An Open Letter to Orthopedic Companies

I have to voice my opinion. 

The majority of orthopedic companies are not innovators.  It’s time for someone to say that 90 percent of orthopedic companies are just ordinary.

I challenge you to be remarkable!

Swing for the fences. Be differentiated. Own a monopoly in your niche. Dictate your pricing.  Create market pull with your products instead of market push through salespeople. Make investors fight over funding for your innovation.  Control your destiny.

Please don’t be that company pursuing incremental changes – a different angle here and a new coating there. You know who I’m talking about.  As a recruiter in the ortho space, I get frustrated watching the 90% fail to innovate. That’s why I choose to work with the 10% – the innovators taking the risks.

After the COVID disruption, there is no excuse for an orthopedic company to be ordinary. New technology is erupting all around us. Any orthopedic company can exploit these new technology gifts.

Additive manufacturing has brought us a new design paradigm. New implant materials are being invented that can morph into bone. VR surgical training is better, cheaper and can scale globally. IoMT (The Internet of Medical Things) has enabled real-time communications between patients, implants, and health care providers. Device-to-device communication will dwarf human-to-human communication in the future. Genomics has advanced so fast that each patient can receive a slightly different treatment to solve their musculoskeletal problem. Sensors and wearables will revolutionize how we collect and analyze clinical results. AI will bring faster and more accurate diagnoses in orthopedics. VR/AR will improve complex surgeries in the short-term, while robotics + AI may be the killer surgery app in the long term. AI will initially make your sales force better, then AI will completely displace your sales rep in the OR. Blockchain applications will completely redefine your supply chain and all financial transactions between payers, providers and your customers.

I beg you. Stop being ordinary.  Use the new tools in 2022 to innovate.

Actionable Advice

Here is some real “actionable advice” for orthopedic leaders who want to create something remarkable.

Select a few of the most creative people in your organization to work outside the normal boundaries. Pick a select few from R&D, Marketing, Sales, plus a surgeon. Physically move them to a different location away from the groupthink and meetings. Give the team a budget and permission to innovate.  Then set them free to tackle a clinical problem that no one else is working on.

Bonus: Here is a list of unmet clinical needs to get started.

Be remarkable this year.