There are many people who believe that in the near future medical devices will help patients do everything from self diagnose their health to help them manage their health and while that is certainly possible I believe we still in the very early stages of home diagnosis and treatment via a medical device you can purchase online or in a store.
Medical devices are never going to replace a physician nor should they. For medical devices to be effective they have to both provide a great user experience and be very easy to use. What we are learning with mobile health apps is that if there is any steep learning curve or the apps are too intrusive people are going to delete them.
But soon there maybe a time when someone comes home from work and has a device take a sample of their blood and their blood pressure and then records the results via wi-fi for transmission to their doctor. Again the primary issue is the data itself. Some physicians don’t want patients analyzing healthcare data without their input which is the right approach. What is right for one patient may not be right for another one.
The other issue is just what role the FDA is going to play on the approval of such devices. Should they play a more important role and how do we ensure that patients are using these devices the way they are supposed to be used ? We also have to be wary of litigation as well. If a device, for example, displays false glucose readings and a patient has an emergency should the manufacturer be held liable and how do we know that the patient was using the device correctly ?
There are some pharma companies that are hiring medical device executives to build and launch medical devices but I would argue that is could be case if the blind leading the blind. Pharma moves at different pace than med device makers and there are wide differences in marketing and support.
Right now medical devices are in the same stage a PC’s were when we had a DOS prompt. Eventually they will catch up but can they do it the right way or the most profitable way ?