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Medical Device Technology Forecast 1998

Future Trends in Medical Device Technology:
Results of an Expert Survey

William A. Herman, Donald E. Marlowe, and Harvey Rudolph

Center for Devices and Radiological Health
12725 Twinbrook Parkway
Rockville, MD 20852

April 8, 1998


During the Fall of 1997, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) surveyed a group of experts to identify major trends anticipated in medical device technologies over the next ten years. This study was performed in support of CDRH's scientific preparation for upcoming generations of products. The fifteen participants included physicians, engineers, healthcare policymakers and payers, manufacturers, futurists and technology analysts. Participants assessed specific trends and identified several broad clinical, scientific, social, and economic trend-drivers likely to be important for the development of new products. The process included numerically-scored questionnaires, in-depth individual interviews, and a group workshop. Participants assessed 21 generic technologies and identified 36 specific examples of product-types expected to undergo significant development. Among the trends identified were developments related to (1) computer-related technologies, (2) molecular medicine, (3) home- and self-care, (4) minimally invasive procedures, (5) device/drug hybrid products, and (6) organ replacement/assist devices employing both hardware and tissue-engineered components.

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