BioMed Device Show in Boston Well Attended

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As we mentioned in our last blog, Acorn exhibited at the BioMed Device Conference in Boston May 3–4 at the Boston Convention Center. With great weather and a packed agenda, the conference was well attended, drawing an estimated 4,000+ attendees.


Acorn’s new booth highlighted some of the medical and laboratory instrument products that we have developed over the years for our clients, along with examples outside of those markets. Some of the more interesting examples were:


  • The first handheld/pocket ultrasound device for Acuson (P10), providing physicians and clinical personnel with earlier, faster, and more accurate clinical assessment at the point of care. The system revolutionizes existing assessment and examination protocols via the extension of the physical exam in cardiology, emergency medicine care, and obstetrics. 
  • A simple, easy-to-use, lab-accurate system to obtain a complete lipid profile (Cholestek LDX ) and Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) risk assessment in just five minutes. This desktop unit and Acorn-designed consumables provide readily accessible results, setting the standard in point-of-care testing for lipids.
  • A portable, patient-adjustable system for injury treatment and post-operative recovery that utilizes cold therapy.
  • A small, handheld device connected (wirelessly) to a smartphone/application that allows women to identify, locate, and characterize potential breast abnormalities (BreasTel). If an abnormality is detected, the software alerts the user to see her doctor for further examination.


Interestingly, several of these projects fit with one of the primary themes of the conference—highlighting technologies and products that can reduce the cost of patient care by providing more patient-directed diagnoses and therapies, along with a shifting focus from treatment to prevention. During the keynote session on Thursday, Frost & Sullivan discussed the current state of the industry along with future trends. Some of the highlights from their talk included:


  • The medical device business model will be shifting from a product model (where product innovation is the key to growth), to a services/product model (where products are combined with analytics and provided to patients/physicians and hospitals as a service), and ultimately to an intelligence model (where the analytics/products are combined with intelligence to provide automated solutions to patients) over the next decade. This shift means the more successful product companies will be expanding their offerings to move up the food chain.
  • The business model for healthcare will monetize results vs. goods and services—in other words, pay for success/value vs. service itself. This model will encourage the development of devices, therapies, and treatments that can prevent illnesses entirely or reduce their occurrence/severity.
  • Digital transformation of medical technology is (and will continue to) transform care from reactive to proactive. This trend means moving from simple monitoring of patients to things such as smart implants that adapt to specific patient conditions/responses and that offer early diagnosis/prediction to prevent illness.


One example of how these trends are evolving today was a talk by Edward Damiano, CEO of Beta Bionics. Beta Bionics is working on a bionic pancreas for people with Type 1 diabetes (T1D). This device provides autonomous glycemic control, eliminating the need for manual measurement and adjustment of insulin. Studies have shown that the medical costs of T1D far outweigh the costs of Type 2 diabetes, and are estimated at more than $100B annually in the U.S. alone. By far, the highest cost of medical expenditures for T1D is hospital inpatient care (representing 43 percent of the total medical costs). Indirect costs, such as increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, disability, and so on are also significant. In addition, many patients do not treat the disease properly. A bionic pancreas would operate very similarly to a person’s own pancreas, requiring no daily tests or adjustments to insulin pumps, thereby reducing the patient burden. This device could reduce the annual direct and indirect costs for T1D significantly.


Acorn is excited to be part of this revolution in healthcare, and we look forward to working with our clients to make their inventions a manufacturable reality.