Thursday, June 7, 2012

Clinical Understanding of Cancer Has Changed: Reuters

Per this Reuters Article, the deeper genetic information available to oncologists today has the changed the way cancer is identified, tumors are diagnosed and treatments are prescribed.  It is no longer enough to simply identify the organ a cancer has reached and begin treatment.  The new knowledge, while increasing options to keep the disease at bay, has increased the need for genetic testing and specialized knowledge to understand results.   Per the article:

"Cancers that may look identical under the microscope may actually have very different genetic abnormalities, and therefore, are likely to respond to very different kinds of therapies," said Dr. Mace Rothenberg, senior vice president for oncology at Pfizer. "What is happening is a very rapid evolution in thinking - from one test on one tumor to actually doing multiple tests on one tumor sample."

The positive side is that treatments can be targeted better, the negative side is that it's harder for community hospitals and oncologists outside of major universities to keep pace.  

Kalorama's Personalized Medicine Diagnostics   is Kalorama Information's latest market research report on the industry of tests that identify molecular characteristics of cancer and treatment potential, among other applications. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dark Side of A Growing Market: Growing Costs in Another Market

One industry's growth can be in some cases, a severe burden on another industry's growth.  The growth of wound care devices, reported on each year by Kalorama Information in its report (our latest update will be out this month) also means more costs for nursing homes and assisted living care centers that treat the elderly who are more likely to be wounded from accidents or surgeries, and who often take a longer time healing.  

So it is illustrated in this McKinght's Long Term Care Report article.

Much remains to be learned about wounds and how best to treat them. Last year, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality awarded the Johns Hopkins Evidence-based Practice Center nearly half a million dollars to investigate state-of-the-art wound care. The center has been tasked with determining what's known about medications, antibiotics, dressings and surgery, and establishing strategies proven to work.
The review will focus largely on lower extremity wounds, which can be complications of leg ulcers and diabetes and be exacerbated by obesity and poor nutrition. But investigators also expect to learn more about other types of wounds, such as pressure ulcers that are seen in long-term care settings.
Across the United States, about seven million people have chronic wounds. About $25 billion is spent annually on their care, according to a study that called this a “snowballing threat to public health.”

The article has a point.  What we present in our report as a key growth time for wound care device makers, which it certainly has been for the past few years, is to public health a 'snowballing threat.'  And that suggests some of the price increases may be tamed in the near future, which will impact revenue growth.

The  reports of many healthcare market research publishers, and Kalorama even at times, tend to be unitary in focus.  Reports show charts of increasing revenues.  We are identifying a market and showing companies the growth potential for new products that they might launch in that market.

But it's critical to understand any given market to know the markets that are adjacent.  Because these are going to be the limiters on potential growth.    In our diagnostic reagent reports are complemented well by our clinical lab services report.  Growth in lab services will mean more reagent sales.  In our report on global medical devices, we take a look at the hospital market and how they are slightly recovering from the recession and the hit on their endowments but still facing payment issues and reimbursement cuts.   Here you can see that although wound care products will grow in coming years, we can't go off the charts with the growth rate because there's only so much the long term care industry and governments will pay.  A good market research effort will require many different industry reports to see the whole picture.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Even for Large Organizations, EMR Switches Can Hurt

For a small physician practice, the change to an EMR or a change of EMRs is fraught with real costs and potential productivity costs.  But EMR changes are costly as well for large organizations, as evident from last quarter's move by a major healthcare system.   Partners in Boston, MA has selected Epic for a massive EMR overall from its internal electronic medical records system to the Epic system with customizations. Partners plans to invest $600 million to $700 million in the new EHR over the next 10 years.  

As indicated in this Fierce EMR story, such a change has not been out without challenges for the organization.  EMR comes with a cost, and last quarter Partners took a 138 million dollar hit in operating income as the result of a switch.