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Health Crisis Leads to Surge in Medical Technology Innovation

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A combination of medical applications for digital internet-of-things technologies coming into their own, and an explosion of interest in the healthcare sector spurred on by the global health crisis is sending the healthcare technology space into a period of incredible innovation. Healthcare technology companies like Mednow Inc., Hologic, Inc, Microsoft Corporation, Medtronic plc, and Amwell are developing new systems and devices to improve the accessibility of health services, monitor at-risk patients, more easily and accurately diagnose patients, and much more.

Mednow Expands Suite of Healthcare Technologies Throughout Canada

Few segments of the healthcare technology space have more momentum right now than telehealth. One of the dominant North American telehealth companies is Mednow Inc. , a Canadian company with a holistic suite of healthcare technologies, including sophisticated e-pharmacy and telehealth services currently expanding throughout the Canadian market.

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Mednow’s suite of healthcare technologies includes both hardware as well as software. Among the company’s offerings is Karie, an at-home device that automatically organizes and dispenses medications as needed based on the user patient’s schedule. The device uses specialized medication pouches that are delivered by Mednow’s e-pharmacy. Karie’s user-friendly interface teaches patients and family members how to use the system and makes the process of managing prescriptions safe and easy.

On March 19, 2020Mednow announced a significant step forward in its rapid national expansion and development plans: the company has submitted an application for a pharmacy license for a Winnipeg-based fulfillment center. Subject to receiving approval for the application, Mednow is aiming to be operational in Manitoba by this year’s third quarter. The announcement reflects an important milestone in the company’s plans to be a nation-wide service, and was continued upon by its recent announcement that it had also filed an application for a pharmacy license with the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists. The company has secured a lease for a fulfillment center in Nova Scotia, which is also expected to become operational by Q3 2021.

“We are rapidly advancing our national expansion strategy. Through our fulfillment centers in Ontario and British Columbia, we can service those two entire provinces and with same-day delivery in the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto areas,” Mednow CEO Karim Nassar said in the company’s release. “National coverage is imperative to our long-term success and our goal of becoming a household name in Canadian healthcare. Furthermore, a national presence will open the business-to-business market whereby Mednow will be able to partner with employers and employee benefits providers to provide holistic healthcare solutions.” At the same time Mednow is setting up the Manitoba fulfillment center, the company will also be working on deploying centers in two additional provinces.

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A Surge in Healthcare Tech Development

On April 14Microsoft Corporation announced that it had partnered with French multinational insurance company AXA to build a new digital healthcare platform that will utilize Microsoft’s cloud-based computing and artificial intelligence expertise along with AXA’s experience in the healthcare space. The two companies say that the platform will include a range of healthcare tools including a self-assessment and prevention tool, a medical concierge, a teleconsultation interface, a digital document vault, medication delivery, and an extensive global network of healthcare professionals.

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Medical technology company Medtronic plc announced on April 27 that the company has received Breakthrough Device Designation status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an experimental catheter device that uses a microwave generator and a digital lung navigation platform to provide localized, minimally invasive treatment of malignant lesions in the lung. Breakthrough Device Designation allows for priority review of medical devices that could have a significant impact on serious treatment needs. The technology, called the Emprint ablation catheter kit, could potentially allow for less invasive treatment and management of malignant lung lesions without the need for surgery or radiotherapy.

Hologic, Inc has been developing molecular diagnostics technology in response to the global health crisis in partnership with Thermo Fisher. The two companies’ CEOs said during recent investor calls that vaccine rollouts could impact demand for the product, but that the market for this type of diagnostic technology will remain strong long after the health crisis.

In late April, telehealth company Amwell announced Converge, the company’s most recent virtual care platform. The platform facilities connectivity for third-party medical devices such as internet-of-things connected vital trackers. The system uses flexible and scalable open architecture to enable collaboration in a wide ecosystem of interconnected medical devices.

One positive legacy of this global health crisis might be the explosion of innovation and development in the healthcare technology sector that we have seen. Technologies developed and marketed by companies like Mednow could provide value for years to come.

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