To better grasp their own health, medical technology companies are encouraging consumers to bring technology closer to themselves via cost reduction while enhancing access and availability.

At SPIE Photonics West last year, Accumold caught up with Ryan Shelton, the CEO & Co-founder of PhotoniCare to get his perspective on what the future holds.

SPIE Photonics West: Q&A with Ryan Shelton, CEO of PhotoniCare

Ryan Shelton, PhD is co-founder and CEO of PhotoniCare based out of Champaign, IL. Their TOMi ™ Scope is an OCT imaging device designed to help doctors treat and monitor children and ear conditions. The device is designed to look and handle like a familiar otoscope.

Technology has allowed smaller players to get into the healthcare market and provide solutions. Do you see a future where physicians become the middle man and your scope helps consumers directly?

Ryan Shelton, PhD: We do have a consumer device in our pipeline. Whether that ends up DTC or prescribed by a physician is still under consideration, but I think consumers are becoming incredibly empowered in our healthcare system and I do not see that slowing down any time soon. Ear infections are a huge pain not only for the children that get them but for the parents and caregivers that have to stay up all night and take off of work the next day to take care of the sick children. For this reason, parents and caregivers (consumers) feel very strongly about our solution and we gain a lot of support from them directly.

Do you see med-tech companies becoming more numerous, operating in small lean teams, less run by giant companies?

Ryan Shelton, PhD: Absolutely. From the conversations I’ve had, even large Medtech institutions that have been very insular for decades are now realising that they have to look to the small, agile, and innovative companies if they want to stay competitive. I think this trend is leading large companies to be more acquisitive and making them more open to partnerships, which provides great opportunities for the entrepreneurs of the world. I think this mindset is critical to the continued growth of these large companies.

What is the #1 engineering hurdles that OEMs will struggle within the next 10 years?

Ryan Shelton, PhD: I think this answer probably differs significantly if you are talking about large companies vs. small ones. I believe small companies face significant challenges with scaling, particularly with respect to manufacturing and supply chain. This is why the partnerships mentioned above start to make a lot of sense on both sides.

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