Tagged: commentary

  • AI is the invisible hand of 21st-century capitalism
  • AI transforms economies by automating tasks, optimising resource allocation, and boosting productivity across industries
  • It drives innovation and growth in healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and transportation, while raising ethical and community related concerns
  • Addressing AI's ethical implications, investing in technical education and retraining are essential for equitable benefits and the wellbeing of society
AI: The New Wealth of Nations

In 1776, Adam Smith, a Scottish economist known as the father of Capitalism, published An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, which laid the foundation for modern economics and introduced the concept of the invisible hand of capitalism, which describes how individual self-interest can benefit society through the efficient allocation of resources. This work became the cornerstone of the Industrial Revolution and modern capitalist society, transforming economies by emphasising the division of labour and market-driven growth. In the 21st century, artificial intelligence (AI) emerges as the invisible hand, poised to herald a new era of capitalism.

AI distinguishes itself from previous technologies through its ability to process vast amounts of information, make decisions, and implement outcomes with speed and accuracy far beyond human capability. Just as the division of labour allowed for increased productivity in Adam Smith's time, AI automates and optimises tasks, enhancing efficiency across industries. AI systems analyse datasets with unprecedented speed, uncovering insights and innovations that humans might miss. This capability mirrors the invisible hand Adam Smith described, where individual pursuits benefit society.

Moreover, just as Adam Smith argued that free markets lead to wealth generation, the adoption and integration of AI can democratise opportunities, creating new markets for economic development. Nations and corporations that embrace AI technology are positioned to gain competitive advantages, akin to how industrialised nations and leading companies surged ahead during the Industrial Revolution. AI stands as the new cornerstone of wealth creation, transforming economies, driving innovation, and reshaping the global economic landscape, echoing the impact of Adam Smith's principles in a contemporary context.

This being the case, we stand on the cusp of another economic revolution, driven not by the incremental advancements of traditional technologies but by the transformative power of AI, which ensures optimal resource allocation, minimises inefficiencies, and impacts individuals, organisations, communities, industries, and society. AI is not just enhancing human labour but redefining it, ensuring a future where economic growth and societal benefits are more aligned than ever before.

In this Commentary

This Commentary explores how AI emerges as the new invisible hand of capitalism, transforming our global economy. Drawing an analogy to Adam Smith’s principles, we highlight AI's ability to process vast amounts of data, optimise resource allocation, and enhance efficiency across various sectors. The Commentary delves into AI’s impact on individuals, organisations, communities, and industries, demonstrating its potential to drive innovation and economic growth. Additionally, it addresses AI’s ethical and societal implications, emphasising the need for inclusive policies to ensure benefits from the technology are equitably distributed and contribute to a more prosperous and sustainable future.
The Rise of AI and Its Economic Significance

AI, the ability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour, has evolved from theoretical concepts to practical applications, embedding itself into the fabric of modern society. Unlike previous technological advancements, AI's capacity to learn from data, adapt to new information, and perform tasks traditionally requiring human intelligence, represents a significant shift in how industries operate and innovate.

In healthcare, AI enhances diagnostic accuracy and personalises treatment plans by analysing vast amounts of medical information and identifying patterns that might be missed by health professionals. Algorithms can detect diseases like cancer at early stages, substantially improving patient outcomes.
You might also like:
In finance, AI optimises trading strategies by processing real-time market data and executing trades at speeds unattainable by humans, while also enhancing risk management through predictive analytics. Fraud detection systems powered by AI can analyse transaction patterns to identify suspicious activities, safeguarding financial institutions and their customers.

The manufacturing sector benefits from AI through automation and predictive maintenance, which boosts efficiency and reduces costs. Smart manufacturing uses AI to monitor equipment in real-time, predicting failures before they occur and minimising downtime.

Transportation systems leverage AI for route optimisation and the development of autonomous vehicles, transforming logistics and urban planning. AI-driven traffic management systems can reduce congestion and improve safety on the roads.

AI's impact extends to agriculture with precision farming techniques, where drones and sensors monitor crop health and soil conditions, leading to higher yields and sustainable farming practices. In customer service, AI-driven chatbots and recommendation systems provide personalised experiences and improve customer satisfaction.

Such widespread adoption across various sectors not only drives economic growth but also enhances productivity and innovation. As a force in shaping the global economy, AI continues to redefine the boundaries of what machines can achieve, promising a future where intelligent systems are integral to everyday life.
Optimal Resource Allocation

One of the principles of Adam Smith's economic theory is the efficient allocation of resources. In economies, this is achieved through the interplay of supply and demand, where the invisible hand guides resources to their most productive uses. AI elevates this concept to a new level. By analysing datasets in real-time, it can identify inefficiencies and develop processes with a precision unattainable by human efforts alone.

In supply chain management, for instance, algorithms can predict demand fluctuations, manage inventory levels, and streamline logistics. This reduces waste, lowers costs, and ensures that products are available where and when they are needed. Companies like Amazon and Walmart have harnessed AI to transform their supply chains, resulting in faster deliveries and higher customer satisfaction. Similarly, in agriculture, AI-powered systems can monitor crop health, predict yields, and regulate irrigation, leading to more sustainable and efficient farming practices. In healthcare, AI is transforming diagnostics by employing machine learning to detect early signs of diseases, enhancing patient care.

Minimising Inefficiencies

Flaws in any system represent lost opportunities and wasted resources. Traditional methods of identifying and addressing these are often reactive and limited in scope. AI, on the other hand, offers a proactive approach, continuously monitoring and optimising operations to minimise inefficiencies.
You might also like:

The Shifting Landscape of ESG Reporting in the MedTech Industry

In the energy sector, AI can enhance grid management by predicting demand, optimising energy distribution, and integrating renewable energy sources more effectively. This leads to reduced waste and lower costs for consumers. In healthcare, AI can streamline administrative processes, improve patient care through personalised treatment plans, and predict disease outbreaks, thereby reducing the burden on healthcare systems and promoting overall public health.
Moreover, AI's ability to process and analyse unstructured data, such as text, images, and videos, allows it to uncover hidden patterns and insights that would otherwise go unnoticed. This capability is valuable in areas like fraud detection, where AI can analyse transaction data to identify suspicious activities in real-time, preventing financial losses and enhancing security.
AI's Impact on Individuals and Organisations

At the individual level, AI is transforming the way we live and work. From tailored recommendations on streaming platforms to virtual assistants that manage our daily schedules. In education AI-powered tutoring systems cater for individual learning styles and paces, offering support and improving educational outcomes.

For organisations, AI provides a competitive advantage by enabling data-driven decision-making and enhancing operational efficiency. Businesses can leverage AI to gain insights into customer behaviour, refine marketing strategies, and improve product development, driving growth and fostering innovation through rapid iteration based on real-time feedback.

AI also has the potential to transform the workforce. Although concerns about job displacement exist, AI can augment human capabilities and create new opportunities. In manufacturing, AI-powered robots can handle repetitive tasks, allowing human beings to focus on more complex and creative aspects of production. In healthcare, AI assists doctors in diagnosing diseases, freeing up time for patient care and reducing burnout. Additionally, robotic-assisted surgeries have improved surgical precision, enabling more complex and minimally invasive procedures.

Community Development

Beyond individuals and organisations, AI has the power to transform communities. Smart cities, which leverage AI to optimise urban infrastructure and services, are examples of this potential. By analysing data from sensors and cameras, AI can improve traffic management, reduce energy consumption, and enhance public safety. This leads to more liveable and sustainable cities, improving the quality of life for residents. In NEOM, the futuristic city being developed in Saudi Arabia, AI is being integrated into every aspect of urban planning and governance. From automated transportation systems to AI-driven energy grids and smart housing. NEOM aspires to become a paradigm of a sustainable and technologically advanced urban environment, showcasing the transformative capabilities of AI on a grand scale.

AI can also play a role in addressing social challenges. For instance, predictive analytics can help identify at-risk students in schools, enabling timely interventions and reducing dropout rates. In disaster management, AI can analyse data from various sources to predict natural disasters and coordinate emergency response efforts, potentially saving lives and reducing damage. Moreover, AI-driven platforms can facilitate greater civic engagement by providing citizens with real-time information and opportunities to participate in decision-making processes. This can lead to more transparent and accountable governance, as well as more inclusive and resilient communities.

Influence on Industries

AI's power extends across industries, reshaping their landscapes. In finance, algorithms are transforming trading strategies, risk management, and customer service. High-frequency trading, driven by AI facilitates faster and more accurate trading decisions, while AI-powered chatbots provide personalised financial advice and support.

In healthcare, AI is changing diagnostics, treatment, and drug discovery. Machine learning models analyse medical images to detect diseases early, improving patient outcomes. AI also accelerates drug development by identifying potential candidates and predicting their effectiveness, thereby reducing the time and cost associated with clinical trials.

In manufacturing, AI-powered robots and automation systems enhance production efficiency and quality control. Predictive maintenance, enabled by AI, reduces downtime and extends the lifespan of machinery, leading to cost savings.

Societal Implications

As AI continues to evolve, it raises ethical and societal questions. The concentration of AI capabilities in the hands of a few tech giants poses challenges related to data privacy, security, and inequality. Ensuring that the benefits of AI are distributed equitably requires thoughtful regulation and policies that promote transparency, accountability, and inclusivity.

Education and workforce development are critical to preparing society for the AI-driven future. Investing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and retraining programmes can equip individuals with the skills needed to thrive in an AI-dominated economy. Additionally, promoting a culture of lifelong learning and adaptability is essential, as the pace of technological change accelerates.


AI emerges not just as a technological advancement but as the new cornerstone of global economic evolution, akin to Adam Smith's invisible hand that shaped the Industrial Revolution. Its ability to process vast amounts of data and optimise resource allocation transcends traditional methods, promising unprecedented efficiency, and innovation across industries. Just as Adam Smith's principles drove economies forward by harnessing individual self-interest, AI enhances productivity and decision-making, driving societies towards new heights of prosperity. However, the transformative power of AI also necessitates consideration of its ethical and societal implications. The concentration of AI capabilities among a few entities raises concerns about privacy, security, and equitable access to benefits. Effective regulation and inclusive policies are important to ensure AI benefits society, promoting transparency and mitigating potential inequalities. As we navigate this era of AI-driven progress, investing in education and workforce readiness becomes important. Equipping individuals with the skills to thrive in a technology-dominated landscape is essential for encouraging innovation and maintaining societal wellbeing. In this rapidly evolving era, AI is not just a tool for economic growth but a catalyst for a more intelligent and connected world, heralding a new chapter in the wealth of nations.
view in full page
  • Value creation in the MedTech industry has recently slowed
  • Companies face disruptions from a volatile macroeconomic environment, unpredictable supply chains, and rising geopolitical tensions
  • Traditional firms face challenges with mature products in slow-growing markets, compounded by predominantly older, mostly male, senior managers
  • Leaders must revamp their people strategies to support growth, enhance value, and boost competitiveness
  • Attracting, developing, and retaining Generation Z talent helps maintain a strong leadership pipeline and long-term agility

Is MedTech ready for Gen Z?

In the dynamic landscape of MedTech, innovation, digital expertise, adaptability, and a deep understanding of market trends are essential for success. The industry stands as a testament to US manufacturing prowess, characterised by rapid innovation and exacting development processes. However, traditional enterprises with established product portfolios in slow-growing markets, led predominantly by older managers, may be challenged to maintain and enhance their success in the coming decade. Integrating Generation Z (Gen Z) into the workforce presents a potential solution. As digital natives, Gen Z is adept at leveraging new technologies, values access to information, and prioritises sustainability, diversity, and inclusivity - traits they expect corporations to embody. Yet, attracting and retaining their talent requires traditional corporations to undergo cultural adaptations.

The current leadership demographic within large MedTechs is predominantly older males, with the average age of C-suite executives ~56 and a substantial proportion of managers >50. Despite women constituting ~50% of the workforce and making most household healthcare decisions, they occupy only ~23% of executive leadership roles in the largest medical device companies. This senior management composition underscores the experience and industry-specific knowledge deemed necessary for these positions, with many executives having >25 years in the field. However, the traditional approaches and possible resistance to change within this group can conflict with the aspirations of Gen Z employees, creating barriers to an inclusive and innovative work environment.

As the MedTech industry anticipates changes in the next five to ten years, integrating the younger generation into the workforce is essential for ensuring sustained growth, and enhanced value. Their adeptness with digital technology, novel viewpoints, and alignment with contemporary values are indispensable for fostering innovation and securing a leading position in the market. Effectively harmonising the seasoned expertise and stability of senior managers with the dynamism and digital fluency of Gen Z employees is critical for the future success of MedTech companies, despite the challenges it entails.

A March 2024 report from Newsweek revealed that ~40% of hiring managers exhibit an age bias against younger candidates. If such bias exists in the MedTech industry, it poses an obstacle to integrate Gen Z capabilities into the workforce. Additionally, seasoned managers may undervalue the skills and potential of younger employees, thereby limiting opportunities for them despite their competencies. Addressing these issues is necessary to create a diverse and inclusive workplace where talent is prioritised over age, ensuring the future success of traditional companies.

Technological Adaptability

Integrating Gen Z into MedTechs introduces a familiarity with modern technology. Growing up with the internet, smartphones, and social media has endowed this generation with digital fluency. Their adeptness in navigating and leveraging new social tools is indispensable for companies that depend on technological advancements.
In contrast, older managers, despite their experience, may not possess the same level of comfort and proficiency with emerging technologies. This generational technology gap can lead to slower adoption of innovative solutions and impede the company's progress. Recruiting younger employees helps enterprises adopt the latest technologies and integrate them into their operations.
You might also like:

Reimagining Boards
Innovation is the lifeblood of the MedTech industry. Gen Z, with their perspectives and forward-thinking mindset, can drive the development of new products and services. They are more inclined to think creatively, challenge established norms, foster cross-functional collaboration, and propose novel solutions to existing problems. This spirit of innovation can encourage corporations to develop new offerings that meet the evolving needs of healthcare providers and patients.

