We recommend reading this article from The Economist. It has an interesting perspective. But we have a few comments from our side of the fence where we develop healthcare innovation in collaboration with both big pharma and start-ups.
It is naive to think that the healthcare industry is falling behind because they haven’t yet fully implemented new technology in their products like other industrial areas have. The development time for a consumer product is in the range of 1-2 years. A new drug with a device (smart or not) takes 8-12 years. TWELVE! The healthcare devices coming to market now started their development process before the iPhone was even invented.
The big issue in our perspective is that technology ads another layer of complexity to the already complex medical device development process. Nobody within the healthcare industry have the experience necessary to handle that monster of a development project reasonably. Nor should they. You can, of course, employ competent people who are up-to-date with cutting edge technology. However, once they’ve adapted to the culture of the medico company, they stop being up-to-date.
But when medico companies collaborate with experienced people from technological consumer product development and medical device development, magic starts to happen. Build the collaboration in a core of agility and innovation management and you are bound for the next big thing.
We totally acknowledge that disruption from new tech will happen. But it is very, very hard to spot the winners among the heaps of losers. Alexa (Amazon echo) is under the same regulatory constraints as everybody else.
The healthcare and medico industries must embrace the new opportunities that lies in technology. That’s not the same as embracing EVERY opportunity.