The growing pervasiveness of digital tools within medical devices is creating new opportunities to improve care delivery and the benefits are becoming more well-documented. How industry stakeholders should categorize products that leverage this symbiosis, and the implications of categorization, remains a question. By Joe Ives, Susan Posner, and Jeff Abraham, Health Advances.
The digital transformation of healthcare is well underway and as the use of software-enabled technologies continues to accelerate, there is an ever-increasing list of ways to classify the solutions being introduced. Some of the more common terms used to refer to the intersection of medical device innovation and IT connectivity are medtech and digital health. But where does traditional medtech end, and digital health begin? Is there really a line we can draw? The question evokes memories of the early (and classic) Reese’s candy commercial—“You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!” “No, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” Both multidisciplinary technology categories involve products that rely on combinations of hardware and software for use in reducing clinical inefficiencies, personalizing patient care, expanding physician reach, and reducing costs. While stakeholders across healthcare recognize the importance of these broader product categories, and continue to invest accordingly, there is very little agreement about how to define these two terms.