Blog Tag: Emerging Markets

Shift Labs Continues Trend Toward Consumer Wireless Healthcare Devices

The medical device market is expanding into more private healthcare products in hopes of bringing healthcare directly to the user.  For example, the increase in popularity of wearable diagnostic devices, such as FitBit, and Apple’s recently released ResearchKit, turning iPhones into medical devices, illustrate that users are ready to look after their own health.

Following this trend, Medical device startup Shift Labs is launching this Spring with a lofty goal: to be “the Nest of medical devices.”  Founded by Human Centered Design & Engineering Professor Beth Kolko along with Koji Intlekofer, Shift Labs is looking to provide products to the rapidly expanding market of home healthcare programs, outpatient clinics, and emerging international locales.

According to founder Koji Intlekofer:

The places where healthcare is growing fastest is outside of traditional hospital settings.

Shift Labs aims to pioneer a new “middle class” of medical device offerings, and provide products outside the hospital setting.  According to founder Beth Kolko,

There is no reason why we can’t make products for nurses and medical practitioners that they enjoy using.  But no one is building products for the people who are going to be providing the care.

 

According to its website, Shift Labs’s first product is the DripAssist, a simple, low-cost take on an infusion pump for monitoring IV drips, which runs on a single AA battery.  By contrast to typical infusion pumps, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, this patent-pending pump has a suggested retail price of only $225.  The DripAssist does not pump fluid in the conventional sense.  Instead, it monitors the rate of an IV drip and sounds an alarm if the pace is outside particular threshold values.

The DripAssist is currently being sold in select international markets and for veterinary usage.  Shift Labs is still in the process of securing FDA clearance to sell the DripAssist in the United States.  USA Today reports that Shift Labs’s next projects in the pipeline are an oxygen monitor, a cooling system for vaccines, and a device to pasteurize breast milk.

Shift Labs states that it received initial startup capital from Y Combinator, which provides seed funding and mentorship for early-stage startups.  Other notable companies seeded by Y Combinator include Reddit, Airbnb, Hipmunk, and Dropbox.

Medical Device Market to Reach $361 Billion

According to an article in Medical Design Technology, Kalorama Information’s 2014 report on The Global Market for Medical Devices estimated that the global market for medical devices was expected to reach $361 billion by year’s end, reflecting somewhat slower than expected growth in the industry.  Looking forward, the article projects that at an average growth rate of 3%, the global medical device market should grow to $427 billion in 2018.

According to the article, there are many competitors in the global market due to the wide variety of types of medical devices; however, only eighteen companies are responsible for most of the global revenue.  Those companies include Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare, Siemens, and Medtronic (including Covidien).

The article cites the report as noting that hospitals are the key customer of medical devices with respiratory equipment, catheters, patient monitoring, and dental equipment being the largest categories of medical devices.

The article states that the report notes that areas outside of the U.S., Europe, and Asia represent almost a fifth of the global medical device market.  Growth in the market was driven by healthcare spending in countries such as Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Chile, and Mexico.  These import-heavy markets are expected to be a focus of medical device companies in the coming years.

A 2015 Medical Device Industry Survey conducted by the Emergo Group provides additional insight on 2015 medical technology forecasting. The survey indicated that 75% of the 5,400+ survey participants are positive about prospects for the industry in 2015, and that companies expect China and the US markets to perform well in 2015 compared to others. Interestingly, the survey noted that China, Japan, Russia, and Brazil have become more difficult from a regulatory compliance perspective.