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HOW SUSTAINABLE IS MEDTECH?

While much uncertainty remains, there are two global mega-trends that will continue to affect us – mainly concerning digitalization and sustainability. Before the pandemic, we saw a strong trend towards sustainability and especially environmental factors. Since then, the fight for human survival and business over the past year has shifted focus. Yet sustainability is here to stay, and critical in order to save our planet.


The pandemic has already given digitalization an extra boost, and to quote Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” Others claim that digitalization has now taken a 10-year leap forward. However, the MedTech industry has only begun to scratch the surface of their digitalization potential, and even less so for sustainability.

COVID-19 has accelerated new ways of working in the life sciences industry that have been talked about for years. In fact, healthcare is now being pushed hard to become even more efficient in keeping up with drastic changes. Even now, after some suspended clinical trials have resumed, more than half of the interactions between HCP’s and patients are done virtually, compared with 8 percent pre-crisis.


As healthcare increasingly allows for digital encounters, resources in healthcare are freed up and, by avoiding travel, patients save valuable time and avoid unnecessary social contact. The latter has clear value for many patient groups, not only related to Covid-19, but also for all patients at high-risk of infection. Additionally, new connected devices will make it easier to follow-up on patients, which will speed up the introduction of outcome-based reimbursement models.


But many MedTech devices contain single use plastics or have some sort of sustainability challenge. Naturally, the immediate focus should be on meeting the impending need. At the same time, many companies are working on alternatives to plastics, such as renewable fiber-based materials. These alternative materials could then offer new and exciting options to replace single-use plastics for medical purposes.


At Opticom, we help many MedTech companies globally, but we also have one foot in the forest industry – a crucial industry which is now providing fiber-based alternatives to plastic. We are not material experts, but we know what consumers, patients and legislators around the world want. And we see these challenges, with all the wonderful opportunities they offer, not least for the MedTech industry and we’ll take an active role in this process of change. Because we help create value for companies around the world by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication.