Saturday, March 2, 2024

Exploring the Edges of MedTech Innovation: A Comprehensive Review of Horizon Scanning and Foresight Techniques

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In a recent publication, researchers led by Garcia Gonzalez-Moral conducted a mapping review to explore the methodologies employed in horizon scanning (HS) and foresight practices for MedTech innovation. Their objective was to shed light on the various methods used to inform healthcare decision-making in the rapidly evolving field of MedTech.

Horizon scanning is a valuable method that examines early signs of change, making it crucial for anticipating trends and developments in healthcare. However, the authors note that the HS methods traditionally used for identifying innovative medicinal products cannot be directly applied to MedTech due to significant differences in their development and regulatory processes.

Adapting Horizon Scanning for MedTech: Addressing Unique Challenges in Healthcare Anticipation

To achieve their objectives, the researchers conducted a comprehensive mapping review. They systematically searched bibliographical databases such as MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, IEEE Xplore, and Compendex Engineering Village, as well as grey literature sources including Google, CORE database, and the International Health Technology Assessment (HTA) database. This extensive search yielded a total of 8888 records. Following deduplication and rigorous title, abstract, and full-text screening—both manual and automated—the researchers identified 49 papers that met the inclusion criteria and were included in their analysis.

The authors uncovered a total of 25 distinct methods used in horizon scanning and foresight practices for MedTech innovation. Notably, many of these methods were employed in combination to enhance the comprehensiveness of the analysis. Despite the variety of methods identified, only three of them were considered novel, appearing in the literature only once. This highlights the prevalence of well-established techniques in the field. Text mining and artificial intelligence solutions began to appear in the context of horizon scanning as early as 2012. These techniques were often applied to analyze patent data and social media sources to gain insights into emerging MedTech innovations.


Challenges in MedTech Foresight: The Need for Standardized Horizon Scanning Methodologies

The study found that the time horizon used in scanning was often not adequately justified in the literature, indicating a need for more rigorous methodological reporting. Many studies involved experts both as a source of information and as a method for horizon scanning. Engaging with experts and stakeholders remained a common practice in MedTech foresight.

The review revealed significant heterogeneity in methodologies, sources, and time horizons used for horizon scanning and foresight in MedTech. Furthermore, there was a lack of consensus regarding best practices, contributing to inconsistency in reporting methods.

In conclusion, this mapping review underscores the need for greater transparency and consistency in the methodologies used for horizon scanning and foresight in MedTech innovation. By addressing these issues, the quality and timeliness of decision-making processes in the field can be improved, ultimately benefitting healthcare stakeholders and patients. The study’s findings provide valuable insights for researchers, policymakers, and industry professionals involved in MedTech innovation and healthcare decision-making.


Resource: Med Tech Reimbursement Consulting, February 02, 2024

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