Understanding Market Trends

As older generations become a significant market segment, they will drive demand for age-related health solutions and services. Recognising their needs, preferences, behaviours, and expectations is essential for effective product development and marketing. This is why integrating Gen Z employees, who possess expertise in modern tools, social media, and innovative trends can help companies effectively connect with both older and younger consumers by offering new insights. Their perspectives complement the experience of seasoned managers, ensuring the company remains attuned to current market dynamics. Additionally, their expertise in digital marketing and understanding of online consumer behaviour can enhance an enterprise's market relevance through targeted campaigns and engaging digital platforms.

You might also like:

The Silent Obstacle to MedTech Growth and Value Creation

Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is pivotal in attracting and retaining talent. Gen Z values inclusive, diverse, and flexible workplaces that support continuous learning, offer growth opportunities, and foster a sense of belonging. In contrast, incumbent managers may not always prioritise these aspects, leading to a culture that fails to resonate with younger employees and complicates recruitment efforts. New team members are likely to drive initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion, advocate for flexible work arrangements, and champion continuous learning and development.
This cultural shift not only attracts talent but also enhances employee satisfaction and retention. A company whose corporate culture values and supports younger employees, offering them career advancement prospects, fosters their sense of loyalty and commitment. When provided with a supportive and engaging work environment, Gen Z is more likely to remain and contribute to the enterprise's long-term success. By investing in their professional development and recognising their contributions, corporations can retain top talent and build a strong workforce for the future.

Leadership Pipelines

Ensuring a robust leadership pipeline is crucial for the sustainability of MedTechs, especially as long-tenured managers retire. Gen Z, with their innovative ideas, are well-positioned to become the future leaders of the industry. Developing this pipeline requires intentional strategies and programmes. Companies must invest in leadership development initiatives that identify and nurture young talent, provide opportunities for career advancement and encourage cross-functional collaboration.

Effective transfer of expertise from older to younger employees is important for maintaining continuity and leveraging the experience of seasoned managers. This preserves valuable insights, helps to bridge the generation gap and fosters a culture of mutual respect and collaboration. It also contributes to a vibrant corporate culture that values diversity, continuous learning, and innovation, ultimately enhancing the company’s market position and long-term success.

Agility and Responsiveness

The MedTech industry is marked by rapid shifts and frequent disruptions, necessitating companies to maintain adaptability and quick responsiveness to stay ahead. Established managers often possess crisis management experience, but may exhibit less flexibility and slower response times. In contrast, Gen Z excels in dynamic environments, embraces innovation and drives swift reactions. They introduce urgency and a readiness to experiment with novel approaches, bolstering an enterprise’s capability to quickly adapt to emerging technologies, evolving market conditions, and new regulatory requirements.

This flexibility is crucial for long-term success in the industry. Gen Z’s perspectives can contribute to strategic decisions that drive growth and innovation. They are more likely to challenge traditional business models, explore new markets, and advocate for bold strategies that position the corporation for future success. Incorporating younger talent into decision-making processes can lead to more innovative and forward-thinking approaches. Their insights, together with the experience of seasoned managers, can help enterprises stay ahead of industry trends, capitalise on emerging opportunities, and maintain a leading position.

Risks of Not Integrating Younger Talent

An established management team may resist change, leading to a gradual decline in innovation. Such unintentional resistance can stifle the development of new products and technologies, ultimately causing a loss of market share. As market trends and consumer preferences evolve, companies must adapt to stay relevant. A long-standing management team may be challenged to keep pace with these changes, resulting in products and services that fail to resonate with the market, thereby reducing customer loyalty and revenue.

In the MedTech industry, continuous innovation and adaptation are crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. Without the input and influence of Gen Z, corporations risk falling behind more progressive competitors, jeopardising long-term growth and success. Integrating younger talent can help companies remain agile, forward-thinking, and in tune with the latest market demands.

Recruitment Challenges and Solutions

To effectively recruit and retain Gen Z, MedTech companies need to adapt their corporate cultures and managerial styles to align with the young workforce's expectations. Shifting from a top-down approach to one that values collaboration and inclusivity is crucial. Prioritising work-life balance is essential, as nearly half of Gen Z values it highly in their employment choices. Addressing mental health proactively and providing resources and support can appeal to and retain young talent.

Offering skill development and clear career progression pathways is vital, as a significant portion of Gen Z is willing to leave jobs that lack these opportunities. Managers should focus on understanding individual strengths and preferences, providing tailored coaching and assignments to enhance job satisfaction and performance. Building genuine connections through empathy and honest communication cultivates a supportive work environment and increases loyalty. Flexible work patterns, such as hybrid working, flexible hours, or compressed work weeks, accommodate diverse lifestyles, boosting satisfaction and productivity. 

To address generational divides, companies should implement coaching initiatives and encourage collaborative innovation. Bridging the gap between younger and older employees requires open dialogue, mutual respect, and a willingness to learn from each other's strengths. By developing an inclusive culture that values contributions from all employees, companies can create a cohesive and dynamic workplace, enhancing productivity, and employee satisfaction.


The MedTech industry faces a critical moment as value creation slows amidst market disruptions and a challenging macroeconomic landscape. Traditional companies, with mature product portfolios and established leadership, often struggle to maintain agility and adaptability. To navigate these challenges and ensure future growth, leaders should prioritise recruiting, developing, and retaining Gen Z employees. This generation brings crucial digital fluency, fresh perspectives, and a commitment to values like sustainability and inclusivity. Their integration into the workforce is critical for driving creativity and maintaining a competitive edge.

Addressing age biases is important to unlock the potential of Gen Z, fostering a dynamic corporate culture that values inclusion and continuous learning. Balancing the experience of seasoned managers with the digital proficiency of younger employees is key to creating a supportive environment that encourages creativity and adaptability. 

Will MedTech companies be ready to embrace Gen Z's capabilities and perspectives to enhance the industry's responsiveness to market trends and consumer needs? 
view in full page
  • FDA scrutiny, financial pressures, and M&A inefficiencies push MedTech leaders to prioritise short-term issues over long-term strategies
  • Balancing short-term compliance with long-term strategic planning is crucial for survival
  • Innovation hubs, agile methodologies, customer engagement, and cross-functional teams are key to future growth and competitive advantage
A Playbook for MedTech Success
In December 2023, FDA compliance leaders convened at a conference hosted by the US Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) in Washington, DC, to discuss the year’s trends and plans for 2024. Keisha Thomas, the FDA’s Associate Director for Compliance and Quality, highlighted key issues from 2023, reporting that 89 inspections had identified violations requiring Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPAs). Additionally, there were 790 device recalls, and ~70% of 28 device warning letters were associated with the use of unapproved devices. Thomas emphasised that in 2024, the FDA would target companies with a record of repeated infringements, “We’re developing strategies for addressing companies that are in and out of compliance within a short period of time,” she said. By June 5, 2024, the FDA had issued >45 recalls for medical devices.

Regulatory breaches arise from factors such as non-compliance, quality control issues, incomplete documentation, insufficient testing, inadequate risk management, poor communication and training, delayed reporting, lack of post-market surveillance, design failures, supply chain issues, and failure to implement corrective actions. Effective management of these issues requires comprehensive diligence.

However, these process-oriented challenges often do not receive the attention they require for optimal integration following acquisitions. MedTech companies have historically relied on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as their primary growth strategy. While this approach has typically resulted in financial gains and increased company size, it has not always improved operational efficiency or quality. The financial complexities of M&A transactions often consume company resources, leading to insufficient attention to critical non-financial operational processes, which can increase the risk of non-compliance with FDA regulations.

To tackle these challenges, companies should prioritise digitising their production processes to boost operational efficiency and compliance, ensuring that growth does not compromise quality or safety. Heightened FDA scrutiny can divert resources from integration and process improvements to remediation efforts, which can be detrimental in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape marked by advancing technologies and increasing investor scepticism.

Over the next decade, traditional companies must undergo transformations to generate new value for patients and shareholders. This requires rebuilding robust supply chains and leveraging the benefits of digitisation and Industry 4.0. Companies should be able to address FDA warning letters, while redesigning manufacturing and distribution networks, improving flexibility, driving innovation, and expanding market access. To support these initiatives, a strategic playbook is essential for driving growth, enhancing value, and boosting competitive advantage. Leaders must balance short-term compliance with forward-looking strategies to ensure long-term success.

In this Commentary

This Commentary provides a guide for MedTech leaders navigating the rapidly evolving healthcare ecosystem. It highlights key challenges such as heightened FDA scrutiny, financial pressures, and operational inefficiencies often resulting from sub-optimal M&A integration. The discussion underscores the importance of balancing short-term compliance with long-term strategic planning to sustain growth and maintain competitive advantage. Key strategies include continuous investment in research and development (R&D), integrating digital health solutions, and ensuring regulatory compliance. The Commentary also emphasises the need for enhancing patient-centric solutions, forming strategic partnerships, and maintaining robust talent acquisition and retention practices. Leaders are encouraged to adopt agile methodologies, establish innovation hubs, and leverage cross-functional teams to drive progress and improve market responsiveness. By focusing on these strategic areas, MedTech companies can foster creativity, enhance customer engagement, and ensure sustained growth in the dynamic healthcare landscape.
Key Drivers of Growth, Value, and Competitive Advantage
Technological Innovation and Integration
Technologically stagnant companies are unstable and prone to failure. Over time, they lose their ability to innovate and address challenges, ultimately leading to their downfall. To stay competitive, MedTech leaders must navigate rapid technological changes, particularly in AI, machine learning (ML), and personalised care. These advancements are transforming diagnostics, treatment, and patient journeys, making continuous innovation essential for increasing growth, enhancing value, and bolstering competitiveness.

Software has become a critical growth driver for companies. This shift requires adopting new approaches to product development and operating models like those of tech companies. Key strategies include: (i) building a resilient solutions stack with engagement, intelligence, and infrastructure layers, (ii) adopting best practices in software development, including reimagining product management, and (iii) strategically sourcing intellectual property (IP) and talent.

Integrating innovative technologies into traditional product lines is essential yet challenging, as it requires new skill sets, robust IT infrastructure, and strategic partnerships with tech firms. This approach can enhance patient engagement, improve outcomes, and streamline healthcare delivery.
Success in technology innovation and integration hinges on merging traditional medical expertise with cutting-edge digital innovations. Healthcare professionals must compliment their medical knowledge with an understanding of technological advancements. Leveraging digital tools like electronic health records, telehealth platforms, and AI enhances patient care. Such integration creates a blend of human expertise and digital innovation, leading to improved patient outcomes, efficient processes, and a more responsive healthcare system.
You might also like:

The Impact of Personalised Healthcare on Traditional MedTechs

Regulatory and Compliance Pressures
Navigating the regulatory landscapes, such as obtaining FDA approval in the US and CE marking in the EU, is both time-consuming and costly. These processes require meticulous documentation, rigorous testing, and continuous compliance, often delaying product launches and increasing expenses. Moreover, ensuring compliance with data privacy laws, such as GDPR in Europe and HIPAA in the US, while leveraging patient data for innovation presents another layer of complexity. Balancing the need for data-driven innovation with stringent privacy and security requirements demands robust data governance frameworks and advanced cybersecurity measures. Enterprises must invest in technologies and practices that protect patient information while still allowing for meaningful data analysis and use. Successfully managing these regulatory and compliance hurdles is critical for maintaining trust, achieving market access, and fostering innovation.

Market Dynamics and Competition
Large traditional MedTechs face increasing competition from both peers and start-ups. Every year, start-ups introduce new solutions to the market, often leveraging disruptive technologies and streamlined processes that outpace conventional approaches. To remain competitive, established companies must enhance their agility and speed to market while continuously innovating their product offerings.
Expanding into global markets, particularly emerging ones introduces additional obstacles. These markets come with distinct regulatory requirements, unique social and commercial norms, and varied healthcare infrastructures, leading to strategic and operational challenges. Successfully entering and thriving in these regions necessitates an understanding of local regulations, effective partnerships with regional entities, and tailored strategies that address the unique healthcare needs and economic conditions of each market. Navigating these dynamics and competitive pressures, enables MedTechs to unlock new growth opportunities and strengthen their global presence.

Cost Management and Efficiency
There are ongoing challenges associated with managing rising expenses. These include expenditures on R&D to stay ahead of technological advancements, costs related to recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent, regulatory compliance to meet stringent global standards, and manufacturing expenses. Balancing these financial demands while maintaining profitability requires strategic planning and resource allocation.
Enhancing operational efficiency is important to reduce costs and improve margins without compromising on quality or innovation. This involves streamlining processes, adopting advanced manufacturing techniques, and leveraging automation and digital technologies to optimise production. Additionally, implementing lean management practices can help eliminate waste, reduce lead times, and improve overall productivity. Emphasising cost management and operational efficiency allows companies to maintain their competitive edge, ensuring the efficient and sustainable delivery of high-quality, innovative products to the market.

Customer Expectations and Experience
In the evolving healthcare landscape meeting rising customer expectations has become an imperative. This has partly been driven by the shift towards more patient-centric solutions, which necessitates an understanding of patient needs and preferences, enabling companies to deliver personalised solutions and services that enhance outcomes and satisfaction. Embracing this approach requires robust data analytics and feedback mechanisms to ensure that products and services are aligned with customer expectations.
Equally important is the strengthening of relationships with providers. Effective collaboration with healthcare professionals is essential for the successful adoption and utilisation of new technologies and products. Companies should focus on creating strong partnerships, offering comprehensive training, support, and integrating their technologies into clinical workflows. Cultivating these relationships ensures that MedTech' innovations are effectively implemented, ultimately improving patient care and operational efficiencies.

Talent Acquisition and Retention
MedTechs face obstacles in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce, particularly in specialised areas such as AI, ML, and data analytics. The rapid advancements in these fields necessitate the recruitment of highly qualified professionals who can drive innovation and maintain competitive advantage. A 2023 McKinsey report suggested that demand for individuals with data science and natural-language processing skills is outpacing supply. To stand a chance of recruiting and retaining data scientist successfully, it is crucial for corporations to offer compelling incentives, continuous learning opportunities, and career advancement pathways.
Equally important is cultivating a corporate culture that supports innovation, collaboration, and agility. In an industry historically characterised by slow-moving processes, fostering a dynamic and forward-thinking environment is essential. This involves encouraging cross-functional teamwork, embracing new ideas, and being responsive to market changes. Developing a culture that values creativity and flexibility enhances companies'  ability to adapt to emerging trends, attracts top talent, and retains key employees motivated to drive long-term success.

