What will be driving healthcare innovation in the coming years? According to Kevin Schimelfenig, Dr. Ken Riff, Kem Hawkins and Richard Russo, panelists at the 2012 CONVERGE Summit for Healthcare Innovation, this:

Innovation is needed in the process of care delivery. There are opportunities for big improvements in access, cost and quality.

Markets outside the U.S. are growing rapidly. Due to regulatory and approval burdens, the U.S. is often last to benefit from new technologies. Companies can no longer design just for the U.S.market.

Doctors used to be shielded from the economics of their diagnostic and treatment decisions. That is quickly changing. Doctors will no longer have the clout they once did in influencing device purchase. That will mean changes in sales strategies. It’s likely that only large organizations will have the bargaining power to compete. Small players won’t be able to stay in the game.

Incremental benefit is not worth investing in because there won’t be enough added value in marginal improvements. Successful innovations will need to offer significant benefit. Economic value will be the key for new product development.

Pharma companies are looking to integrate vertically within the continuum of care: upstream into diagnostics and downstream into patient care. They are looking to be able to offer complete health solutions.

“Data will be the healthcare currency of the future”. – Dr. Ken Riff, Medtronic. A plethora of health data will engender innovations in care. Data for entire populations will be able to be aggregated and studied. This will bring the risk of inferring that statistical results observed in a population as a whole can be applied on an individual level. Richard Russo, CEO of Endomedix, stressed that medicine will still be about the individual patient infront of the doctor.