Today, using digital technologies to support human connection is more important than ever. 

One of my clients recently shared how challenging it has been for her field service reps to maintain strong relationships with their hospital clients. The company’s underlying technology infrastructure couldn’t capture or support these critical interactions. My client knew she needed to make a change, but she wasn’t sure where to start. Could the cloud help? she asked. In short, yes. Let me explain. 

If MedTech companies want to take advantage of everything the cloud has to offer, including capturing these sorts of interactions, they need to look at the bigger picture. Their current tactical approach in concert with their enterprise IT efforts is a good start. But with a more holistic view, they could supercharge innovation and growth.

Over the last several years we’ve seen MedTech companies like Medtronic, Fresenius, Siemens Healthineers and Stryker starting to use the cloud:

To modernize their IT infrastructure

For instance, companies have focused on making the core enterprise more efficient. To do this, they’ve adopted robotic process automation, migrated workloads and moved away from on-premise data centers.

To support products in the marketplace

Examples include the development of cloud-based platforms that enable solutions such as robotic surgeries, preventing maintenance of in field equipment, as well as IoT devices and consumer wearables like personal fitness trackers and connected blood glucose measurement monitors.

However, I believe many MedTech companies don’t yet recognize that the cloud also presents an opportunity to ignite revenue growth. Imagine what you could achieve if you had access to unlimited data and computing power, boundaryless connectivity, edge computing and auto scaling of capacity. Or artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and cognitive services embedded within critical functions. All of these are possible with the cloud.

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I recommend MedTech companies expand their view of what’s possible with the cloud in four areas:

1. Adopt a cloud-first approach

Move on from modernizing the IT infrastructure to look at every aspect of the business through a cloud lens. From salesforce systems to compensation, service technologies, manufacturing and more, the cloud can help companies deliver capabilities at speed. And it can help them scale resources up and down as needed based on market conditions or unexpected events like the pandemic. It’s like my colleague Thomas Norton says in his blog 5 reasons why MedTech data center ops belong in the cloud, the cloud lets companies avoid the technical debt and complexity required to support changes in demand. It’s a pay-as-you-go system that helps the business respond to change quickly and with agility.

2. Transform how the work is done

The cloud can also let companies change how work is done—supporting what we call “intelligent operations.” The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of this. Many people suddenly needed to work from home and collaborate across functions and with ecosystem partners. With new levels of business process automation and cloud-based enterprise applications, MedTech companies can leverage a human plus machine approach across the entire enterprise. They can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide insights and free up human workers for more complex and interesting tasks.

3. Generate new experiences

Often when we talk about experiences, we think solely about experiences for consumers, healthcare providers and surgeons. But the cloud can also benefit how we engage with manufacturing, distribution and development partners. Another area the pandemic shone light on is the need for visibility into the supply chain. That level of visibility already existed in pharma. Now we can see how vital it is for critical medical supplies like personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators as well. The cloud lets ecosystem partners work beyond enterprise boundaries and integrate with a broadening array of stakeholders, opening doors for MedTech companies looking for new opportunities.

4. Innovate with new products and services

The cloud’s also an enabling force for innovative new products and services. Medical technology has gone through a transition. It used to be composed primarily of hardware and electronics. Now it also includes digital components, software and networked capabilities. Partly this is being driven by the fact that where MedTech is used is changing. It’s shifting outside of traditional healthcare provider settings and hospitals to smaller centers and increasingly, at-home care.

In orthopedics, for instance, ambulatory surgical centers are bringing a more holistic model to patient care that requires new logistics and supply partnerships. These centers need more than a set of instruments or surgical robots. They need solutions that can help with everything from upfront surgical planning to post-op recovery, and a way to manage all the software and equipment needed at each step. Using the cloud for this is an obvious choice.

The way I see it, the cloud is the primary enabler of next generation business models in medical technology. Those MedTech companies that adopt a cloud-first approach will be in the strongest position to secure exciting new partnership opportunities. And accelerate innovation and growth.

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Related capabilities

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Cloud Computing

Understanding what cloud is and what it can do for you.  

Medical Technology 

Working with Medical Technology companies to develop solutions across the patient’s entire healthcare journey.

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Healthcare Consulting

From the back office to the doctor’s office, we help clients deliver more effective, efficient and affordable healthcare with Insight Driven Health. 

Life Sciences Technology 

Addressing industry challenges with innovative, industry-leading technology solutions.

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Thomas E. Kawalec

Managing Director

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