Partnerships and Collaborations
Forming strategic partnerships is crucial for driving innovation and accessing new markets. Corporations must collaborate with technology companies, start-ups, and research institutions to leverage cutting-edge advancements and diversify their product offerings. Such partnerships can provide access to disruptive technologies, foster co-development opportunities, and facilitate entry into emerging markets, thereby enhancing the company's growth potential and competitive edge.
Additionally, strategically managing M&A is important for integrating new technologies and capabilities. This requires a balance to ensure that the integration of new assets does not disrupt existing operations. Companies must develop robust integration strategies that preserve the value of acquired entities while blending them into the corporate structure. This approach enhances MedTechs' technological capabilities and market reach, ultimately strengthening their industry position and driving sustained innovation and growth.

You might also like:

The Shifting Landscape of ESG Reporting in the MedTech Industry

Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Sustainability and social responsibility are increasingly important challenges for traditional corporations. Adopting sustainable practices in manufacturing and operations is essential to meet both regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations for environmental responsibility. This involves reducing carbon footprints, minimising waste, and ensuring the responsible use of resources throughout the product lifecycle. Companies that prioritise sustainability can enhance their brand reputation and appeal to a growing segment of environmentally conscious consumers and employees.
Ethical considerations also play a role, particularly in areas such as AI in healthcare, data usage, and informed consent. As AI technologies become integrated into medical devices and healthcare systems, enterprises must ensure that these tools are developed and deployed ethically. This involves safeguarding patient data, ensuring transparency in AI decision-making processes, and obtaining informed consent from patients. Addressing these challenges proactively can build trust with stakeholders and ensure compliance with evolving legal and regulatory standards, ultimately fostering a more responsible and sustainable industry.

Funding and Investment
Securing sufficient funding for R&D can be an issue for traditional MedTechs. However, to stay ahead of the innovation curve, continuous investment in technologies and product development is essential. Established companies often face competition from start-ups that have access to venture capital funding, which enables them to innovate rapidly and take risks that larger, more conventional corporations might avoid due to their scale and existing commitments. To remain competitive, established firms must explore diverse funding sources, including strategic partnerships and government grants, while fostering a culture that encourages calculated risk-taking and agile innovation. This approach can help them maintain a leading position in the ever-evolving MedTech landscape.
Conquering Challenges

We suggest four initiatives to help MedTechs navigate these challenges, foster innovation, improve market responsiveness, and deliver value to customers, thereby driving growth, enhancing value, and increasing competitive advantage.

Innovation Hubs
It is recommended to establish innovation hubs or incubators within the company. These dedicated spaces are ideal for cultivating new ideas and technologies. Creating an environment that encourages creativity and experimentation enables enterprises to accelerate the development of novel solutions and services. Such hubs can also facilitate partnerships with start-ups, academic institutions, and technology firms, creating a collaborative ecosystem that drives innovation.

Agile methodologies
Implementing adaptive methodologies is crucial for speeding up development cycles and enhancing responsiveness to market changes. These practices emphasise iterative progress, flexibility, and close collaboration among team members. Utilising such frameworks allows MedTechs to reduce time-to-market for new products, quickly adapt to regulatory changes, and respond effectively to customer feedback. This adaptability is essential in an industry where technological advancements and market demands evolve rapidly.

Customer Engagement
Enhancing customer engagement through digital platforms, feedback loops, and continuous support is another key strategy. Utilising digital tools enables companies to gather real-time feedback from patients and healthcare providers, ensuring that products and services meet their needs. Creating robust support systems and engaging with customers through various digital channels can foster loyalty and trust. Continuous interaction with end-users helps in refining products and delivering superior customer experiences.

Cross-Functional Teams
Leveraging cross-functional teams is instrumental in driving integrated solutions that combine hardware, software, and services. These teams, composed of members from diverse departments such as R&D, marketing, sales, and customer service, can collaboratively address complex challenges and create comprehensive solutions. Encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and eliminating silos enables companies to develop more holistic and innovative products and services that meet the needs of the healthcare industry.

The rapid evolution of medical technology markets demands that company leaders balance short- and long-term goals. Increased FDA scrutiny and financial pressures often shift leaders’ focus to immediate concerns, potentially neglecting long-term strategies. Traditional MedTech companies face numerous challenges that require strategic and adaptive approaches to maintain and improve their market position. Cultivating innovation, adaptability, customer engagement, and cross-functional collaboration enables enterprises to thrive in today’s complex healthcare landscape. Prioritising continuous R&D investment, digitisation, and regulatory compliance is essential for staying competitive. Enhancing patient-centric solutions, forming partnerships with start-ups, and attracting top talent are also crucial for driving innovation and market expansion. Embracing innovation hubs, utilising adaptive methodologies, and leveraging cross-functional teams can ensure sustained growth and maintain a competitive edge. Will traditional MedTech companies follow this suggested playbook to create lasting value for patients, shareholders, and the broader healthcare ecosystem or will they stick to their old tricks and hope for the best?
view in full page
  • The rise of false medical information undermines healthcare delivery, fosters mistrust, and exacerbates health crises
  • Social media algorithms, human psychology, and influential personalities can drive the spread of inaccurate information
  • Transparent communication, strategic dissemination of information, and enhanced media literacy are essential for countering false narratives
  • AI can help detect and combat deceptive content, but robust policies and regulations are crucial for its effectiveness
Medical Misinformation

On May 20, 2024, the final report of a five-year public inquiry into the UK’s infected blood scandal, chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff, delivered a damning indictment of doctors, successive governments, civil servants and the NHS for misinforming patients about contaminated blood treatments, resulting in >30,000 infections with diseases like HIV and hepatitis C, and causing ~3,000 deaths, with additional fatalities anticipated.

A few hours after Langstaff issued his report, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, addressed a packed House of Commons, expressing deep regret  for the failures, stating he was “truly sorry” and the attitude of denial was difficult to comprehend and an “eternal shame”. This scandal underscores a broader and growing concern about medical misinformation, where institutional failures and deliberate obfuscation contribute to public distrust and widespread harm. It highlights the need for transparency and accountability in healthcare systems worldwide.
In this Commentary

This Commentary traces the evolution of medical misinformation from myths about Edward Jenner’s late 19th century smallpox vaccine to recent falsehoods, highlighting the roles of digital platforms and socio-political factors. It emphasises the need for healthcare professionals to be vigilant, promote media literacy, advocate public education, and call for strong policies to counteract medical disinformation. Additionally, it examines the dual role of AI in both spreading and combating false health information. By considering an historical context, current challenges, and future strategies, the Commentary aims to enhance understanding and provide solutions to mitigate the impact of medical misinformation on public health.
Dead Wrong

Medical misinformation manifests in two primary forms: misrepresenting effective therapies and promoting dangerous treatments. False claims, such as the debunked link between the MMR vaccine and autism, undermine public trust in vaccines, causing decreased vaccination rates and preventable disease outbreaks. Advocacy for harmful treatments, like the opioid epidemic in the US and the tobacco industry's promotion of smoking despite evidence of severe health risks, directly endangers patients and diverts resources from legitimate care. The rise of medical misinformation, fuelled by social media algorithms, human psychology, and influential personalities, exacerbates these threats by fostering harmful behaviours, distrust in medical professionals, and delays in appropriate care. Combating this requires transparent communication, strategic information dissemination, enhanced media literacy, and robust policies and regulations, with AI playing a role in detecting and countering false information to protect public health.
In their 2023 publication, "Dead Wrong: Diagnosing and Treating Healthcare’s Misinformation Illness," Geeta Nayyar et al trace the evolution of the phenomenon. One prominent consequence of medical misinformation is vaccine hesitancy, which has persisted from the era of the smallpox vaccine in the late 19th century to the digital age. The book delves into the socio-political dimensions of misinformation, illustrating how political leaders can contribute to vaccine hesitancy and societal divisions. Despite a consensus among researchers, health professionals, and policymakers on the imperative to combat health fabrications, the full scope of this issue remains elusive. Nayyar offers practical strategies for healthcare professionals to confront and reduce the phenomenon.

A 2023 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that the most prevalent medical falsehoods involve information about smoking, drugs, vaccines, and diseases, with Twitter (now known as ‘X’) identified as a primary platform for their dissemination. Social media amplifies the spread of health misinformation, eroding public trust and impeding medical advancements.
Digital Amplification

Addressing medical falsehoods is important in an era where information spreads rapidly through digital channels. The rise of social media and increased internet accessibility allow misinformation to reach vast audiences within seconds. This challenge is compounded by advancements in AI, which, while contributing to healthcare improvements, also create new avenues for generating and disseminating false information.
You might also like:

Unleashing MedTech's Competitive Edge through Transformational Technologies

AI technologies, particularly deep learning and natural language processing, can produce convincing fake content, including medical advice and research findings, exploiting public anxieties and knowledge gaps. To combat this, it is essential to enhance digital literacy, improve the accuracy of AI systems, and foster collaboration among technology companies, healthcare professionals, and policymakers. By understanding and addressing the sources and impacts of medical falsehoods, the protection of public health can be enhanced.
Historical Context

Medical misinformation has a long history, dating back to the late 18th century when Edward Jenner, an English physician and scientist known as the father of immunology, pioneered the concept of vaccines and created the world's first smallpox vaccine. Despite its success, Jenner faced significant opposition, fuelled by fear and misunderstanding. Critics spread false claims that vaccination could cause various ailments or even transform individuals into cow-like creatures due to the cowpox origin of the vaccine. This early example highlights the challenges of medical misinformation: fear, misunderstanding, and resistance to new scientific advancements.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the printing press enabled the widespread dissemination of both accurate and inaccurate information. Pamphlets and newspapers often spread falsehoods about anaesthesia and germ theory. The rise of mass media, including radio and television, further amplified inaccurate health information. A notable example is the mid-20th century polio vaccine scare, known as the Cutter Incident, which occurred in April 1955. This involved a batch of polio vaccines produced by Cutter Laboratories that contained live poliovirus, leading to cases of polio among vaccinated children. The Cutter Incident eroded public confidence in the polio vaccine and prompted changes in vaccine production and safety protocols. Additionally, misinformation surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late 20th century created fear, stigma, and ignorance as the HIV epidemic raged throughout the world in the 1980s, killing thousands of people.
The advent of the internet and social media in the late 20th and early 21st centuries increased the speed and reach of misinformation. Anti-vaccine activism gained traction with the publication of Andrew Wakefield’s now-debunked study in 1998, which falsely linked the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine to autism. This led to declines in vaccination rates and subsequent outbreaks of preventable diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic, declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in March 2020, further highlighted the impact of medical misinformation, as falsehoods complicated public health efforts and contributed to vaccine hesitancy.
Sources and Mechanisms of Medical Misinformation

As we have suggested, medical misinformation spreads through social media platforms, traditional news outlets, and the misinterpretation of scientific studies. Social media platforms like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and Instagram serve as potent conduits due to their extensive reach and rapid information dissemination capabilities. Often, these platforms lack stringent content inspection mechanisms, enabling unverified information to proliferate through algorithms designed to maximise engagement, which inadvertently prioritises misleading content. Traditional media also contributes to the problem by sensationalising news to attract attention, without adequate fact-checking.
Misinformation often goes viral more easily than factual information. A 2018 study in the journal Science found that false information is 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth. Influencers with large followings further exacerbate the issue by sharing inaccurate information, which quickly gains credibility through their endorsements. Addressing medical misinformation requires a multifaceted approach, including enhanced verification processes, increased public education, and greater accountability for those spreading false information. Additionally, adjusting algorithms, improving media literacy, and promoting credible medical sources are essential steps in combating this pervasive issue.

Vaccine hesitancy, driven by falsehoods spread online and through social networks, leads people to doubt vaccine safety and efficacy. This hinders vaccination efforts and increases outbreaks of preventable diseases. Inaccurate medical information erodes trust in healthcare professionals and institutions, undermining expert guidance and fuelling public uncertainty and fear. This hampers healthcare delivery and weakens community resilience in crises. Individuals misled by medical falsehoods may make harmful health decisions, such as avoiding recommended treatments or trying dangerous alternative therapies. These effects threaten both personal health and community wellbeing.
Case Studies

We have mentioned these examples before, but due to their significance, we are now giving them more prominence.

Smallpox Vaccine Opposition
When Edward Jenner introduced the smallpox vaccine in 1796, scepticism and resistance emerged. Misconceptions about its safety and efficacy, coupled with religious and philosophical beliefs, led some to argue that vaccination interfered with divine will. This resistance delayed smallpox eradication, causing continued outbreaks and fatalities. Persistent public health campaigns and legislative actions eventually overcame this opposition.

MMR Vaccine Scandal
In 1998, Andrew Wakefield published a fraudulent research paper falsely linking the MMR vaccine to autism. Despite lacking credible scientific evidence, the publication caused a significant decline in vaccination rates due to media coverage and public fear, leading to outbreaks of measles and other preventable diseases. Subsequent investigations revealed Wakefield's ethical violations and data manipulation, resulting in the retraction of the paper and the revocation of his medical license.

UK Contaminated Blood Scandal
Bleeding disorders are conditions that impair the blood's ability to clot properly. In the UK, ~24,000 people live with such disorders, which are typically inherited, although ~33% of cases result from random gene mutations. The most well-known bleeding disorder is haemophilia A, predominantly affecting males. Those living with the disorders often require transfusions of blood platelets or clotting factors.

Between 1950 and 1970, UK authorities sourced blood donations from prisons. However, the introduction of screening for hepatitis B in the early 1970s revealed a significantly higher incidence of the disorder among inmates. Despite aiming for self-sufficiency in NHS blood stock by July 1977, the UK government failed to achieve this goal and relied on imported blood and blood from prison donors for decades. While countries like Germany and Italy began testing donated blood in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, and the American Red Cross stopped collecting blood from US prisons in 1971 due to high hepatitis rates, the UK continued to import Factor VIII - a blood clotting product - from high-risk US donors, including prison inmates and intravenous drug users, during the 1970s and 1980s. The contaminated blood products led to ~30,000 people in the UK being infected, causing ~3,000 premature deaths. Many survivors contracted HIV and hepatitis C and faced additional challenges such as stigma, job loss, and financial hardship. In 2018, Sir Brian Langstaff was appointed to chair a public inquiry into the UK's contaminated blood scandal. His final report, released on May 20, 2024, highlighted that many infections were preventable and concluded that the tragedy was exacerbated by decades-long cover-ups by doctors, the NHS, governments, and civil servants, driven by "financial and reputational considerations." Langstaff called for immediate compensation, public memorials, and systemic reforms.

