AdvaMed 2011 comes to D.C.

Washington, D.C. - This week saw AdvaMed's annual conference come to D.C. with an emphasis on maintaining innovation and cost savings.

The week kicked off with a media briefing by James Mazzo and Stephen Ubl, who discussed the group's advocacy agenda, including sustaining innovation. Mazzo emphasized there is no reason the U.S. can't remain an innovation leader in med tech. However, it must retain industry jobs to maintain its edge. Indeed, added Ubl, while the industry makes quality jobs, "our engine is in danger of stalling," unless specific actions are taken.

The topic of the excise tax was addressed--it's not regarded highly by the industry. That said, there were a lot of other things to like about the healthcare bill, Ubl maintained. But he did express concern that CDRH didn't get more money in appropriations. And when the topic of industry user fees came up, Mazzo maintained more funding isn't necessarily the answer. Throwing money at problems don't make them go away, he emphasized.

While maintaining innovation was widely discussed at the conference, saving the healthcare system money was another hot topic. One company aiming to do just that was New Zealand's Aranz Medical, whose CEO Bruce Davy spoke with FierceMedicalDevices at the show. The company's Silhouette system includes a camera, computer and stylus to help create a 3D image of wounds, allowing doctors to see a wound's area, depth and volume. These images can be stored online for viewing on an intranet or Internet.

Roughly $2 billion to $2.5 billion is spent in the U.S. annually to treat wounds. Yet often a patient receives a treatment that stops working or is wrong for that particular wound, thus necessitating further care. And with the aging population and an increase in diabetes--and the wounds associated with the disease--wound care is becoming an increasing burden on the healthcare industry. Aranz's system aims to avoid this scenario, allowing for more precise wound treatment.

Aranz has approvals in the EU, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but the company sees opportunities in emerging markets, particularly Asia and the Middle East, Davy said.

FMD met a number of great companies at the conference, and we will discuss some of them in upcoming issues. - Liz Hollis (email | twitter)