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The MedTech Conference 2018 – Recap

Held Sept 24-26th, 2018 at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre, PA

A truly energetic few days with #MedTech leaders from around the world – engaging and networking on an international platform!

From informative talks to inspiring keynotes to a bustling exhibition floor, the 2018 MedTech Conference shined outright! The 4-day conference, powered by AdvaMed featured compelling topics ranging from cybersecurity and digital health to value-based care and data analytics. The event broke 3,000 attendees, achieving double-digit growth in attendance and partnering meetings.

Keep reading to get the inside scoop on conference highlights.

Key Takeaways from the Conference

1. A significant focus on harnessing the power of data analytics and the need for device companies to establish new ways to directly engage patients. 

The main theme that ran through the conference was on discussions around data and the need for device companies not only to be product sellers but to leverage all the data that is generated by their products to better engage patients and improve healthcare delivery, specifically with analytics and digital tools.

A great example of such adoption is Alphabet’s Verily, spinning out a new company along with ResMed, (a public company that specializes in building products that treat sleep apnea, COPD and other chronic respiratory diseases) where they are working together on software that will use machine learning to help patients with undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea manage their sleep disorders. The fact that ResMed has generated “billions of nights of data” about how people sleep via its devices for sleep apnea and other conditions, by working with Verily, which boasts many former Google engineers, puts this venture in a great position to find new insights.

Another example is Apple and it’s recently FDA cleared ECG App approval for Apple Watch 4, which went on sale on Friday, September 14th, 2018.

2. Next on the list were questions raised around how conventional device companies can compete with the big tech giants such as Apple and Google.

According to MedTech insight “The current financial snapshot of the MedTech industry is solid, but the sector risks facing a serious reckoning if it doesn’t step up investments in digital and data analytics according to EY’s annual “Pulse of the Industry” report for the MedTech space. A close look at industry dynamics shows that the MedTech space as a whole is not yet taking digital technology and data analytics seriously enough to fend off threats from big tech firms and other potential disruptors.”

Despite industry growth, and impressive trends in venture funding and other measures, overall R&D spending growth in the industry is declining, and the proportion of deals and product approvals centered on digital technologies is relatively low.

3. Deloitte’s report on patient engagement survey and three key touch points for consumer engagement strategies

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions conducted a nationally representative survey of US adults from February to March 2018 to identify trends in healthcare consumer engagement and released the results at the Medtech Conference. According to this survey, improving engagement at three key touch points in a consumer’s health care journey (1- Searching for care, 2- Accessing new channels of care, 3- Sharing personal health information) could be the key to improving patient outcomes and reducing health care costs. Those organizations that are developing tools and strategies that can help consumers become more engaged in their health through these touch points are definitely ahead of their counterparts in this competitive market.

Interesting points worthy of mentioning from this survey:

> Nearly half of the healthcare consumers that we surveyed said they are interested in at-home diagnostic tools. 

> Many consumers are willing to share their data to improve health tech devices and the number of consumers tracking their health data with wearables has more than doubled since 2013.

4. Latest updates on FDA’s Software Pre-certification Program on Digital Health

Bakul Patel, FDA’s Associate Director for Digital Health presented an overview of FDA’s Software Precertification Program (V 0.2) and provided an opportunity for attendees to get involved in this pilot program which is aimed at tackling how best to assess safety and effectiveness of this growing trend of medical devices without inhibiting patient access.  The FDA is iterating the program working model based on input the agency receives from all stakeholders through this public docket throughout the pilot’s development phase. The next iteration of the plan is likely to be released by end of the year.

It appears that FDA is emphasizing on the pre-submission process and advising digital health companies to start engaging with FDA as early as possible and create a long-term working relationship as a pre-condition for approval process with turnarounds as short at 30 days, such as in Apple’s case. It is more and more apparent that FDA is dealing with low-risk software, very different from how it traditionally deals with hardware review.

5. FDA Reveals Vision for the Transition to ISO 13485

CDRH’s plans to blend together certain provisions of 21 CFR Part 820 with ISO 13485 have been public for about a year “so it’s not new, but it’s true that we think this is the right direction to go,” said William Maisel, chief medical officer at CDRH. Read news article here.

Other events worthy of mentioning during this conference

1. 2018 AdvaMed Lifetime Achievement Award Presentation and Plenary Breakfast

2018 AdvaMed Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Vernon “Vern” Loucks who rose through the ranks at Baxter and served for nearly 20 years at its helm as Chairman and CEO.  During his tenure, Vern was known for successfully identifying and developing new markets – especially outside the US – and for attracting and mentoring great future leaders.

Day two, plenary breakfast was concluded with Prime Minister Tony Blair touching upon transforming health care. His global insights and vast political experience were highly valuable for innovation that is leading to transformative healthcare.

2. MedTech Innovator Finals

Sana Health Inc. was named the #MedTechInnovator 2018 following a live audience vote from this year’s record-breaking pool of more than 700 early-stage MedTech companies at The MedTech Conference on September 25! The medical technology startup was awarded this year’s $350,000 grand prize to support the development of their technology for severe chronic pain. Click here to read the full Press Release.

“It is a true honor to be recognized by the MedTech community in this way, particularly given the other incredible finalists in the competition. The funding from this will support us in our goal to provide an alternative to opioids for managing pain,” said Richard Hanbury, founding CEO of Sana Health.

AblaCare, a company developing a minimally invasive approach for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) related infertility, was the second-place winner of the audience vote. CroiValve, FineHeart, and Spect were runners-up. Each company received a prize of $25,000 as finalists in the MedTech Innovator Accelerator Program.

3. Building a Championship Team and Day 3 Plenary Lunch

ESPN’s Maria Taylor interviewed Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright and University of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari who revealed what business leaders can learn from their strategies for building a championship team.

Five Plenary Sessions Announced for the MedTech Conference.

Best Conference Quotes

@NovaMBB Jay Wright on clarity. CEOs have to create clarity – job #1. “We’re clear about what we are. Clear about our values. Players choose us. Then they are all in.” #Leaders #CEOs #Advamed #MedTechCon #TheReinventedLeader

 “As we look back on our championship teams, one simple thought is that the character of those teams matters. It’s about identifying talented people with character.” @VUCoachJWright shares insight into the importance of character. #MedTechCon

 “The best teams I’ve had were empowered,” @UKCoachCalipari explains the value of empowerment to drive shared business success. #MedTechCon

 “Fail fast, make mistakes and move on. You don’t have to make every shot. You just can’t miss them all!” @UKCoachCalipari discusses healthy risk-taking

On Wednesday, Sept 26th, the plenary lunch was concluded with Advamed’s President and CEO Scott Whitaker moderating an exclusive conversation with the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush

“The institution of office is more important than the occupant. A President’s job is to bring honor to the office.” George W. Bush, 43rd President of the USA

“You don’t know what you can do in life if you don’t try. If I can paint, you can paint.” – George W. Bush, 43rd President of the USA, on reinventing & growth.

Best Conference Tweets

Did we miss anything?

With world-class plenary speakers and thousands of international medical technology professionals and experts expounding on innovations, challenges, regulations and latest trends, the MedTech conference became a wonderful blend of knowledge, collaboration, and acceptance.

At the risk of missing someone, Aversan would like to extend thank you to those of you who made it to our booth in Philadelphia. A special thanks to the Trade Commissioner Service, part of Government of Canada for realizing Canada’s strengths in Life sciences and Digital Health technologies and for their continued efforts in helping Canadian companies explore global markets and driving value and innovation in the region.

How was your MedTech 2018 experience? If you’d like to add to our blog, let us know via comments below or email


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