical technologies for virtual visits, point-of-care devices (that allow for at-home care and data tracking), and digital therapeutics. Digital therapeutics is an evolution of point-of-care and other digital health devices by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the user's relationship with the device. AI in digital therapeutics is an evidence-based therapeutic intervention that provides patients with feedback to ensure the correct use of real-time results by the patient's medical team. This advanced technology goes a step further by using the diagnostic information to make informed decisions on how to adjust a patient's treatment to help them better manage their needs.

Digital therapeutics offers added tools to patients and healthcare providers, enhancing the efficacy of remote-care modalities. This advanced technology improves access to healthcare for traditionally underrepresented communities and offers more personalized treatment plans while reducing expenses. Additionally, gathering real-time, population-level data with increased patient engagement will enhance the efficacy of managing and treating chronic medical disorders and diseases. The development of digital therapeutic technology requires many diverse capabilities, from sensor fusion to user interface design, often requiring outsourcing to development partners when in-house capabilities in one of these areas are not available.

Trend #2: Generative AI Opportunities

As with all industries today, the medical industry is paying close attention to generative AI (GenAI) and how its applications could impact medical innovations. For example, medical technology designers and manufacturers are identifying opportunities for GenAI to be incorporated into medical devices to better diagnose and recommend customized treatments to patients. GenAI will help reduce costs, free up physician time for more critical treatments, assist in predictive imaging, and provide real-time data and guidance for improved surgical accuracy.

On the design and manufacturing side, GenAI will also be used to deploy digital twins to model, monitor, and optimize medical devices. The benefits of a digital twin with GenAI capabilities include shorter time to market, optimized manufacturing processes, and increased proactive collaboration between engineering and operations. GenAI could dramatically impact optimum performance in environments with high repetition, low risk, and substantial data availability to predict trends, patterns, and outcomes to generate new information and decisions. However, there is also tremendous risk due to the open-source nature of the data and the need to protect patient-identifiable information. To mitigate these risks, many medical device manufacturers collaborate with a trusted partner to provide valuable insights and solutions to secure their medical devices.

Trend #3: Sustainable Product Development

Sustainability holds critical importance across industries, and the medical technology sector is no exception. The World Bank (in collaboration with Health Care Without Harm) recently found that the healthcare sector generates approximately 5 percent of global emissions. These emissions are primarily due to single-use devices, supply chain emissions, and consumables.

With more companies increasingly prioritizing environmental responsibility, they are seeking ways to minimize their ecological footprint throughout the product lifecycle. Efforts include improvements in manufacturing efficiency, product miniaturization, reduced packaging, and regionalized supply chains.

Challenges persist, however, such as establishing accurate emissions data baselines and aligning sustainability goals with business objectives. Nonetheless, there are significant opportunities for further advancement through partnerships focused on supply chain efficiencies. By collaborating with strategic partners, companies can enhance regionalization efforts, lower carbon footprints, and engage design teams to drive improved product design for a more circular economy. Collaboration with a trusted partner committed to sustainability is essential to driving meaningful change toward a more sustainable future. 

Push the Limits of What's Possible with Benchmark's Medical Technologies Solutions

Your medical device deserves more than just a service provider—it deserves a strategic partner deeply rooted in the intricacies of medical engineering and manufacturing. Since our inception as a medical device company over 40 years ago, Benchmark has set the standard in the industry. Our global network, fortified with comprehensive medical certifications, offers the expertise and footprint necessary to expedite your device’s journey to market while minimizing risk throughout its lifecycle.

With a passion for innovation driving us forward, we’re committed to meeting industry regulatory standards and ensuring compliance while pioneering groundbreaking solutions in critical areas such as connected medical devices, energy delivery systems, and fluid management. Backed by industry-leading certifications and registrations (including FDA/QSR compliance, EU MDR compliance, and MedAccred accreditation), we deliver personalized attention on a global scale.

Trust Benchmark as your pathway to innovation and success in the constantly shifting medical technologies landscape.

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about the author

Judith Bui

Judith Bui (MBA, PMP) is a proven leader in global program management with experience in both the original electronic manufacturing (OEM) and contract manufacturing (CM) industries. She specializes in medical device product design, multi-site new production introductions (NPI), and manufacturing transfers. Judith is passionate about building strong relationships with clients and team members to understand new technologies that drive strategic growth.

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