Emerging Markets Like India: The Next Frontier for Surgical Innovation (Cambridge Consultants)

According to a new report from product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants, emerging markets will be the catalyst that ignites a new wave of surgical innovation, but the industry will need to rethink how it develops products for these markets – with collaboration and understanding of unmet needs crucial to success.

The report noted that the Indian surgical device market is valued at $2.75 billion while China’s market is significantly larger at $8 billion. Moreover, both are growing at 15% a year with more than three-quarters of high-value surgical devices imported.

However, different commercial, clinical, user and technical challenges will drive ‘need-based’ innovation and result in new products and solutions that are tailored for emerging markets.

Cambridge Consultants sent a team of product development and human factors engineers to spend two weeks in Indian hospitals to interview surgeons, nurses and hospital executives plus observe a variety of surgical procedures.

Some of the reports more interesting findings about the Indian health care sector and hence, surgical device market include the following:

  • Only 25% of India’s population has health insurance so most Indian patients pay for their own healthcare, including surgery, out of pocket.
  • Indian hospitals are generally overcrowded and understaffed, although rapid expansion is on the horizon to support a growing population.
  • A shortage of experienced surgeons, nurses and equipment technicians highlights the need for surgical products that enable high throughput, operational efficiency and use by staff with a wide range of experience.
  • Surgeons in India are rarely employed by a single hospital. Instead, they are consultants at multiple hospitals, bringing in their own patients with hospitals providing the infrastructure and patient services.
  • Surgeons in India usually rely on the surgical equipment available at various hospitals – and may need to switch between multiple types of equipment on a day-to-day basis.
  • There are no standard training protocols for using new surgical equipment equipment as surgeons spend their own time and money on whatever training they determine to be an appropriate investment to maintain or advance their surgery skills.
  • For nurses and technicians, almost all training is on-the-job, especially when it comes to the use of specific equipment and surgical instruments.
  • Language barriers can complicate matters as surgeons in India communicate primarily in English and most equipment manuals are in English, but the ability of nurses, technicians and hospital support staff to read or understand English is often limited.

To read the whole report, Emerging markets: the next frontier for surgical innovation, and accompanied press release, A new wave of innovation, go to the website of Cambridge Consultants.

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