The US opioid epidemic
The on-going opioid epidemic in the US further illustrates the impact of medical misinformation. Every day, ~300 Americans die from drug overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were >100,000 reported overdose deaths in 2021, with opioids involved in ~75% of these cases. Pharmaceutical companies played a significant role in this crisis by misleading healthcare providers and patients, downplaying the addictive risks of opioids, and falsely claiming they were safe for chronic pain management. This misinformation led to widespread over-prescription, resulting in addiction and overdose deaths. Consequently, the opioid epidemic has fuelled a persistent public health crisis that continues to challenge the nation.
Combating Medical Misinformation

Effectively combating medical misinformation is challenging, especially when governments and healthcare systems are involved. Addressing this phenomenon requires a multifaceted approach, including proactive public health communication, the involvement of trusted community leaders, and robust social media monitoring. Healthcare professionals and institutions must provide accurate, evidence-based information and act as trusted voices in their communities. Their proactive engagement in patient education and public outreach helps dispel myths and correct falsehoods.
You might also like:

MedTechs Battle with AI for Sustainable Growth and Enhanced Value
Equipping individuals with critical thinking skills to evaluate information sources is essential. Effective strategies to combat misinformation involve utilising a variety of platforms, from traditional media to social networks, ensuring messages reach a broad audience. Clear, consistent, and transparent communication is crucial for building trust and encouraging the public to follow health guidelines.
Policy and regulatory approaches also play an important role. Governments and healthcare organisations must implement regulations to curb the spread of false information, such as holding social media platforms accountable for monitoring and addressing misinformation. Policies should support the training of healthcare professionals in communication skills and media engagement, ensuring they are prepared to counteract misinformation effectively. Integrating these approaches can create a more informed public, enhance trust in healthcare systems, and ultimately improve health outcomes.
The Future

The future of medical misinformation will be shaped by emerging trends and technologies, presenting both challenges and opportunities. AI and machine learning (ML) can play roles in detecting and countering falsehoods. Advanced algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data to identify misinformation trends, flagging content that requires further scrutiny. AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants can provide people with reliable health information, directly counteracting misinformation at its source.
Despite these advancements, the use of AI and ML also poses significant risks. These technologies can be exploited to create deepfakes, and if not properly managed, they can inadvertently amplify misinformation, as evidenced by algorithmic biases on social media platforms. To mitigate these risks, ensuring ethical AI deployment and incorporating robust human oversight is crucial. Fostering collaboration between tech companies, healthcare professionals, and policymakers can also establish robust frameworks for managing misinformation. By embracing these technologies while remaining vigilant about their limitations, we can help shape a future where accurate medical information prevails.

Geeta Nayyar deserves commendation for her book, which has raised awareness about medical misinformation. Historical and contemporary case studies highlight the evolving threat misinformation poses to public health. Accurate, transparent communication and robust public health strategies are needed. Despite the complexities of combating misinformation, especially when health professionals and governments are involved, healthcare institutions must proactively disseminate reliable information and be accountable for their actions. Media literacy and public education are essential for empowering individuals to navigate the complex information ecosystem. There is a need to leverage advanced technologies, such as AI and ML, which offer promising avenues for detecting and countering misinformation, provided they are implemented with ethical oversight. A multifaceted approach, including policy and regulatory measures, is crucial for safeguarding public health, enhancing trust in healthcare systems, and improving health outcomes.
view in full page
  • Healthcare is shifting from uniform treatments to personalised care, driven by genetics, lifestyle, and technology
  • Patients benefit from targeted therapies that deliver early disease detection, enhanced therapies and proactive prevention
  • Traditional MedTechs, accustomed to one-size-fits-all devices, face challenges but also can find opportunities from individualised care for growth and innovation
  • To capitalise on these opportunities, conventional corporations must recalibrate their strategies and collaborate with start-ups and healthcare institutions
The Impact of Personalised Healthcare on Traditional MedTechs

Personalised medicine, also known as precision medicine, marks a departure from traditional medical practices by acknowledging the interplay of genetics, lifestyle, and environment in shaping an individual's health. Rather than adhering to one-size-fits-all treatments, individualised care prioritises early detection and proactive prevention, tailoring interventions based on each patient's unique genetic makeup. Digitalisation, together with advances in medical technology, enables the combination and analysis of genomic information with other diagnostic data to identify patterns that help to determine an individual’s risk of developing a disease, detect illness earlier, and determine the most effective interventions. For example, in cancer treatment, personalised therapies target specific proteins driving cancer growth, offering more effective alternatives to conventional methods like customary chemotherapy. Findings of a 2012 study published in Trends in Molecular Medicine found that the response rate to a targeted therapy for acute myeloid leukaemia to be at 90% compared with 35% for standard chemotherapy. Another notable development in customised care is the DNA medication pass, which enables clinicians to identify the most suitable drugs for individual patients, reducing adverse reactions and hospital admissions due to drug-related complications. Such personalised approaches empower patients with treatments aligned to their genetic predispositions and foster greater autonomy and engagement in healthcare decisions.

In today's data-driven environment, the emphasis on precision care is growing, and creating a shift in healthcare delivery. A recent research paper published in the Journal of Translational Medicine suggests that personalised medicine will lead to the next generation of healthcare by 2030. While many traditional medical technology companies are content with supplying standardised medical devices to hospitals, an increasing number wish to pivot and capitalise on the rapidly growing targeted healthcare segment. However, they face the challenge of adapting their established frameworks, which are not designed to create bespoke solutions and services. This emphasises the significance of adaptability across diverse healthcare settings. Forward-thinking corporations, however, recognise the need to evolve. By investing in novel R&D initiatives and fostering collaboration throughout the healthcare spectrum, they position themselves favourably. Conversely, companies resistant to change risk stagnation and eventual obsolescence in an era where personalised care is rapidly gaining traction.

In this Commentary

This Commentary delves into the impact of personalised healthcare on traditional MedTech companies, highlighting the imperative for alignment with customised care to remain competitive. It explores how targeted medicine, driven by advancements in genetics, digitalisation, and medical technology, is reshaping healthcare delivery by prioritising individualised treatments tailored to patients' unique genetic makeup. The Commentary emphasises the need to adapt conventional strategies amidst industry trends, addressing challenges such as regulatory complexities and technology adoption barriers. Through initiatives like partnerships, novel R&D, diversification, and strategic M&A, traditional MedTechs can position themselves to lead in the era of precision care. The Commentary offers examples of start-ups and established firms addressing this segment, insights into the opportunities and challenges traditional companies face in adapting to the growing emphasis on personalised healthcare, and emphasises the importance of innovation, collaboration, and proactive responses to industry shifts.
Brief History

The roots of personalised healthcare can be traced back to ancient civilisations where healers recognised individual differences in response to treatments. However, formalised concepts began to emerge in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the advent of modern medicine. The discovery of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 laid the foundation for understanding the role of genetics in health and disease. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies in the late 20th century, particularly the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, enabled scientists to decipher the entire human genetic code, ushering in the genomic era.
In the late 20th century, researchers began to explore how genetic variations influence an individual's response to drugs. Pharmacogenomics emerged as a field focused on tailoring drug treatments to a person's genetic makeup, aiming to maximise efficacy and minimise adverse effects. Rapid advancements in technology, such as next-generation sequencing and high-throughput screening, have made it more feasible and cost-effective to analyse large amounts of genetic data. This has accelerated research in tailored therapies and expanded their application beyond pharmacogenomics to include risk assessment, disease diagnosis, and treatment selection.
As we suggested, one of the earliest and most successful applications of customised healthcare has been in oncology. Precision oncology uses genomic profiling to identify genetic mutations driving cancer growth and matches patients with targeted therapies designed to address their specific mutations. The success stories in treating certain cancers, such as leukaemia and melanoma have fuelled further interest and investment in personalised approaches.
You might also like:

Healthcare 2040

The rise of big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) has been instrumental in advancing targeted care. By integrating genetic, clinical, lifestyle, and environmental data, AI algorithms can identify patterns, predict disease risks, and recommend precise interventions targeted to an individual’s unique profile. Governments have recognised the potential of these approaches to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. Endeavours such as the Precision Medicine Initiative in the US, the NHS Long Term Plan in the UK, and similar efforts in other countries aim to accelerate the adoption of customised medicine. As technology continues to evolve and our understanding of genetics and biology deepens, personalised healthcare is poised to become increasingly integral to mainstream medical practice, ultimately leading to better health outcomes.
Challenges and Barriers to Personalised Care

Customised medicine, while promising, faces challenges. One hurdle lies in the complexity and sheer volume of data required to tailor treatments to individual patients. Integrating diverse datasets from genomics, medical history, lifestyle factors, and environmental influences demands sophisticated analytics and robust privacy safeguards. Additionally, interoperability issues between different healthcare systems impede data exchange and collaboration among healthcare providers. Economic constraints further obstruct widespread adoption, as customised therapies often come with hefty price tags, limiting access for many patients. Regulatory frameworks must also evolve to accommodate the dynamic nature of tailored medicine, ensuring rigorous oversight without stifling innovation. Moreover, educating healthcare professionals and patients about the benefits and limitations of personalised approaches is essential for fostering trust and acceptance. Overcoming these challenges demands interdisciplinary collaboration, technological advancements, and a commitment to equitable access to focussed healthcare.
The Changing Landscape of Traditional MedTechs

Despite these challenges, the growing emphasis on personalised care represents a shift in traditional MedTech markets. Although the precise timeline for tailored therapies to substantially influence conventional corporations remains uncertain, the trend signals a clear direction for the industry. The International Consortium for Personalised Medicine (ICPerMed) envisions a healthcare landscape firmly rooted in customised medicine principles by 2030. This vision entails an ecosystem where individual characteristics inform diagnostics, treatments, and preventive measures, resulting in heightened effectiveness and economic value, all while ensuring equitable access for all individuals.
Historically, MedTech markets have exhibited a degree of reluctance in adopting new technologies, offering some comfort to conventional leaders in the field. However, the insights provided by the ICPerMed research should serve as a catalyst for traditional enterprises to re-evaluate their strategies and product offerings if they intend to capitalise on the growing trend of customised care. Notably, investments in innovative technologies that facilitate precision diagnostics, targeted therapies, and patient-centric interventions have already proven effective and are on the rise.
You might also like:

Unleashing MedTech's Competitive Edge through Transformational Technologies
Furthermore, the integration of data analytics and remote monitoring capabilities is reshaping the dynamics among medical devices, patients, and healthcare providers. This integration fosters enhanced connectivity and delivers real-time insights, thereby helping to transform the healthcare ecosystem. As tailored care gains momentum, traditional corporations must embrace agility, collaboration, and an understanding of patient preferences to thrive. This necessitates a proactive re-evaluation of their strategies.
Healthcare Firms Leading the Shift Towards Personalised Care

Many early-stage MedTech companies and established healthcare firms are leveraging evolving technologies and data to meet the growing demand for personalised healthcare. Omada Health, for instance, offers a platform combining connected devices and data analytics to help manage chronic conditions through tailored lifestyle interventions. iRhythm Technologies' Zio patch, a wearable cardiac monitor, uses advanced algorithms to detect heart conditions more accurately. Butterfly Network's Butterfly iQ is the first smartphone-connected whole-body ultrasound system, enhancing imaging quality and diagnostic capabilities through AI. Mature enterprises like AliveCor and Fitbit, now part of Google, have also pivoted to tailored healthcare. AliveCor’s  KardiaMobile provides at-home ECGs and shares data for customised treatment plans, while Fitbit offers devices with advanced health monitoring features and personalised wellness programmes. Dexcom's G6 CGM System provides real-time glucose tracking integrated with health data platforms. Roche has shifted towards customised healthcare with digital health solutions like the Roche Diabetes Care platform and the NAVIFY Tumor Board for personalised cancer treatments. 23andMe, initially known for genetic testing, now partners with pharmaceutical companies for drug discovery and develops tailored treatment plans based on genetic data.
Transforming MedTech in the Era of Personalised Care

The healthcare industry is undergoing a transformation marked by a shift towards patient-centric care and the adoption of value-based healthcare models. This shift is driving increased collaboration among traditional MedTech firms, healthcare providers, and emerging players, all united in their goal to innovate and tackle the complex challenges facing healthcare today. Regulatory changes and technological advancements also are playing roles in reshaping the competitive landscape, guiding the industry towards more patient-centred, value-driven, and collaborative approaches. In response to these evolving dynamics, MedTech companies are transforming their product development strategies by embracing agile and interdisciplinary approaches. Leveraging digital technologies, they are adapting to changing demands through virtual testing, data-driven design optimisation, and rapid prototyping.
The move towards personalised care is not only transforming product development strategies but also reshaping business models within the MedTech industry. There is a growing emphasis on outcome-based pricing and service-oriented solutions, reflecting the industry's focus on delivering measurable results and comprehensive care experiences. Digital health platforms and software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings are emerging as key drivers of revenue, highlighting the importance of innovation and customer engagement in staying competitive and relevant.
Amid these transformations, regulatory and compliance considerations are crucial. Regulatory frameworks are becoming more stringent, emphasising product safety, efficacy, and data privacy. Compliance with varying standards across geographies is essential for market access, requiring companies to navigate these landscapes skilfully to sustain growth. Regulatory bodies are also evolving to tackle emerging challenges like cybersecurity and interoperability, highlighting the need for effective regulatory management in today's MedTech ecosystem. Addressing these challenges demands collaboration among stakeholders to build trust, promote standards, and ease the adoption of innovative technologies. Only through concerted efforts can the industry overcome these obstacles and fully realise the potential of customised care in transforming healthcare delivery.
Adaptation Strategies for Traditional MedTech Companies

