Why Must Medical Device Firms Incorporate Digital Mobile Strategies?

digital-mobile-technology | Photo Courtesy of alachia http://www.flickr.com/photos/alachia/4916667666/sizes/q/

Smartphone and tablet usage is growing exponentially. As the power and capabilities of these devices increase, medical device manufacturers are coming up with new and innovative ways to take advantage of these mobile technologies.

As consumers young and old are increasingly comfortable with these devices, new opportunities are available in unprecedented ways. Mobile health devices are providing unique ways to improve healthcare and patient outcomes as well as push costs down.

The winners of the 2012 Medical Device Manufacturers of the Year awards share something in common. All three manufactured products centered on digital mobile technology.

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4 Reasons The Southeast Could Be The Nation?s Next Medtech Hub

southeast-medtech-hubMedical device companies cluster in industry hubs to foster increased collaboration and partnerships. The Southeast could soon emerge as the next major hub, an article on the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry website explains. The region has a low cost of living and offers access to research centers and universities.

I was attracted to the southern charm and hospitality of the region, the weather (although a bit hot and humid in July and August, the rest of the time is pretty nice with mild seasons), the growth opportunities, and value for your dollar. I have seen the number of biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies growing pretty rapidly in this area, particularly over the last few years.

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How Is Collaboration The Key To Growing While Reducing Costs?

 

collaboration-reduces-pharmaceutical-costs

There’s nothing that medical technology companies can do about the Affordable Care Act or Sunshine Act. They’re here to stay.

That certainty is preferable to uncertainty because it allows companies to plan, according to an article on the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry website.

At this point, the U.S. medical device industry “has a very clear idea of what the general outlines of the U.S. health care system are going to evolve toward for the next few years, writ large,” says Todd Evans of PricewaterhouseCoopers. “You have to take things for what they are and you have to respond to them intelligently and you need to begin taking real action.”

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Why Are Pharma Companies Relying On Partnerships With Biotechs?

Pharma Companies Relying More On Partnerships With Biotechs
Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Partnering

Facing a patent cliff and erosion from generic drugs, many pharmaceutical companies are relying on partnerships with biotech companies for innovation and development.

Shifting dynamics are now prompting some biotechs to seek more balanced deals than in the past, sharing rewards as well as risks, according to an article on the BioWorld Today website.

?Pharmas at the moment are cash-rich and molecule-poor,? says Nick Davies, co-author of a report on the pharmaceutical industry from global consulting firm PwC. That?s why they?re looking to biotechs as development engines.

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM Growth Reaches 3M Users!

Microsoft Dynamics CRM & ERP Momentum

General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Jujhar Singh, said in a morning session at Convergence 2013 that “Microsoft Dynamics CRM growth now has 3 million users across 39,000 customer sites in 80 countries. The CRM business has recorded double-digit growth through the past eight and a half years”.

Dynamics CRM Growth

Microsoft announced at Convergence 2013 the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM growth and adoption?numbers, with more than 3 million users and more than 39,000 customers.

Microsoft Dynamics? CRM 39,000 companies with 3 million users

Dynamics ERP Growth

Microsoft Dynamics AX continues on a strong growth path with more than 18,000 customers and an increase of more than 50 percent license growth in North America in the last Microsoft fiscal quarter. Microsoft Dynamics GP has seen 30% year over year growth. Overall some really strong growth numbers across the board for Microsoft Dynamics Line of Business applications.

Breakdown of the Microsoft Dynamics customer numbers by product:

Microsoft Dynamics? CRM 39,000 companies
Microsoft Dynamics? AX 18,000 companies
Microsoft Dynamics? GP 43,000 companies
Microsoft Dynamics? NAV 94,000 companies
Microsoft Dynamics? SL 13,500 companies

Dynamics CRM growth reaches 3 million & 39,000 companies users.

Companies Using Dynamics CRM & ERP

Improving Business Performance With Mobility

Mobile is white hot! In 2012 there were over 1.6 BILLION mobile phones shipped which about half were smartphones. Forrester predicts by the end of 2013 there will be 1.4 BILLION smartphones in use. Tablets are clocking in at about 128 Million shipped in 2012 which is a 78% increase over 2011. Mobile phones and tablets are already replacing cameras, maps, remote controls, handheld gaming systems, boarding passes, tickets, cash registers and more.

So it’s not a question of what smartphones can’t do, it’s what will you do with them. The strategic imperative for organizations is to understand how they are going to meet the challenge of these changes. In an industry where doing more with less is the mantra of the day, mobility is an excellent option to increase productivity, improve customer service and help your client focused teams be more efficient.

