The past 30 years have delivered some amazing biomechanical technologies and breakthroughs that have driven the evolution of important musculoskeletal solutions such as hip and knee replacements. Such devices have gone from clunky, poorly performing implant systems with wildly-variable 10-year survivorships of 50-70 percent to today’s sleek anatomic designs and high-performance materials with survivorships of consistently over 95 percent. The driving force behind this evolution has been the orthopedic device industry and their collaborations with clinicians and research institutes around the world.
While the industry has done an excellent job of leading the charge in the past, recent trends indicate an increasing preference on their part to acquire or outsource new device evolutions or innovations as opposed to developing them internally. These companies have been shifting internal focus and resources towards development of enabling technologies such as robotics, navigation, and AR/VR systems and creation of ‘digital’ solutions and platforms.
Despite the success of many of today’s biomechanical devices, there remains plenty of room for improvement in existing systems to address variables such as proprioception, implant fixation and wear, and operational efficiencies, or new designs for as-yet unsolved orthopedic conditions. As such, industry’s shift of focus amplifies the opportunity for new sources of device innovation.
Consider for a moment that a healthcare provider, with the right infrastructure, is particularly well suited to take on this role.