To strengthen their alignment with personalised healthcare, traditional MedTechs can adopt several strategies. One effective approach, which, in a previous Commentary, we referred to as the Third Way, involves forming partnerships and collaborations with start-ups, research institutions, or other industry players. Through these partnerships, corporations can gain access to novel technologies, broaden their market reach, and expedite the pace of innovation. Additionally, diversification emerges as another adaptation strategy, enabling companies to venture into adjacent markets or therapeutic areas. This not only helps in mitigating risks but also enables them to capitalise on emerging opportunities within the healthcare landscape. Furthermore, many traditional corporations opt for M&A to bolster their market position, acquire specialised capabilities, or tap into new customer segments. Collectively, these strategies empower traditional corporations to navigate industry transitions towards customised care, foster sustained growth, and uphold their competitive edge.
This Commentary highlights the need for companies to re-evaluate their strategies in response to the industry's shift toward personalised care, a force shaping the future of healthcare delivery. It suggests traditional enterprises should proactively address challenges such as regulatory compliance, data security, and technological adoption barriers. Yet, within these challenges lie significant opportunities for growth and innovation. By pursuing strategic partnerships, investing in R&D, diversifying, and engaging in M&A, corporations can lead in the era of customised care, influencing healthcare's trajectory. Despite obstacles, the outlook for traditional enterprises is promising, driven by technological advancements and global healthcare demands. Success, however, depends on their agility, resilience, and proactive adaptation to the evolving landscape. By leveraging innovation and fostering collaboration, traditional MedTechs can navigate complexity and continue to drive positive transformation within the industry.
view in full page

Henry Wendt, 1933 - 2024

Henry Wendt, born on July 19, 1933, in Neptune City, NJ, passed away on April 11, 2024, leaving behind a legacy that will endure for generations. Raised in Sands Point and Tuxedo Park NY, Henry embarked on a journey after graduating from Princeton University in 1955, starting his career as a salesperson for Smith, Kline & French, an American pharmaceutical company. His dedication and strategic acumen propelled him through various roles within the corporation, spanning locations such as Hawaii, Montreal, Tokyo, and Philadelphia, ultimately culminating in his appointment as President and CEO in 1976.
As CEO, Henry implemented a transformative 3-point strategy, reshaping the company's trajectory through strategic divestments and a focus on core products. This foresight laid the groundwork for the historic merger in 1989 with the UK-based Beecham Company, resulting in the formation of SmithKline Beecham (SKB). This was the largest cross-border merger of its time, and heralded the birth of a truly transnational corporation that would redefine global competition in the pharmaceutical industry. Under Henry's leadership, SKB emerged as the world’s second largest pharmaceutical company, both in prescription and over-the-counter drugs, solidifying its position as a global powerhouse.
Henry was more than just a businessperson; he was a visionary who recognised the significance of the evolving nature of transnational corporations. In his book, Global Embrace, published in 1993, he described a transition from the era of multinationals to the rise of transnational enterprises, painting a picture of a world where corporate operations transcended national borders in the pursuit of progress and prosperity. Henry's conceptualisation of transnational entities diverged from traditional multinationals primarily in their ownership structure. Unlike their predecessors, transnational corporations boasted a shareholder base that spanned the globe, marking a departure from the conventional reliance on temporary global marketing strategies like foreign branches, offshore acquisitions, joint ventures, or licensing agreements. This distinction emphasised a shift towards a more interconnected and globally oriented business paradigm. Henry's work not only explored market dynamics and competitive strategies but also explored the broader societal implications of this emerging corporate model, advocating for policies that fostered international cooperation and celebrated cultural diversity.

Henry Wendt's influence reached far beyond the boardroom, embodying integrity, moral fortitude, and an unwavering commitment to his country. His life epitomised timeless values of fairness, honesty, and optimism, evident in his many achievements and philanthropic endeavours. His diverse interests mirrored his commitment to improving society, seen through initiatives such as establishing academic chairs, sponsoring educational programmes, and funding research laboratories nationwide. A polymath, Henry found fulfilment in exploration, whether navigating the seas or delving into the realms of knowledge. Through ventures like the Quivira Estate Vineyards and Winery and his contributions to academia and research, his enduring impact continues to inspire future generations. In his passing, Henry Wendt leaves behind a rich legacy of leadership, generosity, and foresight that will echo through the years, serving as a powerful testament to the impact an individual can have on shaping a better world.

view in full page
  • MedTechs traditionally prioritise M&A over in-house R&D yielding size without always improving quality
  • Amidst healthcare's rapid evolution, companies must explore new avenues for growth and staying competitive
  • Embracing a Third Way, MedTechs can invest in start-ups to access disruptive technologies, mitigate risks, foster growth, and competitive advantage
A Third Way Growth Strategy for MedTechs
MedTech industry leaders must welcome fresh ideas to maintain their competitive edge and ensure ongoing growth. However, the conventional avenues of development, such as merger and acquisitions (M&A) and in-house research and development (R&D), often encounter obstacles that diminish their effectiveness. As the industry advances, companies face the dual challenge of adopting new technologies while breaking down entrenched organisational barriers. In an era marked by transformative breakthroughs and turbulent market forces, adaptability and innovation are indispensable drivers of success.
The line separating established enterprises from agile newcomers has blurred, paving the way for potential collaboration and strategic investment. To excel in this environment, traditional MedTechs should consider recalibrating their conventional growth strategies. Rather than solely relying on M&A or low-risk tweaks to in-house R&D, they should explore a Third Way: investing in and collaborating with a range of innovative start-ups. Giant MedTech have been doing this for decades and reaping the benefits of nascent enterprises, fuelled by high-energy talent, leveraging novel technologies, and offering a fresh approach to growth and value creation.
Collaborating with early-stage entities empowers traditional firms to foster a culture of innovation and adaptability, thereby improving patient outcomes and strengthening healthcare systems to thrive in an era of unprecedented change. Effectively managing inventiveness becomes imperative for traditional MedTech companies to successfully navigate the evolving healthcare ecosystem.

In this Commentary

This Commentary emphasises the importance for MedTechs to define a clear strategic path in response to the challenges posed by rapid technological advancements, geopolitical shifts, and advancing market dynamics. We propose a Third Way that moves beyond conventional strategies of M&A and internal R&D. We advocate for investment in a varied portfolio of innovative early-stage enterprises focused on developing disruptive healthcare solutions and services. This approach aims to avoid the drawbacks associated with conventional growth strategies and set up MedTechs for long-term growth and improved competitiveness.
Challenges of M&A

For more than four decades, the MedTech industry has predominantly relied on M&A as its primary growth strategy, which, over time led to the financialisaton of the industry. Larger conglomerates emerged, but their size does not always translate into enhanced patient outcomes or improved operational efficiency. This pattern emphasises a tendency where short-term financial objectives frequently overshadow longer-term strategies focused on quality systems, organisational structure, and talent within the acquired companies.
In many instances, early-stage enterprises have deficiencies in their operational and human resource systems. These weaknesses are frequently overlooked or insufficiently addressed during the integration phase. While the repercussions of such oversight might not be readily apparent, they tend to surface over time, potentially hindering growth.
You might also like:

The Financialization Dilemma of MedTechs

The fallout from prioritising financial integration strategies can jeopardise the long-term viability of the merged entity and hamper its ability to innovate and adapt to shifting market dynamics. Successfully merging disparate corporate cultures, technological platforms, and operational processes requires meticulous planning and execution across all facets of the integration process. Neglecting to allocate adequate time and resources to address these non-financial aspects can lead to disruptions in workflow, employee discontent, and diminished performance.
Moving forward, corporations might consider adopting a more balanced approach to growth, one that not only factors in financial gains but also prioritises the assimilation of quality systems, organisational coherence, and human capital to ensure sustained success. Strategic complacency seems to be present in many large entities, and associated with an excessive dependence on conventional M&A for growth can dampen internal innovation.
Challenges of In-House R&D

Traditional MedTechs encounter challenges when considering disruptive in-house R&D endeavours. The inherent risks, coupled with resource constraints, often dissuade many traditional companies from pursuing innovative avenues of development. Also, complex regulatory environments present hurdles that require expertise, investment, and stringent compliance measures. The infrastructural needs for integrating new technologies exacerbate the situation, necessitating updates to current manufacturing facilities, supply chains, and distribution networks. These conditions emphasise the demanding nature of pursuing innovative R&D in-house. 

The demands of sales and marketing add additional complexity to internal development initiatives. New offerings require educating healthcare providers and consumers regarding their benefits, alongside developing specialised sales teams and tailored marketing strategies aligned with the product's unique demands. Incentivising sales teams to prioritise new offerings over established ones can be testing, which reinforces the hesitation of traditional MedTechs to pursue disruptive R&D projects.

A culture of risk aversion often prevails within traditional firms, leading to a reluctance to depart from established business models and technologies. This is reinforced by corporate structures that highlight stability and predictability over innovation and agility. Executives may hesitate to invest in ground-breaking R&D projects, opting instead for incremental improvements to existing devices. The allure of legacy products, despite their age and slow growth rates, provides a sense of security that dissuades corporations from exploring new technologies.
A Third Way

A Third Way for achieving growth and competitiveness, involves investing in innovative early-stage enterprises. Start-up culture thrives on creativity, fuelled by agility, entrepreneurial spirit, and a focus on disruptive solutions. Unlike traditional MedTechs, new ventures are free from the constraints of legacy systems, which enables them to take bold risks and explore new ideas. The collaborative culture of emerging businesses frequently attracts top talent from diverse disciplines, promoting interdisciplinary cooperation and fresh perspectives. This convergence of talent, flexibility, and risk-taking propels start-ups to the forefront of progress, extending the boundaries of what is achievable and contributing to transformative change in healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
Engagement with entrepreneurial businesses warrants larger companies access to cutting-edge technologies while mitigating risk across a portfolio of ventures. Investment in early-stage entities opens avenues for collaboration, partnership, and potential acquisitions, enabling traditional firms to capitalise on emerging trends to maintain and enhance their competitiveness. Overall, embracing a broad-based investment strategy in start-ups represents a prudent approach for traditional MedTechs aiming to reconcile progress with risk.
You might also like:

Healthcare disrupters

Supporting a variety of new ventures that are developing novel products through off-balance sheet investments presents a strategic advantage for traditional corporations. This approach allows them to access advancements without immediately bearing the financial burden of traditional acquisitions, thereby preserving their financial flexibility, and safeguarding their core business. 
By providing tax benefits and mitigating the impact on financial ratios, these commitments contribute to the overall financial wellbeing of the company. Additionally, they facilitate low-risk incremental acquisitions. As start-ups mature and demonstrate success, traditional enterprises can acquire them, leveraging their initial investment and minimising the risk associated with unproven technologies. This model fosters an ecosystem where new entrepreneurial entities thrive with support from established players.
Investing in emerging businesses for MedTechs extends beyond financial contributions and can include injections of expertise and knowledge. Established firms possess the capability to offer invaluable guidance and mentorship, drawing on their experience in navigating complex regulations, executing successful clinical trials, and effectively scaling manufacturing operations. By sharing their expertise and knowhow, mature companies amplify the impact of their financial stakes and strengthen their ability and reputation to drive innovation. 

The Potential of Venture Arms for MedTechs

The creation of venture arms by leading MedTech companies has facilitated creativity and driven commercial success. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Medtronic, for example, have embraced this trend with positive outcomes. J&J's venture initiative, JLabs, was initiated in 2015 in San Francisco to nurture ~50 start-ups across a spectrum of healthcare sectors, including medical devices and digital health. Since then, it has burgeoned into a dynamic ecosystem with key incubation hubs worldwide, from New York to China.
While J&J typically refrains from immediate investments, its strategic commitments to enterprises like Mauna Kea Technologies, Protekt Therapeutics, Cara Care, Cala Health, and Sight Diagnostics demonstrate the company's interest in nurturing entrepreneurial solutions aligned with its strategic objectives. Similarly, Medtronic's venture arm has effectively made strategic investments in a diverse array of early-stage businesses, with Axonics as a notable example. Axonics' recent (January 2023) FDA approval for its fourth-generation rechargeable sacral neuromodulation system serves as a testament to the success that can arise from such collaborative endeavours.
Traditional MedTech companies can take valuable lessons from industry giants such as J&J and Medtronic, especially in establishing their own venture funds to invest in a range of start-ups. This strategic manoeuvre not only provides these companies access to cutting-edge technologies and disruptive innovations that might outstrip their internal development capacities but also allows them to diversify their product portfolio and helps mitigate risks associated with reliance on a narrow range of offerings.
Entrepreneurial ventures often boast agility, enabling them to swiftly bring products to market, surmount bureaucratic hurdles that larger corporations may face, cultivate a culture centred on innovation within their organisations, and inspire employees to explore fresh ideas and collaborate with external partners. 
However, this can only be achieved if the MedTech market offers realistic opportunities.
The MedTech Start-up Market

We have argued that the MedTech start-up market holds potential for traditional companies seeking to revitalise their portfolios to maintain and increase their competitiveness. However, what are the realities of this market? Recent studies shed light on its trends and opportunities, and from these, we can judge whether such investments strategies are a viable option for mature MedTechs.

A 2017 study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and AdvaMed Accel suggested that venture capital investments in early-stage MedTechs were slowing because alongside lacklustre returns, investors showed reluctance towards unproven technologies, and were deterred by regulatory and reimbursement obstacles. However, findings of a similar study repeated in 2021 paint a more promising picture. Since 2017 and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, venture financing in early stage MedTechs surged by ~67%, suggesting a renewed investor confidence. Notably, the bulk of investments were towards late-stage diagnostic and digital companies, highlighting a shift in investor priorities towards more mature ventures. Furthermore, alternative financing avenues such as public markets and family offices have emerged as viable options, opening new pathways for entrepreneurial endeavours. Notwithstanding, amidst this surge, seed, and Series A funding continued to decline, which poses difficulties for fledgling MedTech entities.

For traditional MedTech companies contending with aging legacy products in slow-moving markets, bridging the funding gap presents an opportunity to enhance their growth prospects and strengthen their competitive position. As we have asserted, beyond financial backing, start-ups often seek guidance on regulatory navigation, clinical studies, intellectual property, and reimbursement procedures. Leveraging their wealth of experience and established networks, large firms are ideally situated to provide such valuable insights and support to emerging ventures. 