If you are interested in seeing how Dynamics CRM can be extended with the power of mobile, check out our 30 minute live webinar I’ll hosting next Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 3:00 EST. Details below:

Webinar Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/992547560

Stay Connected – Go Mobile!
Improving productivity and customer service with the power of mobile access

From cell phones to tablets, mobile devices have become a necessity to businesses everywhere – allowing us to stay connected and work more efficiently outside the office. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile, access to critical client information is available anytime, anywhere – allowing you to work smarter, faster, increase sales and improve your customer’s overall experience.

According to a recent study, firms who deployed a mobile solution also reported benefits including:

  • Increased productivity when away from the office or on the road 
  • Real-time access to customer data and insight 
  • Ability to respond on the spot to customer requests 
  • Dynamics Customer Relationship Management functionality on your mobile device   

Join us for a 30-minute live webinar to learn how you can use your mobile phone or tablet to:

  • Quickly and easily manage your territory for improved productivity 
  • Instantly place and track orders while on the road 
  • Effortlessly update opportunities on the go 
  • Manage demo units and trunk inventory with point and touch ease 
  • Collaborate with internal and external team members

FDA/CMS Announce Long Delayed Ruling on Sunshine Act

As some of you may know, the FDA/CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medical Services) have been (very) late in issuing their final ruling as to when physician Sunshine Act reporting will begin. Those of you who follow me via Twitter and on the i3 Community site know that I’ve been posting updates about the Sunshine Act compliance deadlines and extensions communicated by the FDA and CMS since December of 2011 (http://i3.infinityinfo.com/blogs/tags/tag/sunshine-act).

Well, they finally made their decision today and released the details the life science industry has anxiously been awaiting – http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20130201/NEWS/302019903?AllowView=VW8xUmo5Q21TcWJOb1gzb0tNN3RLZ0h0MWg5SVgra3NZRzROR3l0WWRMWGJWdjBBRWxiNUtpQzMyWmVwNTMwWUpieWk=.

In a rare act of kindness, the CMS has provided manufacturers and GPO?s a bit of extra time to get things in order. By law, manufacturers and GPO’s were only required to provide a 3 month notification of when data collection should begin, however, they have now given 6 months notice.

Starting August 1, 2013, drug and device companies will be required to collect data about payments, gifts and other transfers of value given to physicians and teaching hospitals (greater than $10). This final ruling also requires manufacturers and GPOs to report the first round of data collection to the CMS by March 31, 2014. Data must be submitted annually by the 90th day of each calendar year thereafter.

What does this mean? Companies that have not yet implemented a solution for meeting the reporting requirements of the law now have a bit of breathing room, although not much. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides an excellent platform for adding functionality that will allow companies to more easily meet these requirements – Infinity would love to show you how!

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at mhammons@infinityinfo.com.

Dynamics CRM on Windows RT/Surface First Look

There are a lot of blogs, articles and reviews already out there for Windows Surface, Windows 8 and Windows RT. This post will focus on the use of Windows Surface and Dynamics CRM 2011. If you are not aware, Microsoft just announced UR11 which provides Dynamics CRM 2011 support for Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 and Office 2013.

First, a little about the device. Windows Surface

One of the first things to get used to in Windows 8 and the Windows Surface device are the differences between Apps (Windows UI mode) and desktop mode. The desktop mode applications are the traditional Windows based applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, etc.). The Apps (now called Windows UI) are touch enabled or touch specific ?mini? versions of desktop applications. There are additional differences when it comes to the Windows RT versions, however, we won?t go fully into those differences in this review.

On the Windows Surface device, there is a ?full? desktop browser which is Internet Explorer 10. There is also a Windows UI app (I?ll call it IE App) that is essentially a mini version of IE 10 and is both touch and HTML5 optimized. The IE App is a slimmed down version of IE10 and does not allow any plugins of any kind (Flash, Silverlight, Java, etc.).

It?s also important to note that even the full IE10 client on Windows RT (Surface) does NOT support Silverlight plugins. In fact no plugins are currently supported on this platform. The only ones that will be supported are those that can be downloaded and installed through the Windows App Store?so that means no Flash, Java, 3rd party plugins/apps like Toolbar helpers (Evernote, Google, Snagit, Adobe PDF, etc.).

It will be possible for these plugins and helpers to be available, at some point in the future, however, those companies must create specific versions for the ARM architecture and go through Windows App store validation (everyone can thank Apple for starting this trend).

There is currently a ?limited? Flash client that has been pre-installed on Surface. From what I have found, limited means those sites that Microsoft has deemed to be ok to display/run flash in the IE10 browser?a whitelist of sorts is managed and maintained by Microsoft. Frankly, I was never a fan of Adobe Flash and think Jobs was absolutely correct in his assessment of Flash. Technically there appears to be a way to ?hack? this list but do so at your own risk. I personally don?t recommend you do this, but, if you?re feeling adventurous, here is the link. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=33443315

Overall I really like the touch interface using the Internet Explorer App. It does sometimes require a double tap on a target for it to register. I attribute this to the CRM client not being fully touch aware?yet.

