After attending two recent medtech industry meetings, I was struck by the scale of the two opposing forces that the sector is currently experiencing. Most significantly and positively, medtech is riding a technological revolution that could dramatically improve patient outcomes. In front are 3D printing, robotics and digital healh: all are moving rapidly along the innovation curve and showing great promise.

Impacting this apparent good news are headwinds that could slow these developments including:

  • Increased regulation and enhanced scrutiny, the need for greater transparency and more audits
  • The constant pressure to innovate, both within the sector and in competition with other health sectors
  • Attrition caused by extremely high levels of competitiveness within medtech but also within the tech sector where there is a pool of talent to draw from
  • The challenge of talent retention in the face of so much opportunity and where money is frequently not the main issue

Medtech needs to think creatively about hiring talent

At both conferences, industry leaders considered challenges and opportunities from the sector in relation to talent acquisition and retention. Interim solutions featured highly in their thinking as a way of:

  • Supporting emerging companies with no fixed cost and with transparency for investors
  • Transferring and sharing knowledge with employees, a faster start for individuals and a means of keeping up the pace of growth
  • Accessing knowledge from other industries (auto & energy were mentioned)
  • Bringing in the skills from interims looking for challenge – such talent is rare!

As an example, specific roles where Executive Interims can add value included:

Commercial officers Prof. Dr. Thomas Armin Schildhauer, Chair of the Exec Committee Forum, MedTech Pharma e.V., Nuremberg presented an opening plenary session focused on how Medtech companies need to be in line not just with medical users’ clinical expectations but also how their innovation can be implemented within the clinical pathways – in order to be successful they need to “consider the demand for the product and think about the finance to get product admitted for clinical trial”.

Regulatory executives were also cited as the sector is going though rapid regulatory overhaul and there is a pressing need for access to the skills needed.  An example, with the ever increasing use of Apps, devices and access points will still need to adhere to ISO13485 standards.  Few senior leaders in regulatory have experience in this space and many are interims spreading their knowledge and building legacy understanding.

As technology develops at such a pace (think AI for diagnostic imaging reports for example), a new generation of executives, possibly from other industries, is required to enable rapid adoption. Executive interims have the expertise to provide this guidance, lay foundations and get projects started, harnessing knowledge from across sectors to initiate the solution.

Emma Whittle, Senior Consultant |

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