When it comes to innovation, the rise of consumer technology giants entering the healthcare space, and interrupting the traditional ecosystem in which medtech device manufacturers, clinicians and providers currently exist, can be seen as "Goliath versus Goliath" matchups between large companies looking to maintain or capture opportunities.

 

There was the case of medtech giant Medtronic PLC versus tech giant Apple in detecting atrial fibrillation on a consumer wearable, and leading hearing solutions provider Sonova Holding AG facing headphone maker Bose in the case of hearing aids that no longer need to be fitted by physicians. These are just a couple of the "Goliath versus Goliath" matchups that have made waves in recent weeks.

 

And it's not just tech giants entering the traditional healthcare arena. More and more tech startups are also coming to play with a wide range of innovations and solutions.

 

Take Livongo, which is using consumer health technology, personalized health insights and real-time support to drive behavior change and offer comprehensive care for diabetes and hypertension patients—a paradigm shift away from product-focused giants like Abbott Laboratories Inc. and Medtronic.

 

Another example is UK-based Cambridge Medical Robotics, which is shaking up the current robotics business model. Instead of selling robots for millions of dollars, it plans to provide modular robotic arms to hospitals as part of a managed service. In exchange for a certain number of procedures, CMR Surgical Ltd. will provide training, support and service.

 

These examples show that medtech’s current way of working is being threatened by tech companies that appear to be slowly breaking down existing barriers related to approval, payment, regulation and information.

 

The question is, should medtech manufacturers be worried? Despite this very real threat, medical device companies have five key advantages at their disposal. To read about these advantages, check out my latest article for Medtech Insight, which I co-wrote with my colleague, Brian Chapman.