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News Article

State-of-the-Art Medical Devices Support Value-Based Models

By Andrea Villar | Thu, 09/09/2021 - 17:02

On the road to a value-based healthcare model (VBHC), medical devices play a unique and vital role by creating track records and making patient treatments more cost-effective. However, challenges such as lack of data and slow regulatory processes lead to an incohesive healthcare ecosystem.

Medical devices are critical to the value-based model, which incentivizes healthcare providers to focus on the quality of services provided rather than quantity, said Alejandro Paolini, Managing Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean at Siemens Healthineers. “When we talk about medical devices we have to consider everything from a simple face mask or a digital thermometer to the most sophisticated equipment such as an MRI or a Da Vinci surgical system,” he said. “If there is one positive thing we can take away from this pandemic, it is that the role that medical devices play in any healthcare system has become clear.”

Medical devices, embedded in the entire healthcare cycle of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring, have the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes at lower costs. These benefits also translate into financial and operational advantages for healthcare providers, adds Paolini. “I cannot imagine a value-based healthcare system that does not consider medical devices at the heart of its value proposition.”

A value-based healthcare model implemented by a UnitedHealthcare hospital and medical devices company Medtronic benefited both companies, reports a study by Deloitte previously reported by Mexico Business. The model was for the implementation of an insulin pump therapy and while it helped Medtronic gain new users, it brought UnitedHealthcare cost savings between 20-30 percent.

The amount of information that medical devices are capable of generating, storing and analyzing is just a glimpse of the potential that these tools have in a value-based model, says Juan Gabriel Gay, Managing Director of IT Healthcare. In addition, the cost-effectiveness of medical devices allows the ecosystem to move faster towards “quality rather than quantity.” According to Gay, it is more common today to find less expensive and more effective medical devices, noting that sensitivity, specificity and specificity positively impact the cost of care. “The less specificity you have, the lengthier and therefore more costly the patient process becomes.”

Wanting to move towards a value-based model with a noticeable lag in data collection is for Gay “like driving a Volkswagen in a Formula 1 race.” In his view, the amount of data that healthcare providers are collecting today could already have laid the groundwork for a value-based model. “Data is the fuel we need for decision making.”

For Paolini, who also chairs the Mexican Association of Innovative Medical Device Industries (AMID), the shift towards a value-based model has to go hand in hand with digitalization, “empowering healthcare professionals with new technologies” and improving the patient experience. The incorporation of state-of-the-art technology, he adds, must keep the human factor at the center of everything.

Given the outlook for medical devices in the healthcare sector, innovation priorities for medical device companies like Medtronic have shifted to meet the demands of value-based models. “Medical device outcomes need to be demonstrable to both the healthcare provider and the patient,” said Hector Orellana, Vice President for North Latin America of Medtronic. 

Including medical devices in the country's medical ecosystem is also a weapon to address current challenges in the sector, including the increasing saturation of healthcare systems, and ultimately improving the health of patients. “Collaboration between technology providers, public and private health systems is necessary to tackle this issue,” said Orellana. “No one's resources are unlimited but this is a way to achieve cost-effectiveness in the system.”

“Medical devices have always provided solutions that make life easier for healthcare professionals,” said Ana Riquelme, Executive Director of AMID.  “They improve quality of service by lowering per capita costs, enhancing the patient experience and improving coverage.”

Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst