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Here comes 2024: What is on the horizon?

We can infer where the medical device market will go in 2024 from the previous year's news. At least partially. The year 2023 would certainly not have been the same if not for the massive emergence of generative artificial intelligence. Yes, it's another leap from the Internet to mobile and now to ChatGPT. The field of AI is the domain of start-ups. Some AI is cross-industry, such as voice synthesis, search, HR services, image generation or "ordinary" programming. Others are already sector-specific, dealing with things like education delivery, legal services, media and entertainment, design, and yes - of course - healthcare.

AI Porta Medica

Even in this area, developers can "go directly to the patient" with solutions for specific diagnoses and specific diagnostic or therapeutic tasks. Some solutions are already known, even from the Czech environment. One example for all is "Hippocratic AI (Do Not Harm)". A product built on the idea that general LLM (Large Language Models), capable of understanding, creating new content and proposing solutions to a problem, is not safe enough when it comes to use in healthcare. Thus, it offers their pre-training on validated healthcare content. Indeed, the opportunities for using AI in healthcare are many.

But AI won't dress a wound, fix a patient in bed, or dilate a blood vessel. There will still be a need for "physical" medical devices. Even if under pressure from EU regulation, investors are leaving the field, this market will continue to exist. And the aging of the European population, along with more or less distant war conflicts, may make it bigger (unfortunately). It is true that whoever can withstand MDR, IVDR and energy prices will win.

And what to focus on in this "classic" area in 2024? Certainly we will need to push the efficiency saw and think about the use of AI in manufacturing, in design, in testing, or in the efficient collection of PMS data. I would also recommend taking inspiration from AI when it comes to innovation: most AI solutions currently focus on global problems related to the shortage of health professionals, on eliminating routine work, on supporting quality decision-making, and on problems related to lower-skilled and language problems of foreign health professionals. These may be development areas for 2024 and for "traditional" health resources.

Author: Aleš Martinovský

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