About the industry

What is Medical Technology?

Medical technologies are products, services or solutions used to save and improve people’s lives.

Pediatrician measuring boy’s blood pressure

Medical technologies are with you all the time

From pregnancy tests to ultrasound scans, medical technology is with you from before you are born. If you scratched your knee as a child, you wore a plaster; if your vision blurs, you got glasses.

When you are unwell, diagnostics and medical devices help healthcare professionals restore you to good health as quickly as possible.

Should you need surgery, medical technologies will ensure you get the care you need in a way that is safe and minimally invasive; if your blood vessels become blocked, stents can help clear the way; if you are seriously ill, an MRI scan can find the cause; if you require monitoring, digital health tools can check your health status and communicate vital data to health professionals.

You may not always notice medical technologies, but they are always there for you.

Medical technologies - at every phase of the patient pathway

In its many forms, medical technology is beneficial to the health and quality of life. Medtech offers:

  • Prevention iconPrevention
  • Diagnosis iconDiagnosis
  • Monitoring iconMonitoring
  • Therapy iconTreatment
  • After Care iconCare

There are more than 500,000 medical technologies

There are more than 500,000 medical technologies available in hospitals, community-care settings and at home.

Medical technology can be everyday objects such as sticking plasters, syringes, cancer screening tests, or latex gloves. It could also be spectacles, wheelchairs, pregnancy tests or hearing aids.

Medical technologies also include total body scanners, gene mutation tests, implantable devices such as heart valves and pacemakers, and replacement joints for knees and hips.

Pictures of lens, bandaging and hips implants

Three main categories of medical technologies

There are three main categories of medical technologies

  • Medical devices
  • In vitro diagnostics
  • Digital health solutions

Longer and better lives

Medical technologies allow individuals to live longer and better lives. Medical technologies also empower people to contribute to society for longer. In doing so, they improve the quality of care, and the efficacy and sustainability of healthcare systems.

  • What are Medical Devices?

    What are Medical Devices?

    Medical devices are products, services or solutions that prevent, diagnose, monitor, treat and care for human beings.

    Medical devices

    A medical device can be an instrument, apparatus, appliance, software, implant, reagent, material or other articles. From syringes and wheelchairs to cardiac pacemakers and medical imaging technologies (such as MRI, CT and X-ray machines), medical devices can play a range of roles in maintaining and restoring health.

    Medical devices are used, either alone or in combination, for individuals for one or more medical purposes:

    • Diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment, or alleviation of disease;
    • Diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, alleviation, or compensation for an injury or handicap;
    • Investigation, replacement, or modification of the anatomy or of a physiological process;

    Find out more :

  • What are IVDs?

    What are IVDs?

    In vitro diagnostics (IVDs) are non-invasive tests used on biological samples (for example blood, urine or tissues) to determine the status of one’s health.

    Lab testing

    IVDs never come into direct contact with a person as they provide information based on a sample. Their value resides in the quality of information they provide.

    IVDs do not treat patients but their role is to provide information that enables patients and healthcare professionals to make healthcare decisions.

    Source: IVDs Factsheet

    Examples of in vitro diagnostic tests:

    • Hepatitis or HIV tests
    • Clinical chemistry
    • Coagulation test systems
    • Urine test strips
    • Pregnancy tests
    • Reagents and reagent products for the detection of infections
    • Blood sugar monitoring systems for diabetics
    • Receptacles manufactured specifically for medical specimens
  • What are Digital Health Solutions?

    What are Digital Health Solutions?

    Information and data generated by medical technologies play a vital role in improving health outcomes and make health systems more efficient.

    medical apps

    Digital health and care refers to tools and services that use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of health and lifestyle. Digital health and care have the potential to innovate and improve access to care, quality of care, and to increase the overall efficiency of the health sector.

    Digital tools will play a central role in many of the most promising areas of healthcare innovation. As we advance towards a more personalised, predictive, precision healthcare, data will be key. In future, healthcare can be more integrated, value-based and with a stronger focus on patient outcomes.

    Examples of digital health solutions:


See also

Facts & Figures

The medical technology industry continues to be one of Europe’s most diverse and innovative sectors. This can be seen in the high number of patents filed by medtech companies, as well as in data on trade flows and employment statistics.

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Value of Medical Technology

Medical technologies can save lives, improve health and contribute to sustainable healthcare. Through innovative devices and diagnostics, the industry delivers value to patients, healthcare professionals, and healthcare systems and society. Medical technology companies are also drivers of economic growth and job creation across Europe.

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