A doctor’s perspective: how important is a medical device?

Team Discussion

Multiple authors

As part of our report into healthcare in the year 2030, we asked whether doctors viewed the medical devices that they prescribed to patients as important. For all doctors surveyed, the drug delivery device was important.

Our survey involved 2000 patients and 200 doctors in the UK and US. We asked them about their trust in healthcare, how confident patients were when it came to medical devices, the level of involvement they wanted in their healthcare, and the concerns they had over the medication they were prescribed.

Excerpt: The role of medical devices

As medical device designers, we wanted to ask doctors how they viewed the importance of the medical devices that they prescribed to patients.

For pulmonologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists and those specialising in general internal medicine, the device is particularly important during prescription.

Many pulmonologists, endocrinologists, oncologists and cardiologists also said that the delivery device is a key factor when making a decision for a patient.

how important is a medical device?

The delivery device is the ‘drug-to-patient’ interface. In sectors with significant competition between medicines, the drug delivery device can be a differentiator if it offers patients convenience and ease of use. For doctors, it is important in the prescribing decision and its importance increases with certain conditions.

As explained earlier in the report, there is a drive to see patients treat themselves more. Unless it is an oral tablet, this will involve using a physical medical device (such as an injector or inhaler); such devices require a lot of training and support but are seen as important to the doctors who are prescribing medicines with new drug delivery devices.

As pharmaceutical companies face increasing levels of competition from ‘generic’ pharmaceutical companies, the device is emerging as a key battleground where there is an opportunity to offer prescribing doctors a medical device that helps their patients to help themselves.

Key findings

  • The delivery device is important to doctors when prescribing new medication across all specialisms surveyed.
  • Nearly 40% of oncologists do not feel that the device is important while nearly 25% said that the device was a key factor.
  • Over 80% of pulmonologists and endocrinologists feel that the device is important or is a key factor.

What will medical devices be like in 2030?

“What excites me about the next 15 years are the opportunities offered by readily available technology developed for the mobile communications industry. Ten years ago adding a digital dose counter to a device was considered to be high risk and monitoring compliance with devices required a lot of bespoke electronics, docking stations or a physical connection connected to a PC.”

“The barrier to achieving connected medical devices, whilst still very real, is now lower as we can piggy back on the technology that has already been developed for smartphones and tablets. I’m hoping to see a few mavericks in the industry pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within the existing regulatory framework so it will open the floodgates to others who want to embrace the benefits offered to improve interaction, monitoring and engagement with these life enhancing products.”

– Paul Greenhalgh, Director of Design patietnt-confidence-2030-report-cover-and-page-example

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