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Surgical and Medtech Experts State Reimbursement System Is Stunting Minimally Invasive Surgery Market Growth

Posted Jun 02 2010 10:13am

Cambridge Consultants released a report stating that our current reimbursement system is stifling growth for new surgical procedures, those that are minimally invasive.  With new procedures that are minimally invasive, it usually requires the hospital and/or physicians to make a capital investment with a device or devices to perform the procedures.  If reimbursement specifications for procedures is not inline, then many of the new breakthroughs and procedures today may not become available for patients.  Cambridge Consultants is a service that creates devices and provides intelligence to the medical device business.  image

Innovation and the rapid development of new medical devices is something that throws us some new left curves everyday and there’s really no way of putting a handle on it and the FDA is dealing with this every day to keep up.  Cambridge Consultants is pretty much a “think tank” for generating devices and technologies that are sold to other healthcare companies.  With adding consulting with the FDA preferred methodology, this will allow for viewing multiple treatment data and plans the process should flow more efficiently and give added value data for decision making processes with patient treatment plans.  In short they are going to help companies get their products through clinical trials and approved by the FDA sooner.   Back in September of 2009 Cambridge released a report that talks about the future of drug delivery and if you stop and think about it and read up, you can see that many drug companies are in fact changing delivery systems to inhalants and some are doing implants. 

Creating an approval system with all the bases covered is certainly becoming a challenge at the FDA, not to mention their other areas of consumer governance with food products too, it’s one busy place.  BD 

Press Release:

Cambridge, MA – June 2, 2010 – Two decades after the first successful minimally invasive surgery (MIS), today’s techniques and technologies are being held back from providing better patient care and more efficient procedures, according to a report issued today by Cambridge Consultants.  The report analyzes the barriers and opportunities for the future growth of the $15 billion global MIS market collected through input from surgical industry leaders that participated in a recent working session in Boston, MA, which featured pre-eminent representatives with far-reaching backgrounds including imaging and navigation, surgical robotics, regulatory affairs, laparoscopy and endoscopy.

As productivity growth for the hospital industry stagnates at a rate less than half of the general economy, today’s reimbursement coding system is the main culprit limiting radical growth in MIS.  The current coding system, which generally refers to the cost, payment and insurance infrastructure supporting patient care, dictates that devices and procedures in clinical trials must be quick and profitable first, with efficacy and patient care playing secondary roles.  In addition, despite the need to develop alternatives that can both lower the risk of infection and speed up a patient’s recovery time, the current system still favors the status quo rather than a more in-depth approach that might produce better outcomes.

“The existing reimbursement coding system is stifling true leapfrog innovation,” said Andrew Diston, Head of Global Medical Technology Practice, Cambridge Consultants.  “Even in today’s challenging economy, it is the long-term, sometimes higher-capital investments that will in the end bring about the improvements that can radically reduce MIS costs and improve patient outcomes in the process.  Device makers want codes that reward innovation and patient care rather than short, dispensable income.  This reimbursement issue has been hidden under the layers as an afterthought for too long.” image

The report, ‘Navigating Surgical Options: the future of minimally invasive surgery’ examines market dynamics and drivers for industry growth along with new surgical and technological developments that will advance the MIS market. Including viewpoints from GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Covidien, Stryker Instruments, Medtronic, Intuitive Surgical, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the report states that reimbursement changes along with the convergence of a more informed patient and advances in surgical technologies will ultimately create better clinical outcomes with a lower risk to the patient.

In addition, the report finds that the growing voice of the ‘informed patient’ is driving popularity away from traditional curative procedures.  Preventative procedures are in turn being driven by this new consumer demand.  As an enabler of this new health paradigm of earlier intervention and prevention, MIS can offer lower risk and lower cost procedures as many patients are now requesting their own procedures and access to information earlier in the life of a disease, when healthcare generally costs less.  The big winners in MIS will be those groups that can embrace this growing consumer market and the new sales channels that have emerged.

The report concludes that technology integration is equally important to the future of the industry.  The study cites GE Healthcare’s Vscan handheld ultrasound scanner as an example of a transformative technology.  Forever changing the way ultrasound is used in patient care, the Vscan demonstrates the value of technology transfer and the potential to shift use from the hospital to more convenient locations like the home.  Meanwhile, developing devices and simulators that better integrate imaging and instrumentation – and ultimately real-time diagnostics and therapy – can create more effective surgical procedures.  Widespread implementation of ‘smart’ surgical tools will create more efficient and cost-effective surgeries and clinical trials, improving feedback loops for patients and providers, and ultimately, the entire healthcare system.

To request a full copy of the MIS Report, please visit:

Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology critical issues for clients worldwide. For 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of over 300 engineers, designers, scientists and consultants, in offices in Cambridge (UK) and Boston (USA), Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, transport, energy, cleantech and wireless communications.

Throughout 2010, Cambridge Consultants celebrates its 50th year in business. Created by three Cambridge graduates in 1960, the company has grown into a leading technology business, renowned worldwide for its ability to solve technical problems and provide innovative, practical solutions to commercial issues. In 2009, the company was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade. For more information visit:

Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, the European leader in innovation and high technology consulting. The Group’s 17,500 consultants, operating worldwide, cover the entire range of engineering specialities, including electronics, information technology, quality and organization. Altran offers its clients ongoing support throughout the innovation cycle, from technology watch, applied basic research and management consulting to industrial systems engineering and information systems. The Group provides services to most industries, including the automotive, aeronautics, space, life sciences and telecommunications sectors. Founded in 1982, Altran operates in 20 priority countries. In 2008, it generated a turnover of €1,650 million. For more information visit:

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