Many claim that engineering simulation in healthcare will be critical. The only way to get a clear and complete answer would be to ask the question “Is simulation essential for healthcare?” to the people using computer modeling and simulation (CM&S) routinely for medical device design, biotech or pharmaceutical process modeling during the ANSYS Healthcare Innovation Conference in Cambridge, MA on May 10th.
Fifteen years ago, after a long investigation on the adoption of simulation in the automotive industry, Prof Stefan Thomke from Harvard Business School concluded that
“using engineering simulation is not a competitive advantage anymore; in fact, NOT using simulation is now a competitive DISadvantage for the automotive industry”.
Considering the number of publications in this field, and my discussions with leading medical device and pharma companies, I am convinced that we have now reached the same level of adoption in healthcare.
Yet many people are still hesitating to adopt simulation:
- Human tissues are too complex to be modeled in a reliable way! I recently discussed that numerous surgeons are now using modeling routinely during the surgery planning phase, trusting simulation results to make the right decision in Sheffield, Rennes (France), and Poland, to mention a few.
- The Return on Investment (ROI) is not clear! As illustrated in our recent Best of Healthcare magazine, many companies, small and large, have reported very large savings in cost, time, improved performance. Leading medical device companies have suggested strategic savings leading to a ROI of 1 to 30!
- The regulatory authorities won’t trust an in silico approach! Following a 2015 note of the US Congress and a vote of the European Parliament, the FDA is now recommending the use of Computer Model and Simulation not for replacing (pre)-clinical trial but to anticipate and complement them through ‘in silico clinical trials”.
- This advanced technology is for large companies, not for SMEs! If a vast majority of the large healthcare companies have indeed widely adopted engineering simulation, small companies or even start-ups are using an in silico approach to successfully challenge the market leaders.
Very often, we are looking for excuses for not, at least, considering new technologies therefore putting our own business at risk in a global competitive market.
Let me invite you to look for solutions and specific testimonials from Biogen, Johnson and Johnson, Phenomyx, Amgen, Granta Design and ANSYS to find out if and how simulation will make a big difference to your business; let me encourage you to network with these successful innovators and listen to a vision that will transform healthcare.