I agree, Chuck. As medical devices gain greater traction, it will likely help North American manufacturing. Medical device manufacturing is one of those few pockets of manufacturing that didn't try the outsourced model to any great degree. Chances are the manufacturing will continue to be centered in North America.
I agree that the industry will eventually reach agreement on a monetization model. Once that happens, it would seem natural for it to open the doors to a big new area of technology involving the use of sensors and wireless transceivers.
I would think the home devices get monetized as part of an admission-at-home program. The monitoring would be billed as a partial admission. It would be a way for medical facilities to extend their billable services without expanding facilities or hiring staff. My guess is the monetization will eventually be huge.
These types of gadgets will just grow and grow. A combination of factors will likely push the growth: An aging population, an explosion in new devices, and the medical industry's desire to send healthcare home. If health pros can monitor the vitals of patients through devices, their facilities won't be as crowded.
A few years ago, I interviewed a cardiologist who told me that he received an e-mail from the defibrillator implanted inside one of his patients. He called up the patient, who was sleeping at the time, and told him, "Wake up. Your heart is in arrythmia. Better get to the hospital." To me, that's the ultimate in home medical care.
Yes, I find it surprising as well. Yet my contacts at component distributors say the rush to Asia was based on the assumption that the savings were clearly there. What didn't get figured in, apparently, was the cost of hand-holding with plant managers, logistics, production difficulties. The logistics at first was not just a matter of shipping the product to markets (Europe and North America) but also shipping components to Asia that were not available in Asia. That part has changed a bit as the major component distributors opened up fully-stocked distribution centers in Asia. I think they also didn't take into account increasing labor costs.
Interesting point about the hidden statistic of companies not sending jobs to other countries. In any case, I think your key phrase there is "without thinking it through." I still, find it surprising (silly me) after all this time that companies can spend huge amounts of money making any knee-jerk decisions and doing anything without thinking it through.
Yes, Ann, I've noticed the increase in calls taken by Canada in the past couple years. Perhaps the biggest change in the shift away from outsourcing is not visible - many companies that have decided in recent years to not shift their production to Asia. One thing I keep hearing is that unlike 10 years ago, companies are spending more time analyzing whether a move to Asia really delivers benefits. Apparently, the rush to Asia (without thinking it through) has ended.
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