Hyperlinks in CRM columns often require a double-tap. Sometimes the double-tap registers as a Zoom and the screen just zooms in closer instead of opening the record. It might be a better practice to highlight the record, then press the edit button (or use the Touch Cover/mouse). BTW, I really like the Touch Cover much more than I expected I would. It works great and I recommend it. I have not tried the Type Cover yet, if any of you have please let me know what you think.

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The IE App does not use the ?traditional? CRM popup, e.g. when opening an Account or Contact record, rather it pops the form to a new full browser screen. Nothing wrong with this, just something you should be aware of.

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The IE App/IE10 does show the lookups as traditional popups. And yes, Find and Advanced Find work perfectly fine.

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In my testing I discovered the settings between IE10 and IE App appear to be shared settings. E.g. I saw errors on several lookups, Dialogs, Export to Excel and the service calendar in both the IE App and IE10, however, after enabling Compatibility View in IE10, the settings ?carried over? to the IE App. After enabling Compatibility View, I was able to successfully use Lookups, Run Dialogs and Service calendar in both IE10 and IE App and made the application fully functional.

To enable Compatibility View, press the Alt key then select Tools, Compatibility View Settings

Add this website ? dynamics.com

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Note, compatibility view will allow export to excel, however, maintaining a connection between the Excel spreadsheet and CRM is not currently possible. The CRM Outlook client installs functionality for maintaining a connection between the exported data and the spreadsheet. Outlook and Dynamics CRM for Outlook client cannot be installed on Windows RT, therefore, the ability to refresh the CRM data in the spreadsheet from Excel is not available.

Outlook is not supported on Windows RT and Microsoft has no immediate plans to support Outlook on Surface (they are positioning it as a consumer device and the built in mail/calendar apps are designed for those purposes).

The above also means, currently, no CRM Offline support on Surface/RT.

Since the above is the case, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you use Email Router and NOT Outlook for processing email. If you don?t setup Email Router your emails will not be sent/received in CRM.

Dialogs do not work. The form for selecting a dialog will display, but you cannot then select a dialog and

Word Mail Merge does not work. There is a special RT version of Word installed on the Surface (Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013). This provides most of the capabilities of standard Word (and Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) however, it is a special version compiled specifically to run on the ARM architecture. One of the main limitations of this office is no Activex or Visual Basic for Applications are allowed to run. I believe this is the reason that Mail Merge does not work with Dynamics CRM.

CRM does not detect that Lync App is running so the presence/notification jewels are not available. I certainly hope this is addressed soon.

If the CRM client has any Silverlight screens, they will not work. The install plugin message is seen but it still won?t work on the IE App (no plugins of any kind). Note they do work in IE10 on the device. In my view, this is a leading indicator on why you should think about rebuilding any specific functionality you have built in Silverlight to either HTML5 or HTML/JavaScript.

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Attachments work with Skydrive stored documents, very easily. I like what they did here.

We happen to use ClickDimensions as our marketing tool and it does work with either client in compatibility view. I tested all functions and found no issues, from HTML emails, landing pages, websites etc.

Admin issues.

Settings, Customization ? click and drag, even in compatibility mode is a little flaky. It sometimes works but overall not recommended that you make a lot of customization changes on Surface at this time. Oddly, the IE App works a bit better in this area. I found the drag and drop worked much more reliably and smoother. Still a tiny bit flaky but overall workable for making fast changes on the go.

Creating processes all seem to work fine.

Where this device excels (no pun intended) over the iPad are:

The Touch Pad is cool and typing on it is much easier and better than I expected it would be. The only downside, no Fn (function) keys. Bummer, there is plenty of space for them?e.g. no F1, F5, etc.. Still Touch Pad is Recommended!

Excel, Word and PowerPoint are available and does 99% of what most people use them for.

USB support! Yeah, great way to expand storage if needed and more importantly to share data while on the road. This also means USB devices are supported. Slight caveat that some drivers may not be ready for Windows RT.

Micro SD card support! Again Yeah!

External monitor support, and can duplicate or extend the desktop. Standard micro-HDMI out port will display any app to the screen or extend the monitor to the other screens. Perfect for giving presentations on external projectors and monitors. I have a 27? monitor at the office and the Surface works great with its 1366×768 (HD) display on the device AND it shows full resolution on the larger monitor (1920X1200 in this case). Only trouble is you want to start touching and swiping on the large monitor J

Printer support out of the box. I have a Canon wireless printer and it detected it automatically and set it up for me?I didn?t have to do a thing?.it just worked!

