Medical Device Industry Facts
Medical technology companies create life changing innovation. These advanced medical devices and diagnostics allow people to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
The medical technology industry—often referred to as medtech—comprises the companies that develop, manufacture, and distribute the technologies, devices, equipment, diagnostic tests, and health information systems that are transforming health care through earlier disease detection, less-invasive procedures, and more effective treatments.
Life-changing medical technologies allow millions of people to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. The research and innovation to develop these cutting-edge technologies allows the U.S. to continue leading the world in medical advancements. From prosthetics to radiation therapies, medtech changes healthcare for the benefit of patients and health care providers. Our technologies improve quality of life, reduce time spent in hospitals and help loved ones beat life-threatening diseases.
What is a Medical Device?
A medical device is an instrument, apparatus, implant, machine, tool, in vitro reagent, or similar article that is to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure disease or other conditions, and, unlike a pharmaceutical or biologic, achieves its purpose by physical, structural, or mechanical action but not through chemical or metabolic action within or on the body.
MedTech Spurs U.S. Innovation
The U.S. is the largest medical device market in the world, comprising over 40% of the global medtech market.
U.S. exports of medtech have consistently outpaced imports, including a trade surplus of over $1.1 billion in 2017.
Advanced medical devices and diagnostics allow people to live longer, healthier, more productive, and independent lives. From 1980-2017, 5 years were added to the U.S. life expectancy thanks to advancements in medical technology.
Since 1980, there has been a 60% decrease in the number of patient-days spent in hospitals thanks to medical technologies.
Medical technology innovators are committed to providing physicians and other health care providers with the best tools to diagnose and treat patients. This commitment drives over 6,500 medtech companies in the U.S., which are mostly small- and medium-sized enterprises, to create medical miracles every day.
These companies, most with fewer than 100 employees, are in the highly competitive business of creating constant progress through constant innovation.
- Our innovations help patients worldwide live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
- We improve the efficiency of health care systems through earlier disease detection and more effective treatments that reduce the economic burden of disease and the cost of care.
- We drive economic growth by creating high-paying manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and through net exports to other countries around the world.
- The market for our products is highly competitive, which helps keep our prices low.
America’s Medical Technology Industry
America’s medical technology companies play a pivotal role in diagnosing and providing quality treatment options for patients, improving outcomes, lowering health care costs and promoting economic growth. Our products range from those developed and used by world leaders in medical science and care—such as nanotechnology, state of the art imaging and genetic testing—to the ones parents use everyday, such as bandages, thermometers and catheters.
The medical technology industry is a manufacturing success story, one of the last expanding manufacturing enterprises in the U.S. that merges rapid innovation with precision product building and distribution. Our industry is a world-leader, with home grown R&D, domestic manufacturing in communities large and small and worldwide exports of American made products. Our economic contributions go beyond conventional measurements of employment, wages and exports—they extend to the increased productivity of the American workforce through greater advances in health.
Innovation is at our core. The advances in medical technology within our own lifetimes is only the beginning of ongoing improvements. America’s core policy and regulatory choices establish the context for future improvements. A strong FDA, appropriate Medicare reimbursement and other policies must be in place to ensure a strong future for patient and health care provider access to earlier and more accurate diagnoses, life-enhancing therapies and continued innovation for the next breakthrough treatments. Medical technology changes lives. We are an engine for growth and a vehicle for personal and health progress.
The medical technology industry is continually advancing and developing new innovations that improve the health and well-being of patients worldwide.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Diagnostic tests have various uses and benefits for patients with HIV or AIDS, including determining the presence of the disease and measuring the effectiveness of treatments. Several types of diagnostic tests exist for the detection of HIV/AIDS, including those that test for antibodies or analyze RNA. Another type of diagnostic, CD4 testing, counts T-cells and is used to monitor the immune system function in HIV-positive patients.
Quality of Life
Some 1.7 million patients acquire healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in U.S. hospitals each year, resulting in 99,000 deaths and $20 billion to $45 billion in additional health care costs. Diagnostic tests are a first-line defense against HAIs, capable of screening asymptomatic individuals to identify risk; detecting disease at the earliest stages before symptoms occur; and identifying threats to patient safety and public health. They also can be used to select safe and effective treatments, plan disease management strategies and estimate treatment response throughout the course of care. Tests for HAIs include viral cultures and molecular typing of microbial pathogens.
Fact Sheet: Medical Technology Saves and Improves Lives
Medical technology is used at different points along the disease continuum—providing earlier diagnosis, improved surgical methods, or innovations in disease management.
Resource / Payment & Reimbursement
Estimates of Medical Device Spending in the United States
This study was engaged to develop estimates of medical device spending in the United States, compare our estimates to NHE estimates published by CMS, and develop estimates of price changes for medical devices for comparison to standard indexes.
The Story of MedTech
Millions of lives are improved every day because of advancements in medical technology.