The Orthopedics Success Equation: Business Model or Technology?

In the ever-evolving realm of orthopedics, a counterintuitive insight challenges conventional thinking:

Owning the most advanced technology or best product does not necessarily guarantee success!

I encounter this argument week after week from people who say they have the best “thing”.

“We have the best coating.”

“Our procedure is the least invasive.”

“Our system offers surgeons unmatched flexibility.”

“Our product is a single-use disposable.”

“We have top-tier Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs).”

“Our implants fit the patients anatomy perfectly.”

Let’s draw a parallel with hamburgers.

From your backyard, can you make a burger better than McDonald’s? Of course you can.

Can you build a better burger business than McDonald’s? No way!

Consider the case of ConforMis, long hailed for their exceptional total knees and more recently total hips. Surgeons lauded the personalized implants and disposable instrument kits. Despite their remarkable product, they struggled to create a profitable business after 18 years of trying and with $528M in funding. Effectively, they sold hamburgers for $4 to the hospital, but it cost ConforMis $8 to sell and deliver that hamburger.

The eye-opening truth is that a prosperous orthopedic company demands more than just innovation.

Prosperity requires a savvy amalgamation of business acumen, financial discipline, meticulous planning, efficient R&D, marketing finesse, customer-centric strategies and a steady stream of affordable capital.