Snapping running apps, e.g. I can have 2 apps running side by side and can adjust the sizes of each. In the case below I have CRM and Email running side by side.

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Apple, hear any of that?!

On a final note for this post, keep in mind that Microsoft Surface does not currently have a 3G/4G cellular option. This is a WiFi only device so for those businesses that require always connected capabilities they must purchase a MiFi/Hotspot type device, or use local Wifi that may be available. Additional Windows RT devices are hitting that market that will have cellular 3G/4G built in but those are not Microsoft Surface devices (e.g. Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, HP, etc.).

Overall I am really excited about these new devices and think it opens up a whole new paradigm for traveling users in particular. To me, the biggest limitation of an iPad is that is has been a companion device. What I mean is, I couldn?t replace what I do with the iPad. I need the power of a full laptop and access to the Office applications. We are now on the verge of having devices that give us the best of both worlds (and might I add additional capabilities for regulated industries?you know who you are). I could be on the precipice of finally having a small, light and fast device that has great battery life and lets me do everything I need it to do.

Stay tuned for some additional first looks of some of the other applications in our solution framework.

Pharmaceutical/Biotech Mergers & Acquisitions Expected to Continue

I ran across this interesting article about a significant trend in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

Bloomberg Article

In a nutshell, drug makers are shifting their focus from cutting costs to filling pipelines through mergers and acquisitions. Next year could top the 2,076 deals worth $166 billion announced in the past 12 months. “What tends to drive that is the need. There’s clearly a need for larger companies who are facing patent cliffs and whose own R&D machines have not panned out, to find growth.?

The extremely high cost of bringing new drugs to market is one of the primary factors for this increase in partnerships, mergers and acquisitions in healthcare. The chart below shows the spending for top 10 firms and represents a whopping $66 Billion annual investment.

Research Spending Per New Drug

Company Ticker # of drugs approved R&D spending per drug ($M) Total R&D Spend 1997-2011 ($M)
AstraZeneca AZN 5 11,791 58,955
GlaxoSmithKline GSK 10 8,171 81,708
Sanofi SNY 8 7,909 63,274
Roche Holdings AG RHH 11 7,804 85,841
Pfizer, Inc. PFE 14 7,727 108,178
Johnson & Johnson JNJ 15 5,886 88,285
Eli Lilly & Co. LLY 11 4,577 50,347
Abbott Laboratories ABT 8 4,496 35,970
Merck & Co. Inc. MRK 16 4,210 67,360
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. BMY 11 4,152 45,675

Sources: InnoThink Center For Research In Biomedical Innovation; Thomson Reuters Fundamentals via FactSet Research Systems

Cost cutting can only go so far before it negatively affects the growth of any company. Since 2000, the pharmaceutical industry has cut 297,650 jobs, according to consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. These companies are finding that a shift from cutting costs to making agreements can more effectively help build product lines.

Nearly half of today?s top-selling drugs are the result of partnerships. Companies that excel in business development and alliance management position themselves to win new deals. Those organizations that show a penchant for successful collaborations will attract other companies looking for strong allies ? in the process filling critical portfolio holes and penetrating exciting new markets.

A major challenge with business development and alliance management are the majority of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies today have legacy CRM tools or home grown systems that have not been able to keep up with this rapid pace of change in the market. These traditional and legacy solutions have become much too inflexible and too costly to maintain, leaving pharmaceutical companies in the unenviable position of overspending every day on solutions that no longer meet their business requirements.

Infinity has developed the Infinity iPartner platform that is designed for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology partnering life cycle. Infinity iPartner puts everything in one place for your teams to track and coordinate the finding, partnering, deal management, obligations, payments, milestones and other key activities required for managing an increasingly complex network of partners. All on a modern and highly flexible platform that is easier to use and maintain than existing systems and processes.

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To learn more about Infinity iPartner powered by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, contact us today.

Sunshine Act Update – September 2012

 

Back in December of last year and May of this year I wrote a couple of blog posts about the Sunshine Act compliance deadlines and extensions communicated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

If you?ve been wondering what?s happening with the final decision on Sunshine Act deadlines, you are not alone.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) was quoted this week criticizing the still vague time frame of when CMS expects companies to start reporting (sometime in 2013 is still the official answer). See article in Modern Healthcare.

So no details yet, however, the law requires allowing 90 days for the companies to prepare and the collection of data through the next January before reporting it publicly in March.

Infinity attends a lot of healthcare, pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device events and we hear there are quite a few organizations that don?t have a system or process in place yet. There is a little time left but we advise organizations to be ready for this as soon possible. Let us know if you need help.