One of the cornerstones of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) initiative enunciated by the World Health Organization is access to health technologies.

Medical devices are one subset of health technologies that have the potential to save lives or enhance the quality of life.

Research shows that many people in emerging economies suffer because of lack of access to affordable health technologies that facilitate preventive health screening to ensure well-being and continued productivity of individuals.

There is an increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases; estimated to contribute approximately 52% of in-patient hospital revenues by 2017 as against 13.8% in 2008, which highlights the need for a more rigorous and effective preventive health screening methodologies to reduce the disease burden. This trend presents significant opportunity for the MedTech organizations to develop products and solutions that treat coronary heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and other chronic non-communicable diseases.

It is imperative that innovative, affordable and good quality medical technologies are used by the base of the pyramid, that is, the majority of population, to have access to better and most appropriate technologies to match their health needs; this will enable disease prevention, early diagnostics, and effective treatment.

India lags behind other developed and emerging economies in healthcare infrastructure with only 9 beds per 10,000 people as per the WHO– World Health Statistics 2012; as against the Global Average of 30 beds, UK having 33, and China leading with 42 beds per 10,000 people.

Large investments are required (approximately about INR 10.0 trillion) by FY2017 would be needed by hospitals to approach the global bed density benchmarks to meet the growing demand for healthcare services.

Hospitals are facing increased pressure to contain costs and optimize patient outcomes. These pressures have led hospitals to create new decision-making processes to control costs. Hospital Value Analysis Committees (VACs), also known as Technology Assessment Committees are a central feature of the contemporary decision-making processes. These committees and processes have a profound influence on the technologies that will be used within their hospital and hence their commercial success.

For a hospital-based medical device to be successful, physicians must want to use the device, payers must provide coverage and reimbursement, and hospitals must purchase and make the device available. In the past, physician preference primarily drove device usage. To remain competitive, medical devices companies must understand the current and anticipated hospital value analysis environment and develop new processes to facilitate commercial success.

The future of medical device products will be more about patient outcomes and how they contribute to wellness and preventative care.

National Design and Research Forum, the R&D Wing of The Institution of Engineers (India) will build a collaborative platform comprising of Academia, Industry, and Research Organizations to facilitate translational research, promote the training and career development of translational researchers, and develop innovative methods and technologies to strengthen translational research.

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