One of the top trends in 2018 is digital healthcare. The concept has grown quickly in the last few years and is now an intricate part of healthcare.

As a manufacturer in this industry, the question is, what does digital healthcare really mean to you? Is it about a connected world, or is it creating the need for a smart device? For one thing, the trend toward digital means that newer (and larger) competition is entering the medtech and healthcare manufacturing markets.

If you are supplying components or medical devices, does this mean your product has to be a smart device to succeed? Is every future band aid going to have a sensor on it? Is every catheter going to be able to take a patient’s core temperature while it performs other essential functions?

The answer might be yes – someday – as it becomes more practical to apply new materials and sensors to existing products (as well as those that have not even been created yet).

In the meantime, customers are also telling you to take cost out of products. How does one add more technology to a product while lowering its cost?

The answer may be to use your critical thinking skills as an analog computer (from Neal O. Hines’ Atoms, Nature, and Man – “Analog computers have been used experimentally for theoretical projections of results.”) In other words, don’t let the coming digital healthcare world intimidate or panic you.

As you plan for your product roadmap, stay calm and put your analog computer on. It’s not going to happen in one day or even one year. It’s going to take time for technology to align with the opportunity to truly simplify healthcare through digital offerings throughout the healthcare system. That does not mean you should ignore the coming digital trends. You should think digitally as you analyze your company’s future and the implications for its product portfolio. Perhaps there may be opportunities in establishing alliances with these new technological industry players (today or in the future). Create the vision that helps your company aid your customers to win.

It is clear that companies who help their customers succeed are often more successful themselves.

In the meantime, offer that dumb catheter that only saves lives by miraculously managing fluid in patient’s bodies. It’s OK to make that next (sensorless) bandage (with the logo from a famous kids movie) as you make a patient smile when opening your package. If you’re already a digital player, then continue to process market dynamics that will help you grow by offering the right value proposition. Think digital as you bring your own analog computer to project your company’s future success and ability to win.

Digitally yours,

MedWorld Advisors

MedTech MindSet is a monthly column discussing opportunities in the medical industry. About the authors: Florence Joffroy-Black is a long-time medtech M&A and marketing expert with significant experience in the medtech industry and is now the CEO of MedWorld Advisors. She can be reached at Dave Sheppard is a former medical OEM manufacturer Fortune 500 executive and is now a principal at MedWorld Advisors. He can be reached at