By strategically committing to a diverse range of start-ups, traditional firms bolster their capacity to navigate the complexities of the technology ecosystem. This proactive stance not only positions enterprises to shape the future of healthcare but also augments their prospects for sustained growth and competitiveness in an industry experiencing rapid evolution.
Collaborating with emerging businesses at the forefront of technological development empowers large corporations to respond adeptly to market dynamics and drive progress. Such strategic engagement reinforces their relevance in the market, fosters a culture of cooperation and improvement across the healthcare continuum, strengthens traditional enterprises' competitive edge and ensures their long-term viability.
The entrepreneurial spirit inherent in start-ups can rejuvenate the development pipelines of traditional MedTechs, enhancing their decision-making and cultivating an environment of creativity conducive to growth. Establishing a fund to invest in start-ups helps to reduce risk and maximise returns, thus protecting corporations against potential disruptions. Adaptation is crucial for survival, and the approach outlined in this Commentary provides traditional companies reliant on legacy offerings with an opportunity to adapt and thrive, reaffirming their relevance in an era characterised by constant change.
view in full page
  • Healthcare is flooded with diverse data from multiple sources, including imaging, genomic sequences, lifestyle factors, and clinical records
  • The volume and diversity of healthcare data pose challenges for medical practitioners and hinder the delivery of quality care
  • Relying solely on healthcare professionals to manage this diverse data is impractical
  • Multimodal AI can amalgamate, analyse, and utilise complex healthcare data, offering transformative potential across delivery systems
Transforming Healthcare with Multimodal AI

On April 1, 2024, Peter Arduini, President, and CEO of GE Healthcare, announced the acquisition of MIM Software, a leading provider of medical imaging analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in fields such as radiation oncology, molecular radiotherapy, diagnostic imaging, and urology, serving diverse healthcare settings worldwide. "We are excited to welcome MIM Software, recognised for its innovation in multimodal image analytics and workflow," said Arduini.
Multimodal AI

Multimodal AI is at the forefront of modern methodologies, synthesising diverse AI technologies to concurrently interpret various data types, a capability commonly referred to as handling multiple modalities. This approach has the potential to transform processes and enhance patient care. In today's healthcare environment, the emergence of multimodal AI signifies a leap forward, particularly within medical technology. The inundation of data from various sources such as imaging, time series, genomic sequences, lifestyle factors, and clinical records pose a challenge for individual healthcare professionals to merge and interpret. The expectation for clinicians to proficiently manage and utilise such diverse datasets alongside their primary medical specialisation is unrealistic. Multimodal AI offers a solution. Tailored for medical applications, it harnesses the power of sophisticated algorithms and machine learning techniques, to integrate and interpret disparate data streams. By doing so, the technology furnishes healthcare providers with insights and actionable intelligence, thus empowering them to make informed decisions and drive improved patient outcomes.
In this Commentary

This Commentary explores the complexities of healthcare data, encompassing a broad spectrum from imaging to clinical records. Multimodal AI emerges as a pragmatic solution, harmonising disparate data sources to provide insights and streamline healthcare delivery. The recent acquisition of MIM Software by GE Healthcare underscores the increasing significance of this approach. Through a historical lens, we examine the evolution of multimodal AI and its progress in deciphering various data formats. In healthcare contexts, multimodal AI has the potential to transform patient care by combining data to formulate personalised diagnoses and treatment strategies. In tackling data complexities, the technology equips healthcare professionals with efficient tools for managing intricate datasets. Furthermore, its adoption yields tangible benefits for MedTech companies by expediting innovation cycles and enhancing operational efficiency. Ultimately, multimodal AI instigates a shift in healthcare delivery and administration, fostering improved health outcomes.
A Brief History

Multimodal AI has evolved through advancements in AI, data science, and interdisciplinary research. The foundation of AI was established in the mid-20th century by pioneers like Alan Turing and John McCarthy, focusing on symbolic logic and rule-based reasoning. However, early AI systems had limited capabilities to process diverse data types. The 1980s witnessed the rise of machine learning as an area within AI research. Techniques such as neural networks, decision trees, and Bayesian methods emerged, enabling systems to learn from data and make predictions.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, progress was made in computer vision and natural language processing (NLP), laying the foundation for multimodal AI by enabling the processing and understanding of visual and textual data. The early 21st century saw a growing interest in integrating multiple data approaches within AI systems. Researchers explored techniques to combine information from sources such as text, images, audio, and sensor data to enhance analyses.
The advent of deep learning in the 2010s transformed AI, fuelled by advances in neural network architectures and computational resources. Deep learning techniques, including convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks (RNNs), enabled progress in processing multimodal data. In recent years, AI fusion technology has become increasingly prevalent across various domains, including healthcare, finance, autonomous vehicles, and multimedia analysis. These applications leverage sophisticated AI models capable of integrating and interpreting data from diverse sources to extract actionable insights.

You might also like:

MedTechs Battle with AI for Sustainable Growth and Enhanced Value

The development of multimodal AI continues to be driven by interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers in AI, computer science, neuroscience, cognitive science, and other fields. This collective effort aims to advance the capabilities of AI systems to understand and interact with complex, poly modal environments more effectively.

Multimodal AI in a Healthcare Setting

To illustrate the application of multimodal AI in healthcare, envision a scenario where a patient communicates symptoms through a voice-to-text interface with a medical practitioner’s office. The text is then managed by a computer utilising natural language processing (NLP), empowering machines to understand and interpret human language. Simultaneously, the patient's recent medical images and electronic health records (EHR) are accessed and undergo examination by computer algorithms. Consider that these EHRs are derived from speech recognition processes, transcribing spoken notes from prior examinations conducted by healthcare professionals. These disparate data sources are amalgamated to construct a health profile, offering insights into the patient's medical history and current condition. By harnessing machine learning algorithms, this profile, developed in split seconds, lays the groundwork for crafting personalised diagnoses and treatment plans that surpass the limitations of singular modal approaches. Moreover, the system remains dynamic, evolving alongside the patient's treatment journey. It continuously learns and adapts, aligning with the patient's status to ensure the delivery of optimal therapies. The insights obtained from this multimodal AI approach can be shared with healthcare providers to facilitate informed decision-making and encourage collaborative patient care. In an era marked by vast and rapidly growing healthcare demands, escalating healthcare costs and constrained resources, the significance of this approach cannot be overstated. By encapsulating the complexities inherent in medical diagnoses and treatment plans, multimodal AI offers a superior alternative to traditional singular methods.
Healthcare's Data Challenges and Multimodal AI

Let us examine the current situation in a little more detail. In today's digital age, the healthcare industry is a prolific generator of data, contributing ~30% of the world's data volume. This figure is projected to surge further, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~36% expected by 2025. Such growth outpaces key sectors like manufacturing, financial services, and media & entertainment by significant margins, emphasising the pace of data expansion within healthcare.
The challenges inherent in managing vast amounts of data are not solely due to their abundance; difficulties also arise from their diverse formats, ranging from structured data to unstructured datasets encompassing text, images, graphs, videos, and more. Despite the potential held within such data, significant portions remain untapped. The primary reason for this underutilisation is the inadequacy of conventional tools to unlock the latent insights embedded within diverse data types. Traditional technologies falter in efficiently searching, processing, and analysing these massive and heterogeneous datasets. As a result, there is a need for specialised methodologies and advanced technologies capable of extracting actionable intelligence from this wealth of information.
Enter multimodal AI: a transformative solution poised to unlock the value in unstructured datasets. By synthesising advanced algorithms with diverse data modalities, this technology offers a comprehensive approach to data analysis, transcending the limitations of traditional tools. Through techniques like natural language processing, computer vision, and deep learning, multimodal AI empowers healthcare professionals to navigate the complexities of data with unprecedented precision and efficiency. By leveraging this technology, healthcare providers can overcome the challenges of data and pave the way for innovative advancements in patient care, research, and beyond.
Navigating the Data Deluge

Medical practitioners encounter obstacles in their efforts to provide optimal care, improve patient outcomes, and manage costs effectively through data amalgamation and analysis.

Real-time data generation intensifies the pressure on healthcare professionals, demanding rapid analysis to extract actionable insights. However, ensuring data quality and reliability remains an issue due to the prevalence of errors, inconsistencies, and missing values, which can compromise both analytical validity and clinical outcomes.

Interoperability problems further exacerbate the situation, as disparate healthcare systems often employ incompatible technologies and standards, hindering data exchange. The absence of standardised formats and protocols impedes integration and sharing across platforms and organisations, thwarting efforts to leverage data for comprehensive patient care.
You might also like:

Leaning-in on digital and AI

Moreover, privacy and security regulations, such as the American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), necessitate a balance between safeguarding patient privacy and facilitating data access and sharing. The digital transformation of healthcare increases these concerns, underscoring the urgency of compliance with regulatory standards and robust data protection measures.
Multimodal AI solutions have the capabilities to address these challenges by leveraging advanced encryption techniques, anomaly detection algorithms, and robust audit trails, which strengthen data security and prevent unauthorised access. These AI-powered systems also play a role in ensuring regulatory compliance by identifying potential violations and monitoring adherence to guidelines, thus mitigating compliance risks within healthcare organisations.

Furthermore, effective data interpretation hinges upon domain-specific expertise and a nuanced understanding of clinical contexts. Healthcare professionals must contextualise data within individual patient characteristics, medical histories, and clinical guidelines to make informed decisions, thereby optimising patient care. However, biases inherent in healthcare data pose an obstacle, potentially skewing AI models and predictions. Mitigating biases and promoting equitable healthcare outcomes require a concerted effort towards fairness, transparency, and generalisability in AI model development and deployment.

Addressing these challenges necessitates collaborative efforts among healthcare professionals, data scientists, policymakers, and technology providers. Implementing strategies such as data standardisation, interoperability frameworks, advanced analytics techniques, and robust data governance policies are imperative for overcoming obstacles and unlocking the full potential of healthcare data to enhance patient care and outcomes.

Multimodal AI and MedTech Innovation

Multimodal AI extends beyond traditional healthcare practices and has the potential to reshape how MedTech companies tackle healthcare challenges and develop solutions and services for patients. The technology holds promise to accelerate innovation cycles by expediting the development and refinement of novel medical devices and technologies. By integrating various data modalities, including imaging, genomic, and clinical data, it enables firms to uncover insights, leading to the creation of more effective diagnostic tools and treatment solutions. This not only improves the competitive edge of enterprises but also translates into tangible benefits for healthcare providers and patients by offering faster, more accurate diagnostics and therapies.
Furthermore, in the realm of personalised care, multimodal AI empowers corporations to tailor interventions to individual patient profiles, encompassing genetic predispositions, lifestyle factors, and treatment responses. Such tailored approaches improve patient outcomes and have the potential to drive market differentiation for MedTech products, which cater to the growing demand for customised healthcare solutions.

Moreover, the integration of multimodal AI into MedTech solutions and services fosters interoperability and connectivity across various healthcare systems and devices. This boosts the efficiency of remote patient monitoring and telemedicine platforms, allowing enterprises to reach underserved populations and geographies more effectively. By leveraging data from wearables, sensors, and remote monitoring platforms, the technology enables proactive healthcare interventions, detecting early warning signs of deterioration, facilitating timely interventions, thus improving patient outcomes, and reducing healthcare disparities.

In addition to driving innovation in product development, multimodal AI contributes to optimising operational efficiency and resource allocation within enterprises. By automating administrative tasks, streamlining work, and analysing data on patient flow and resource utilisation, the technology empowers MedTechs to allocate resources more effectively, reduce costs, and strengthen overall operational performance. This not only translates into improved bottom-line results but also enhances resource allocation for healthcare providers, which ultimately benefits patient care delivery.

The integration of multimodal AI into the medical technology sector catalyses a shift in how healthcare is delivered and managed, paving the way for more efficient, personalised, and accessible healthcare solutions. As corporations continue to harness the power of this technology, the potential for transformative innovation in healthcare delivery and management becomes increasingly possible, promoting better health outcomes and experiences for individuals and populations worldwide.


GE Healthcare's acquisition of MIM Software highlights the company's strategic foresight in leveraging MIM's extensive product portfolio, utilised by >3,000 institutions worldwide. Also, it exemplifies Peter Arduini's astuteness in navigating the evolving healthcare technology landscape and emphasises the importance of integrating multimodal AI tools to achieve sustainable growth and gain a competitive edge in today's dynamic healthcare ecosystem. As technology progresses and data complexity increases, multimodal AI's importance is poised to escalate, transforming healthcare's trajectory. The technology’s integration optimises diagnostic and treatment procedures, streamlines administrative functions, and enhances operational efficiency within healthcare systems. Despite challenges such as data complexity and privacy concerns, the ability of multimodal AI to synthesise data and provide actionable insights empowers healthcare professionals, leading to improved patient outcomes. As this technology evolves, it promises to reshape the delivery and management of medical services globally. Multimodal AI has the capacity to reinforce GE Healthcare's leadership in innovation and enhance its competitive position.
view in full page
  • Amidst rapid technological advancements, shifting demographics, volatile markets, and geopolitical turbulence, corporate boards grapple with multifaceted responsibilities to steer their enterprises towards sustainable, long-term growth
  • The relentless pace of change demands directors to be adaptable and strategic 
  • Given these dynamics, traditional approaches to board effectiveness should be re-evaluated and enhanced to equip directors with the essential tools for enduring success in today's business environment
Reimagining Boards
The role of boards of directors has been transformed since their inception in the late 18th or early 19th century. Initially tasked with safeguarding shareholder interests during nascent industrialisation and within smaller-scale enterprises, boards now face additional challenges. The 21st century is marked by rapid technological advancements, significant demographic shifts, volatile global markets, and geopolitical turbulence, all of which converge to test organisational resilience and innovation. Despite this evolving landscape, boards continue to have a fundamental duty of protecting shareholder interests. Directors are elected by shareholders to provide guidance, set strategy and oversee management. Thus, they shoulder the responsibility of ensuring sustained growth and vitality for the entities they govern. However, the accelerating pace of change on many fronts requires boards to manage with agility. Effective communication between executive and non-executive directors, as well as among the latter, is crucial in this endeavour. Notwithstanding, the perception of harmony among corporate colleagues may mask underlying areas for improvement that tend to surface during moments of crisis. Against this backdrop of increasing complexity and the pervasive influence of advancing technologies across all sectors, complacency in communication poses a threat to governance effectiveness. Thus, there is a need to reimagine board strategies to align with the demands of a rapidly changing business ecosystem. Cultivating a culture of mutual respect, agility, and innovation is essential for directors to effectively manage uncertainty and foster sustainable growth. Such a proactive approach not only shields directors against unforeseen obstacles but also positions them to seize emerging opportunities, thereby enhancing their resilience in the face of volatility, and promoting enduring prosperity for the organisations they represent.

