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The future of Medical Devices

Posted on: 17 May

Medical Devices is currently undergoing a sea change. With a growing market that’s estimated to reach $12.1 billion by 2021- almost doubling in value since 2016- the industry is attracting the best new talent from around the Pharmaceuticals industry, who are transforming the sector. Technology is opening up new avenues of business, and changing everything from the way in which patients interact with their GPs to the Medical Devices themselves: the sector is constantly innovating, allowing professionals to offer an ever-higher standard of healthcare to the millions of people around the world who are dependent on it.

Technology is allowing us to care for people better than ever before- so what does this mean for the future of Medical Devices? 

We take a look at the biggest trends set to shape the sector in coming years.

The rise of Wearables

Wearables have been a common fixture in the consumer’s market over the past five years, with devices like the FitBit and the Apple Watch offering a variety of services, from monitoring a patient’s heart rate to being able to send text messages. And it’s set to grow: already worth over $13bn, it’s undergoing an average growth rate which is double that of the medical market.

Now many tech companies are making the most of this surge in growth, waking up to the potential of wearables in the Medical Devices market. As such, many are making the move to diversify: Apple recently announced its third patent for using an Apple Watch to track blood pressure, whilst Jawbone has decided to ditch consumer wearables entirely to focus on Medical Devices, with products that include a smart bracelet that warns you if you’re about to have a heart attack.

De-centralised medical care

The entrance of tech giants onto the Medical Devices scene is set to cause a shake-up in the industry, too: alongside changing the face of healthcare technology, it will also likely promote better health amongst the customers that these devices are benefitting. The surge in Wearable Devices, and in technology as a whole, means that people are increasingly taking charge of their own health. 

Indeed, the rise of at-home products and diagnostics is having a huge impact on the way people monitor their health. With smartphones and apps capable monitoring personal data, and even serving as a support system, like Novartis’ Heart Partner app, aimed at helping people recover from a heart attack, the future of Medical Devices is in smart technology, and in apps and small devices that let people monitor themselves or communicate instantly with their GP from the comfort of their homes. In turn, this is creating a trend towards a de-centralised system of providing Medical care that will only get stronger over the coming years.


With advancements in technology come a massive range of new possibilities for Medical Devices professionals to exploit. Many companies are now harnessing the potential of AI in the lab, for instance, to monitor patients using sensors and automating treatment via a mobile app. This is being taken even further by Medtronic, which has developed a mobile personal assistant, Sugar.IQ, to assist people with diabetes. By calculating the impact on their glucose levels should they eat or exercise, monitoring their exercise, or even track their daily food intake, these smart assistants are helping sufferers improve their day-to-day routines in favour of a healthy, balanced and lower-risk lifestyle, with huge potential for the industry as a whole.

Big data

These advances in technology, smart devices and apps have created a slew of patient data which has, in turn, fuelled the creation of improved drugs, devices and apps. Thanks to the Internet of Things, scientists now have access to huge amounts of information on certain diseases, patient habits and more, which is termed ‘big data’. In turn, this increased monitoring of patients is offering scientists unparalleled insights into areas and conditions like epilepsy, which is already paying off: researchers are currently in the process of developing a medical device which uses deep learning to analyse long-term neural data, which can then be used to accurately predict seizures in patients and better inform them about how the condition might affect them. 

Naturally, this is a groundbreaking step, and with the rise of big data in the Medical Devices sector, the possibilities are limitless: from helping imaging devices learn how to recognise abnormal scans, to analyse a patient’s blood chemistry and detect if anything is out of the ordinary, big data will revolutionise the industry. 

What’s on the horizon for Medical Devices? 

The Medical Devices industry is still in flux. Many companies are investing in virtual reality and drones to expand their client offering, whilst 3-D printing is tipped to take off in coming years. Offering customers the chance to personalise their device to one that better suits their needs, it has massive potential, especially when it comes to biomaterials, prosthetics and surgical planning; on the other end of the spectrum, doctors are delving into nanotherapeutics, which aims to treat disease on a molecular level using nanobots, for instance to break up stroke-causing blood clots. 

One thing is for sure: it’s an exciting time to be involved in Medical Devices.

At IQVIA, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of innovation in Medical Devices, connecting the brightest minds to the best jobs that will go onto impact the market.

Browse our jobs here, or find out more about the medical industry in our industry insights here.