Scott Whitaker, president and CEO of AdvaMed, recently chatted with Joe Mullings, chairman and CEO of The Mullings Group, a search firm specializing in the medtech, healthtech and life sciences industry. Here are highlights from their conversation.  

The MedTech Conference 

Joe regularly records interviews at AdvaMed’s biggest event, The MedTech Conference, held every fall. This year, the Conference will be in Anaheim, California, Oct. 9-11, returning to the West Coast for the first time in several years.  

The 2022 MedTech Conference in Boston broke attendance records, unveiling new features including the first-ever Investor Forum and building an international presence. Each year, attendees include CEOs, exhibitors, regulators, investors, and legal staff. Human resources staff should attend to recruit talent and learn best practices in important areas, such as diversity and inclusion, Scott said. Policy and regulatory information, straight from the source, is critical to the forecasting necessary to grow companies. 

“It’s the latest information,” Scott said. “It’s a combination of perspectives that come from federal payers but also from senior leaders inside our companies on how they’ve dealt with some of the regulatory and payment hurdles they’ve faced. The combination of that is really important” because each element of matters to success. 

“If patients are suffering, that means they need treatment. And we’re innovating to make outcomes better for patients. That’s why innovation really matters at the end of the day.”

––Scott Whitaker, AdvaMed President and CEO

Joe noted the increased international presence at last year’s conference, from government representatives to private investors and commercial teams. Foreign investors, including venture capitalists, want to learn about U.S. regulatory, clinical, and reimbursement pathways: “You provide a space for them to get educated there.” 

Medtech is no longer only a U.S.-based industry. “We touch every market around the world,” Scott said. “You have to have the international community come in and be a part of” The MedTech Conference. 

The CEO Summit 

Joe said AdvaMed puts on “must attend, world class events.” The CEO Summit, held every spring, includes multinational corporation CEOs mingling with startup CEOs. The large company CEOs, Scott said,have a lot of fun helping young or aspiring CEOs who have a great idea they’re trying to get to market.” The established company CEOs learn from the smaller company leaders. “It’s really important to us that the entire ecosystem is covered in every event that we do.” 

Top speakers including current policymakers and regulators, former elected officials, special guests (such as professional football player Damar Hamlin in March 2023), mingle shoulder-to-shoulder with the company leaders for conversation and insights.  

Four Pillars of AdvaMed 

Scott described the AdvaMed pillars: 

Policy and advocacy underpin company success. With every relevant policy moving in Congress or government agency regulation, “We’re trying to shape it either to make it better or make sure it doesn’t do any harm to the industry, because oftentimes well-intentioned policies end up harming an industry,” Scott said. An example is the proposed federal regulation of the ethylene oxide used to sterilize half of, or 20 billion, medical devices each year. “If not done right, that could have a real chilling effect on the sterilization industry, which is critical to patients.” 

Another policy priority is more predictability and clarity of payment coverage for emerging technologies. A pending proposal, the Transitional Coverage for Emerging Technologies (TCET), could make a big difference for Medicare beneficiaries by improving coverage and the process, depending on the details, Scott said.  

Why This Work Matters 

“If patients are suffering, that means they need treatment. And we’re innovating to make outcomes better for patients,” Scott said. “That’s why innovation really matters at the end of the day.” 

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