In this Commentary

This Commentary explores the role that public company boards play in corporate governance. It delves into the obstacles facing directors in today's evolving business terrain, emphasising the need for adaptability and innovative governance practices. It suggests strategies to strengthen boards, including education initiatives, diverse board compositions, and strategic planning retreats. It sheds light on the limitations imposed by directors' time constraints and board meeting schedules, highlighting the potential impediments to gaining a comprehensive understanding of crucial enterprise dynamics. Furthermore, the Commentary examines the implications of aging boards and advocates for the integration of digital natives, suggesting a blend of seasoned experience and technological fluency in governance structures. Through analysis and actionable insights, we endeavour to provide boards with suggestions to help navigate contemporary business ecosystems.
21st Century Boards of Directors

Today, corporate leadership is characterised by a complex interplay of various factors, including technological advancements, demographic shifts, market dynamics, geopolitical intricacies, and evolving societal expectations. Compounded by the relatively short tenures of large company CEOs and C-suite executives, averaging ~5 and ~4.5 years respectively, the challenge for directors and boards becomes even more pronounced. The turnover in leadership underscores the need for agility and foresight in governance and strategic planning processes. Entrusted with the task of charting a course for their companies' future prosperity and sustainability, boards must adeptly manage these hurdles. To succeed in this endeavour, non-executive directors must possess a deep understanding of the forces shaping the business environment and possess the flexibility to adapt to emerging trends and challenges. By doing so, boards can ensure that their organisations remain resilient and responsive among the ever-changing milieu of the modern corporate environment.
At the forefront of this task is the speed and extent of technological disruption. Numerous 21st-century technologies have reshaped societies, economies, and everyday life. Smartphones and mobile telephony have transformed communications, entertainment, commerce, and productivity, becoming indispensable tools globally. Social media platforms like Facebook, X, (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and TikTok have radically changed communication patterns, influenced consumer behaviour, and shaped political discourse. Cloud computing services such as AWS and Azure have disrupted data storage and software access, driving efficiency and innovation in businesses. E-commerce platforms like Amazon and Alibaba have radically changed traditional retail models, offering convenience and global reach. Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies automate tasks, analyse data, and power innovations from virtual assistants to medical diagnostics. The Internet of Things (IoT) enables interconnected devices to optimise processes in healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation. Big data analytics unlock insights from vast amounts of information, driving innovation and enhancing competitiveness. These technologies present opportunities and risks. Corporate boards must fully comprehend their implications, urging companies to harness them for innovation while fortifying defences against emerging threats such as cybersecurity breaches.
Geopolitical uncertainty presents another substantial challenge for leaders. With trade tensions and regulatory hurdles, directors must possess a nuanced understanding of global markets and exhibit agility in adapting to shifts in international relations. Navigating such volatility demands strategic prowess and capabilities to react swiftly. Moreover, addressing evolving consumer preferences requires cultivating diversity within corporate governance structures. By developing leadership teams that encompass a range of perspectives and expertise, organisations are better positioned to drive innovation and ensure well-informed decision-making processes that connect with stakeholders. 
Equally crucial are environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations, which have surged to the forefront of corporate agendas. Rather than treating sustainability and ethical practices as add-ons, leaders must integrate them into strategic planning and risk management to safeguard long-term value and reputation.
In the digital age, cybersecurity and data privacy pose threats to businesses. Boards must exercise decisive oversight to protect critical assets and uphold stakeholder trust amidst escalating cyber threats. Collaborative efforts between directors and management are essential to assess risks, implement policies, and integrate cybersecurity into broader strategic initiatives. Proactive measures can mitigate challenges, preserve customer trust, and ensure sustainable growth.
In today's business environment, the responsibilities of board directors extend beyond attending meetings and responding to market fluctuations. While these short-term considerations are essential, directors must also recognise the importance of enhancing their comprehension of factors that influence longer-term strategies pivotal for sustainable growth. The traditional format of board meetings, and the competing interests of non-executive directors, may inadvertently foster a superficial approach to governance and the formulation of long-term strategies. Directors play a crucial role in steering their organisations towards sustainable growth and competitive advantage. This necessitates a comprehensive exploration of all facets of the corporation and its industry, coupled with a continuous awareness of emerging technologies and the growing influence of emerging economies.
To adeptly address both short-term pressures and foster sustainable growth, boards must reassess the regularity and structure of their meetings. Increasing their frequency facilitates prompt decision-making, encourages deeper engagement and strengthens problem-solving capabilities among directors. Furthermore, aligning the frequency of meetings with strategic priorities ensures that time is allocated effectively, laying a robust foundation for long-term success.
You might also like:

The Power of Corporate Culture

Directors must balance oversight and intervention while fostering adaptability, innovation, and embracing change as an opportunity for growth, instilling forward-thinking mindsets, and empowering management. Expertise, vigilance, and adaptability are indispensable traits for effective board leadership.
Communication challenges

Effective communication is a cornerstone for boardroom success. Nonetheless, nurturing relationships is a task that demands both time and resources. Disregarding such endeavours can lead to issues, ranging from ineffective management practices to organisational breakdowns.

Executive-Non-Executive Communications
One main obstacle to effective communication is the inherent information asymmetry between executives and board directors. The former often possess more detailed knowledge about the organisation's day-to-day operations and challenges, leaving directors at a disadvantage. This information gap can result in misunderstandings or misinterpretations during board iterations. Executives may withhold information due to concerns about reputation or personal interests, while directors may lack the depth of understanding to fully comprehend the implications of certain decisions.
Further, communication between executives and non-executive directors is susceptible to confirmation bias and groupthink. Executives may present information in a way that aligns with their preferred course of action, while directors may feel pressured to conform to the consensus within the boardroom. This can stifle dissenting opinions and critical evaluation, leading to suboptimal decision-making. A lack of accountability compounds these challenges. Without transparent communication, directors struggle to hold executives accountable, which can encourage a culture of complacency, allowing misconduct to go unchecked.

Overreliance on PowerPoint Presentations
Personality conflicts, power struggles, and divergent communication styles present barriers to the flow of information within organisations, hampering problem-solving efforts and eroding trust among stakeholders. Moreover, an excessive reliance on PowerPoint Presentations (PPPs) can exacerbate these challenges, as they often fail to stimulate meaningful dialogue. Executives must engage in frank discussions with their board colleagues to tackle complex issues, fostering an environment of openness and transparency. Effective communication between executives and board directors demands strategies that encourage genuine engagement and facilitate transparent dialogue. This not only strengthens relationships but also fosters a culture of trust, collaboration, and collective problem-solving. Jeff Bezos, known for his emphasis on effective communication and decision-making within Amazon, has notably instituted a practice in company meetings where executives must read and internalise a memo, which serves as the basis for discussion, rather than relying on PPPs. This approach is thought to encourage more thoughtful analysis and in-depth understanding.

Kingdom Building Among Middle Managers
Boards across industries might draw on the strategic manoeuvres of tech giants like Meta and Google, who are simplifying their organisational structures by eliminating layers of middle management. It is at these levels where internal kingdom building occurs, leading to bureaucratic hurdles and siloed operations. By flattening their hierarchies, these tech firms aim to boost transparency, agility, and collaboration. Boards representing other industries might take note of the potential inefficiencies and communication bottlenecks stemming from excessive middle management layers and consider similar initiatives to bolster organisational efficiency. A more streamlined and agile enterprise can help boards to drive innovation, adapt swiftly to market changes, and sustain growth.

Communication Among Board Directors
Effective communication among board colleagues is essential for fostering mutual respect and a shared commitment to the company's vision, mission, and strategy. When directors comprehend and endorse the organisation's goals and purpose, they can utilise their diverse expertise to collaboratively drive strategy. This alignment encourages unity within the board, ensuring decisions are made in the best interest of the company's long-term success. Through exchanging insights, providing feedback, and engaging in constructive dialogue, directors can identify trends, assess risks, and make informed decisions that contribute to sustainable success. Conversely, inadequate communication among directors can lead to conflicts and impede the board's ability to make timely decisions. Disagreements and misunderstandings can undermine trust and cohesion, ultimately jeopardising the company's competitive position.

                   Strengthening Boards for Dynamic Governance

Directors juggling competing interests often face heightened demands, which may compromise their effectiveness, particularly when they hold multiple board positions. While enriching their experience and expertise, multitasking can strain their time and focus, hindering their ability to prioritise effective communication within individual affiliate boards. To address this challenge, implementing limits on the number of boards directors can serve on becomes essential to ensure that their attention remains focused and their commitment undivided. In the US, institutional investors have voiced their opposition to the appointment of directors sitting on >5 boards. Notably, BlackRock, an investment management firm, cast dissenting votes against 163 directors across 149 companies between July 2020 and June 2021 due to concerns of over-boarding. 
Continuous education and training programmes for executives and board directors are essential for improving their grasp of roles, and responsibilities. These instil a culture of constant learning and flexibility, equipping participants with the skills needed to tackle modern challenges. Additionally, by promoting diversity of thought within the board, discussions and decision-making become more vibrant, and encourage innovative solutions to current problems. Evaluating executives' performance, particularly their communication abilities, enhances accountability and contributes to ongoing progress.
Careful structuring of board committees ensures oversight and dynamic discussions. Regular rotation of committee members safeguards against complacency and brings in fresh perspectives, invigorating the board's decision-making processes. While organising retreats involving both executives and board directors may disrupt the usual rhythm of board meetings, such initiatives are instrumental in reinforcing alignment with corporate goals and strengthening communication channels. By incorporating workshops, inviting guest speakers, and facilitating open forums during board meetings, the focus shifts towards promoting creativity and embracing diverse viewpoints, rather than perpetuating conventional thinking. Such initiatives help to shape and reshape the mindsets of executives and directors, stimulate innovation, and facilitate active engagement.
Beyond Boardrooms

Sticking strictly to the traditional approach of holding board meetings exclusively at the company's headquarters could inadvertently limit directors' understanding of the operations they oversee. In an era marked by interconnectedness and diversity, it is crucial for directors to move beyond these physical confines and actively involve themselves in the varied operational landscapes of their enterprises. This fosters a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities encountered by the company, cultivating a more nuanced perspective essential for informed and effective decision-making.
You might also like:

Forging a path for digital excellence in the MedTech Industry

When board directors acquaint themselves with facilities and locales crucial to operations, they gain insights into quality control protocols, potential bottlenecks, and opportunities. Armed with such knowledge, they are better positioned to identify avenues for improvement. An understanding of supply chain dynamics is also essential for effective risk management and protection against disruptions. By increasing their knowledge of key suppliers, directors strengthen their ability to navigate challenges and cultivate agility and adaptability.
Furthermore, the operational footprint of international corporations often spans diverse regions characterised by unique cultural, economic, and regulatory frameworks. Venturing beyond the headquarters helps board members gain first-hand exposure to these varied geographies, enhancing their ability to contribute to strategies tailored to local contexts. Such knowhow proves invaluable in understanding key customers, navigating complex regulatory spheres, and seizing market opportunities.
Embarking on exploratory journeys into potential regions and markets equips directors with insights necessary to make more informed strategic decisions regarding expansion initiatives, mergers, or acquisitions. Through experiences in new regions, directors develop the ability to assess market potential, recognise competitive dynamics, and determine the viability of investment ventures, thereby mitigating risks inherent in moving into unfamiliar territories.
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, a significant shift occurred, with ~80% of the global population transitioning from poverty to middle-class status and from ignorance to enlightenment. This period witnessed the transformation of once nascent markets into economic powerhouses. Despite comprising >75% of the world's population in 2000, developing economies were responsible for only ~40% of global GDP. By 2010, this share had risen to ~50%, and projections indicate it will reach ~60% by 2025. No longer low-margin commodity exporters, emerging markets now serve as growth opportunities for Western corporations, with tech giants like Apple and Microsoft also leveraging them for innovative R&D. In today's setting, it is essential for directors of Western enterprises to broaden their horizons beyond their advanced home economies and gain exposure to the conditions, economies, business practices, and opportunities of emerging markets, where an increasing percentage of future global business and innovations lie.
Board Demographics

The median age of public company directors, which is ~65, holds significance for the effectiveness of corporate boards, particularly within fast-paced technology sectors. This demographic influences decision-making, strategic planning, and governance, thereby shaping the path of organisations. While the expertise of older directors contributes valuable experience and institutional insight necessary for understanding industry shifts and overcoming obstacles, it also presents constraints.
One important advantage derived from senior board members is the depth of experience and institutional memory they inject into boardroom deliberations. They serve as custodians of industry dynamics and historical perspectives, illuminating pathways for informed decision-making and strategic foresight. Their tenure promotes stability and continuity within the board, instilling confidence in shareholders and stakeholders regarding consistent leadership aligned with the enterprise's long-term objectives. Also, age does not necessarily correlate with either a lack of mental agility or technological acumen; many senior directors remain actively engaged, continuously updating their knowledge base, and contributing meaningfully to board discussions on market trends and technological advancements.
However, some seniors may lean towards a cautious approach to risk, potentially reducing innovation, and adaptability. While this approach may mitigate immediate risks, it could impede agility in responding to emerging business opportunities. A technology and innovation gap among seasoned directors may also hinder their ability to grasp evolving trends critical in today's competitive ecosystem, such as social media's influence. Boards lacking expertise in this area may struggle to manage online reputation and engage stakeholders effectively. Knowledge gaps could dilute the board's evaluation of risks and opportunities, affecting the company's competitiveness. This is especially critical in rapidly changing industries like agriculture and healthcare, where failure to leverage developing technologies can result in missed growth opportunities and loss of market relevance.
Digital Natives

Large company boards are comprised predominantly of digital immigrants, individuals who have been shaped in an era preceding the transformative influence of the internet on communication and information dissemination. We have suggested how this demographic has implications for how boards confront the challenges presented by an ever-evolving business ecosystem. Given the rapid pace of technological advancement, boards must not only draw upon the wisdom and stability offered by senior directors but also recognise the importance of integrating digital fluency into their ranks.
The integration of digital natives - individuals who have grown up in the information age - onto boards seems a strategic necessity. Their presence offers fresh perspectives and technological expertise essential for navigating the complexities of today's digital era. By broadening the scope of diversity beyond factors like ethnicity and gender to encompass age, boards can ensure they possess the skill set needed to thrive in a rapidly and perpetually evolving business environment. Actively recruiting individuals steeped in the information age can infuse boards with innovative thinking and technological prowess.
Moreover, embracing age diversity supports a collaborative environment wherein insights from both digital immigrants and digital natives are leveraged to maximum effect. This synergy between different generational mindsets encourages a deeper understanding of emerging technologies and market trends and thereby supports more nuanced and informed decision-making processes. Harnessing the collective wisdom of both cohorts amplifies the board's capacity to anticipate disruptions, identify opportunities, and devise strategies that resonate across diverse consumer demographics.
However, the integration of digital natives necessitates a commitment to foster an inclusive culture that values and empowers their contributions. Boards must provide opportunities for digital natives to express their perspectives freely and actively seek their input. Encouraging cross-generational mentorship and knowledge exchange initiatives can further enhance collaboration and facilitate the integration of digital fluency into boardroom discussions and decision-making processes.
In essence, bridging potential technology gaps within corporate boards through the inclusion of digital natives enhances the board's capacity to navigate the complexities of the modern era and reinforces its relevance and competitiveness in an increasingly dynamic marketplace. It seems reasonable to suggest that embracing diversity in age and thought is a pathway to sustained innovation, resilience, and long-term success in an ever-evolving business ecosystem.

