John Hodge, Jr., Principal, Miramar Global
The healthcare industry is in the midst of a major evolution. The introduction of digital technology has already enabled significant strides in improving outcomes and convenience for patients, as well as efficiency for providers. However, we have only scratched the surface and as technology continues to advance, MedTech companies will compete to find ways to create value for healthcare customers and patients, while also building growing, profitable new businesses.
Infusing leadership teams with new kinds of talent; those who possess the knowledge and expertise to develop digital technology, commercialize it, and more, is vital to MedTech companies’ ability to stay relevant. In Part 1 of our Digital Health Talent Report, I will begin to discuss how MedTechs have approached this topic, and what some of our recommendations are based on our experiences.
As an executive search firm that specializes in MedTech, Miramar Global has been at the forefront of the current talent transformation. We have worked with many of the industry’s market leaders to identify and hire digital-savvy talent. Additionally, we have supported disruptive start-ups that have a great digital story, but need more mature systems and processes to scale.
There has been a general hesitation to recruit directly from the Tech sector when it comes to business leadership and R&D. Within some established players, there is a belief that leaders from consumer and even most enterprise software environments would struggle to integrate culturally to the sector. Meaning, they generally operate in low-regulation industries and prioritize moving fast. While most large MedTechs do want to move more quickly, they operate in a highly complex product development environment, where numerous factors need to be weighed before committing significant funds to an NPD program.
Furthermore, in many cases, significant documentation and clinical evidence is required to bring a new medical device product to market, and regulations are only getting more complex, as evidenced by Europe’s recent update to MDR from MDD. Leaders from the software industry, MedTechs believe, will be frustrated in their environment and push teams to move faster in ways that are more likely to backfire than to create positive change.
In our experience, there is validity in this concern. We have witnessed it. However, there are also clear exceptions. There are leaders with the right mindset and personality. Those who prefer to nudge, rather than to push, when it comes to change; transformational leaders who demonstrate patience and are highly capable of gaining genuine buy-in. We find most often that these leaders come from large Tech companies that have also experienced significant change themselves – IBM, HP, Intel; even leaders from the innovation and research centers of industrial companies like GE and Honeywell.
In Part 2 of our Digital Health Report, I will discuss how MedTechs can become more digital by recruiting from within their own industry and from adjacent markets, namely Healthcare IT, as well as how to build diverse leadership teams in digital.