MD+DI has just published a very insightful interview of Paul Fearis, CEO of medical product research firm Clinvue. Fearis worked with UK design bureau PDD and spearheaded Sagentia's penetration of the US market before cofounding Clinvue in 2010. He and his team spend a lot of time in hospitals around the world conducting research for customers and that leads Fearis to make some interesting statements that bear repeating.
When reporter John Conroy asks about the state of medtech innovation today, Fearis points to a sideways shift in the United States.
"People are making quite a lot of noise about healthcare reform, or Obamacare, [that it] is stifling innovation et cetera. The truth is that I’m not particularly seeing that," says Fearis. "What I am seeing is a redirection of innovation effort toward meeting the challenges that the economy and the recession and the current healthcare environment create." He cites the UK and other European countries as trendsetters in the shape of medtech innovation to come.
Says Fearis: "If you look at the UK specifically as a bit of a trailblazer here, and some other European countries, there’s a very, very strong sentiment now around medical device innovation, and it was captured by a very senior guy in the NHS as part of a client project a little while ago. The quote pretty much verbatim was: 'Without cost impact data—and I don’t care how good the product is—if it doesn’t save us money, it won’t be used in the new NHS.' "
The new innovation challenge, stresses Fearis, is cost reduction and improving the standard of care, and not solely pushing boundaries and developing blockbuster devices. "That is not to say that innovation can’t be radical . . . but it has to come with a very robust cost benefit to the healthcare system or it simply won’t fly. That’s really the new innovation challenge. It’s less about a better mousetrap; it’s about catching the mouse more efficiently at lower cost."