The evolving landscape of corporate governance demands a re-evaluation of traditional board practices in the face of the rapid changes in technology, demographics, markets, and geopolitics. As guardians of corporate strategy and sustainability, boards must possess adaptability and strategic insight to navigate these complexities effectively. In this context, reimagining the role of boards extends to innovative approaches, including enhanced communication strategies, continuous education initiatives, and promoting age diversity. Furthermore, expanding board activities beyond the confines of corporate headquarters offers invaluable insights into operational realities and diverse markets, facilitating informed decision-making. By fostering collaboration, embracing digital fluency, and leveraging the collective wisdom of diverse generations, boards can navigate uncertainty, drive innovation, and ensure enduring success in today's dynamic business environment. Implementing these principles positions boards as architects of their own evolution, empowering them to lead organisations towards resilience and sustainable growth amidst the relentless pace of change.
view in full page
  • Corporate culture shapes the identity and values of MedTech companies, influencing their approach to innovation, patient care, and business ethics
  • It encourages robust employee engagement, collaboration, and commitment, crucial for driving advancements in medical technology and enhancing patient outcomes 
  • The alignment of corporate culture with regulatory standards and industry best practices is essential for enterprises to maintain compliance and trust among stakeholders
  • Ethical decision-making and integrity are cornerstones of a positive corporate culture in the MedTech sector, impacting public perception and investor confidence
  • Embracing a supportive and inclusive ethos attracts top talent, nurtures development, and sharpens competitive edge in healthcare's dynamic landscape
The Power of Corporate Culture
In the ever-evolving environment of the medical technology industry, where innovation and precision are essential, an often underestimated yet indispensable element stands out: corporate culture. It serves as the foundation upon which organisational cohesion and effectiveness are built, encompassing the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that guide employee interactions and shape decision-making processes. A unified corporate environment fosters collaboration, streamlines operations, and boosts productivity, optimising resource allocation and reducing waste. Conversely, fragmented cultures breed discord, hampering communication, impeding progress, and depleting valuable resources in the process. An integrated corporate ethos that empowers individuals and aligns them with the company’s strategic vision can unlock their full potential, nurturing sustainable growth and gaining a competitive edge. 

As the medical technology sector continues its pursuit of innovations and personalised solutions, the role of a robust corporate culture becomes indispensable. It acts as the crucial element for success, helping companies manage challenges effectively while also empowering them to seize opportunities with agility and foresight. Furthermore, a unified corporate ethos strengthens companies to achieve important results that connect with patients and stakeholders, solidifying their leadership role in advancing healthcare and shaping the industry's future.
The sustained success of Medtronic, Siemens Healthineers and Boston Scientific in the global MedTech industry partly can be attributed to their distinctive corporate cultures, which serve as a competitive advantage. These companies have strategically cultivated cultures that set them apart from competitors and strike a chord with their stakeholders. For instance, Medtronic's emphasis on innovation and patient-centricity encourages advancements and instils trust among patients and healthcare professionals. Similarly, Siemens Healthineers' commitment to quality and continuous improvement not only drives advancements in medical technology but also ensures reliability and excellence in their products and services. Boston Scientific's focus on integrity, inclusion, and accountability strengthens internal cohesion and enhances customer trust and loyalty. By prioritising values such as collaboration, excellence, integrity, and customer satisfaction, these corporations differentiate themselves within the industry and contribute positively to healthcare outcomes worldwide.
In this Commentary

This Commentary highlights the pivotal role of corporate culture in the MedTech industry, advocating for strategies to maximise its impact. It shows how culture can drive success through innovation, employee engagement, and performance. The discussion describes actionable approaches, such as leadership commitment, clear vision, open communication, empowerment, diversity, inclusion, and continuous learning. By implementing these, companies can benefit from culture's potential for sustained growth and innovation, thereby significantly improving healthcare delivery. We present a brief case study of MedCo, a lesser-known UK MedTech, which has gained a reputation for proactive innovation. We illustrate how the company purposefully developed a distinct corporate culture. This differentiated it in an increasingly competitive market, exemplifying the transformative influence of a carefully crafted and implemented corporate culture. Furthermore, the Commentary tackles challenges and provides practical insights to assist enterprises in overcoming these obstacles, directing them toward a culture that promotes innovation, engages employees, and ensures long-term success.
Culture a Catalyst for MedTech Success

At its core, corporate culture in MedTechs fuels an environment where employees are inspired to push boundaries, collaborate, and engage in continuous improvement, encouraging creativity and empowering individuals to challenge the status quo. These dynamics facilitate the creation of innovative technologies and solutions poised to improve healthcare delivery. Simultaneously, it nurtures a sense of purpose and belonging within employees, aligning their endeavours with the organisation's mission to advance patient outcomes and elevate quality of life. Corporate ethos can help shape an environment where innovation flourishes, employees excel, and enterprises differentiate themselves. It stimulates collaboration, inspires creativity, encourages quality processes, and promotes continuous improvement, ultimately driving success, and impacting healthcare while building trust, attracting top talent, and strengthening a company's reputation.

Enhanced Employee Engagement and Productivity
When employees feel valued, supported, and appreciated within a positive work environment, they are motivated to contribute their best efforts. Clear communication channels, recognition programmes, and opportunities for professional growth further bolster engagement. A strong corporate culture promotes collaboration, teamwork, and a shared commitment to excellence, leading to increased efficiency and quality output. 

Fostering Innovation and Adaptability
Corporate culture is a catalyst for innovation and adaptability by nurturing an environment that values creativity, experimentation, and continuous learning. Employees who are encouraged to think outside the box and challenge conventional norms often generate new ideas and breakthrough solutions.
An ethos that embraces change and risk-taking enables teams to adapt swiftly to evolving market dynamics and technological advancements. Open communication channels and collaboration across departments and functions facilitate the exchange of diverse perspectives and insights, supporting a culture of innovation. Furthermore, an emphasis on learning and development ensures that people remain agile and equipped to manage challenges effectively, driving creativity and adaptability.
You might also like:

Optimising MedTechs’ People Operations for AI and Market Changes

Building Trust and Reputation
By embedding values such as integrity, transparency, and accountability throughout every facet of an enterprise's operations, corporate culture becomes instrumental in promoting trust and shaping reputation, positioning the organisation as a dependable industry partner. When employees observe ethical behaviours and fair treatment they can foster a sense of trust and loyalty. Upholding high standards of conduct and fulfilling commitments enables MedTechs to solidify their reputation as reliable, ethical, and trustworthy entities.
Cultivating an Effective Corporate Culture
Corporate culture begins at the top and hinges upon the unwavering commitment and alignment of leaders, who serve as the catalysts for its development. Central to this process is the relentless communication of the company's vision, mission, and values, coupled with the demonstration of these principles through leaders' actions. Collaborative goal setting, the establishment of clear objectives, and the implementation of receptive feedback mechanisms all serve to strengthen alignment with organisational objectives and bolster accountability throughout the entire workforce.
Open communication channels are essential for promoting transparency and trust. Establishing platforms for candid dialogue, such as regular team meetings and anonymous feedback systems, encourages active participation and fosters an inclusive culture. Leaders play a crucial role by modelling open communication, actively soliciting, and responding to feedback, thus supporting a culture of mutual respect and trust.
Employee empowerment lies at the heart of this process. MedTechs can enhance their people by delegating decision-making authority, granting autonomy in tasks, and developing an environment that champions innovation and encourages risk-taking. Recognition programmes that celebrate individual and collective achievements reinforce a culture of appreciation and motivate employees to pursue excellence. Additionally, offering opportunities for career development elevates people to map out their professional growth within the organisation.

You might also like:

The Silent Obstacle to MedTech Growth and Value Creation

Embracing diversity and inclusion stimulates innovation and enhances employee satisfaction and retention. Corporations can implement initiatives such as diverse hiring practices, unconscious bias training, and affinity groups to nurture an inclusive culture where all voices are valued. Mentorship programmes and promoting diverse leadership representation further emphasises an enterprise’s commitment to creating an environment where everyone can excel.
Continuous learning and development are vital for maintaining a culture of growth and improvement. Providing access to training programmes, workshops, and educational resources encourages people to pursue professional development opportunities. Furthermore, cross-functional collaboration and mentorship programmes facilitate the sharing of knowledge, drive innovation, and support continuous professional development.
Overcoming Challenges in Developing Corporate Culture

Successfully navigating the complexities of corporate culture development demands a multifaceted approach and steadfast commitment from leaders. Proactively tackling challenges entails more than just addressing them; it requires a strategic orchestration of efforts. Initially, overcoming resistance to change necessitates transparent communication elucidating the rationale behind cultural shifts, while actively involving employees to advance their buy-in and acceptance. Further, dismantling siloed departments and hierarchical structures mandates fostering cross-functional collaboration and flattening organisational hierarchies to promote inclusivity and teamwork. Facilitating an inclusive environment acknowledges and respects cultural differences within diverse teams, promoting a sense of belonging and empowerment. Also, ensuring the longevity and efficacy of cultural initiatives demands consistent reinforcement and alignment with company objectives. And, overcoming resource constraints mandates judicious prioritisation of cultural investments and the efficient utilisation of available resources. By adroitly addressing these challenges and implementing tailored strategies, MedTechs can forge robust corporate cultures that drive success and foster sustainable growth.
MedCo: A Case Study

Traditional MedTech enterprises seeking transformative strategies for growth and value enhancement can glean valuable insights from the journey of MedCo. Positioned as a leader in personalised healthcare solutions, the company has forged a successful path by integrating data analytics, genetics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to significantly enhance medical treatments with tailored solutions. However, what distinguishes MedCo is the emphasis its leaders place on corporate culture. Unlike many traditional players who prioritise financial and technological advancements, the company leaders recognise the importance of fostering a dynamic corporate culture that encourages experimentation, embraces diversity, and champions agility. This strategic alignment between technological innovation and a progressive corporate culture has propelled the corporation to the forefront of the industry and enabled it to continuously adapt and prosper in an ever-evolving healthcare ecosystem. Thus, for traditional MedTech enterprises aspiring for transformative growth and value enhancement, the journey of MedCo serves as a testament to the influence of corporate culture in driving innovation and strategic success.
With unwavering determination, MedCo's leaders refused to confine themselves to the status quo of conventional healthcare provision. Recognising the transformative potential of corporate culture, they embarked on a journey, fully cognisant that the foundation of such culture rests with leaders, encapsulated by a well-defined vision, mission, and values. Their resolve was to carve out a reputation synonymous with excellence, offering innovative products alongside exceptional service and after-sale support. With a focus on enhancing usability, saving healthcare professionals time and resources, and prioritising patient comfort and emotional wellbeing, the leaders pursued their objectives. They developed a culture characterised by innovation, quality, and employee engagement, which was aligned with the enterprise’s strategic vision.

Recognising that corporate culture starts from the highest levels, leaders outlined the company’s vision, mission, and values. Then, through proactive involvement with employees, these principles were collaboratively honed to align with strategic imperatives. Their goal? To forge a legacy characterised by unmatched product excellence, innovation, and comprehensive service: a pledge to substantially enhance usability, mitigate healthcare expenditures, and improve patient outcomes.
Establishing open channels of communication emerged as a cornerstone of its cultural blueprint. Town hall meetings, feedback sessions, and online forums became conduits for transparent dialogue, promoting collaboration and encouraging employees to contribute to strategic initiatives. Embracing employee empowerment and recognition, MedCo delegated decision-making authority and celebrated achievements, engendering a culture where every individual felt valued and motivated to take ownership of their contributions. In tandem with strengthening their employees, the company prioritised continuous learning and development, offering comprehensive training programmes, workshops, and mentorship opportunities. This bolstered employee satisfaction and retention and ensured the corporation's continued innovation in a fast-moving sector.
The tangible outcomes of MedCo's corporate culture are manifested in elevated levels of employee engagement, heightened productivity, and pioneering innovation. This culture serves as an advantage, attracting top talent, enhancing the company's reputation, and driving technological advancements. This case study is a testament to the transformative potential of corporate culture: a narrative from which traditional MedTechs can glean valuable insights to help in their strategic evolution.

Corporate culture is pivotal for MedTech companies, fuelling innovation, engaging employees, and establishing a competitive edge. A cohesive culture, rooted in shared values and collaboration, unleashes companies' full potential for sustained quality growth. Prioritising initiatives like open communication, employee empowerment, and ongoing learning enables firms to tackle challenges, adapt to market shifts, and deliver cutting-edge solutions that improve patient outcomes. A robust corporate culture not only attracts top talent and bolsters reputation but also positions companies as industry leaders. As MedTechs innovate and personalise healthcare, developing and nurturing a vibrant corporate culture remains essential to their mission of transforming healthcare delivery. By embracing corporate culture's power, enterprises can chart a path to sustained success, innovation, and excellence in creating a healthier future.
view in full page