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Growing patient empowerment has produced a profound shift in the way that the medical device industry conducts business. Used to interacting almost exclusively with medical professionals, the medical sector, unlike the pharmaceutical industry, has been able to maintain an arm's-length relationship with patients. That is changing, as individuals take on a more assertive role in their healthcare decisions and educate themselves about the medical treatments that are available to them, and the devices that facilitate them.

Norbert Sparrow

June 20, 2014

3 Min Read
Survey reveals what patients think about medical device manufacturers

Growing patient empowerment has produced a profound shift in the way that the medical device industry conducts business. Used to interacting almost exclusively with medical professionals, the medical sector, unlike the pharmaceutical industry, has been able to maintain an arm's-length relationship with patients. That is changing, as individuals take on a more assertive role in their healthcare decisions and educate themselves about the medical treatments that are available to them, and the devices that facilitate them. Now, a survey conducted among more than 400 patient groups across 54 countries (the vast majority of which are European) by London-based PatientView sheds some light on industry's reputation from the patient perspective. It is fairly revealing.

Now in its third year, the survey ranks the individual performance of 28 leading medical device companies, including the likes of Abbott Laboratories, Coloplast, GE Healthcare, and Medtronic, as well as the industry as a whole.
Six key indicators are measured to determine the rankings of medtech companies:

  • Is the company patient-centered?

  • Does it provide high-quality patient information?

  • Does it have a good patient safety record?

  • Are its products useful?

  • Does it exercise transparency with external stakeholders?

  • Does it act with integrity?

Coloplast, which makes products for the ostomy, urology, and wound-care sectors, came in first overall, followed by ConvaTec, which operates in similar markets, and St. Jude Medical, specialized in cardiovascular and neurological devices. See the end of this article for the full top 10 list.

Some familiar names did not break the top 10, but have been dubbed rising stars, as their ranking has improved considerably since the last PatientView survey. GE Healthcare, in particular, rose by 12 points since the 2012-2013 survey, and Smith & Nephew moved from a basement-adjacent 22 to the 11th position.

Overall, the medical device industry is well regarded by the patients it serves, ranking "as the most respected of all healthcare sectors, outstripping even retail pharmacy, which came first last year," noted PatientView CEO Alexandra Wyke in a blog post. "With 60% of respondents saying that the medical device industry has a good or excellent reputation in 2013-2014, [it is] ahead of retail pharmacists, private healthcare services, biotechnology companies, generic drug manufacturers, multinational pharma companies, and insurers (not-for-profit and for-profit)," she writes.

But medtech manufacturers should not pop the cork on the bubbly just yet. When patient groups were asked about the reputation of the medical device industry during the three years that the survey has been conducted, 34% said it has improved, compared with 26% who see a decline and 40% who view it as unchanged. According to Wyke, a steep drop in the reputation of retail pharmacists had as much to do with the medical device industry rising to the top as anything medtech manufacturers actively did. And when asked about the integrity of medical device companies as a whole, only 33% said it was excellent or good, compared with 42% in the 2011-2012 survey. In particular, industry fared poorly when it comes to "managing adverse news about products," with only 28% of patient groups giving it an excellent or good rating in that category.

The full report with detailed results for each of the 28 medical device companies is available for purchase. For more information, go to the PatientView website.


The top 10 medical device companies based on the 2013-2014 PatientView survey:
1 Coloplast A/S                 
2 ConvaTec                      
3 St Jude Medical              
4 Novo Nordisk A/S           
5 Roche Diagnostics         
6 Sanofi                            
7 Abbott Laboratories, Fresenius Medical Care, and Medtronic tied
10 Philips Healthcare

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.

www.linkedin.com/in/norbertsparrow

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