What is MedTech?Examples of services provided by MedTech companies, future development and benefits

MedTech is a new word that combines medicine and technology

With the development of technology, medical technology is undergoing a major shift.

It is said that making the most of MedTech is a clue to solving various problems such as an aging society, healthcare economic issues, and regional disparities.

This article will give you a better understanding of the MedTech sector, which is expected to grow in the future.

What is MedTech?

MedTech is a combination of the words “medical” and “technology.
Technology is a term including various segments:

  • Biotechnology: regenerative medicine and genetic modification therapy
  • High technology: Robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), big data
  • Information technology (IT): Smartphone applications, communication technology, and IoT technology (the Internet of Things)

and other technologies have been utilized in medicine in recent years, and these technologies are called MedTech.

Difference with HealthTech

A similar term is “health tech”.

HealthTech is a combination of the words health and technology.

Therefore, the use of technology targets disease prevention, health management, and post-treatment aftercare services.

In contrast, MedTech makes it clear which diseases each technology is effective in diagnosing and treating.

HealthTech is used to maintain good health, whereas MedTech is used to prevent or assess the risk of some diseases.

Although there are some similarities in their objectives, they are fundamentally different concepts.

Examples of areas and services where MedTech is actively involved

There is a wide range of services in which MedTech is active.

Although the word “technology” sounds sophisticated and complex, it also includes many familiar systems such as applications for the general public.

This section provides examples of such services, categorized in terms of who they are aimed at.

1)For healthcare professionals

  • Telemedicine platform
    This service provides online medical care by sharing blood pressure and other data from one’s smartphone. Medication guidance applications and other services are available.
  • Data analysis, AI support
    It provides data for the analysis of big data, such as electronic medical records, or for AI to provide a learning basis from where it analyzes patterns and models.
  • Regenerative Medicine
    Regenerative medicine is a medical technology for regenerating body cells lost in accidents or diseases. Cells and tissues are provided for regenerative medicine and its research.
  • Physician Network
    This is an information exchange system for physicians. They can get information from departments other than their own specialty.

2) For nursing care sites

  • Nursing Care Devices
    Robots and systems are available to assist with transfers, mobility, toileting, and bathing.
  • Monitoring service
    This system remotely watches over multiple persons requiring care.

3) For consumers

  • Online medical consultation, Web-based questionnaires
    There is a system that allows you to chat with a doctor about your symptoms and whether or not you should visit a hospital.
    Other systems are available to link information from medical questionnaires answered online to the medical record.
  • Genetic Testing Services
    There are services that can test for genetic tendencies such as disease risk.
  • Wearable devices
    The device is a system that is worn on the wrist, arm, or head and records biometric information such as heart rate and sleep duration.
  • Treatment Apps
    Through the app, “communication with doctors” and “encouragement of patients’ behavior change” can enhance the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Mental Health
    There is an app that provides a digital version of cognitive behavioral therapy, an important component of psychiatric treatment.

*Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Treatment to develop better ways of thinking and behavioral habits by objectively understanding one’s own behavior and thoughts.

Four promising aspects of MedTech’s development

This section provides four social contexts in which MedTech is expected to develop.

1) Medical industry is expected to contribute to economic development

The medical industry is a growing sector with high expectations for Japan’s economic development.

From the perspective of the global economy, the MedTech (i.e., medical device) market is a growth area. In Europe and the U.S., the medical device market has expanded and grown in the form of development initiated by medical ventures and in collaboration with major companies.

Compared to Europe and the U.S., the emergence of medical ventures has been slow in Japan due to severe restrictions and systems and a lack of venture investment, and the market size of the medical device industry is only about 8% of the global total, not a large share.

In light of this situation, the government has issued a variety of measures to encourage the medical industry. Below are some specific examples.

  • Venture Support Strategy Office
    The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has established “Venture Support Strategy Office” as a support system for medical ventures. The goals of this program are to “further improve the level of insured medical care” and “contribute to economic growth.
  • Japan Healthcare Business Contest (JHeC)
    The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) hosts the Japan Healthcare Business Contest (JHeC), an event designed to raise awareness in society by recognizing individuals and venture companies working on development in the healthcare field.
    The program also aims at business matching between targeted individuals and venture companies and large corporations and venture capitalists.
  • MEDISO / InnoHub collaboration
    The project is also tied in with the “Medical Venture Total Support Project (commonly known as MEDISO),” the contact point for the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and the “METI One-Stop Contact Point (commonly known as InnoHub),” the contact point for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Thus, it is thought that the entire country is focusing on the healthcare industry, with support measures being put in place by various ministries and agencies.

Reference: Support for Medical Ventures (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), Japan Healthcare Business Contest (JHeC) 2023 (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), Survey Report on the Competitiveness of the Medical Device and Healthcare Industry in Japan

2) Early detection of disease is preferred for healthcare economics.

To ensure a robust healthcare economy in an increasingly aging society, it is necessary to extend the period of time during which people are healthy.

Previously, the detection of disease was done through x-rays and blood collection tests to cure diseases that had already been contracted.

However, if high-risk patients can be diagnosed before they become ill even earlier, medical costs can be reduced far more than the cost of treating the disease that has taken hold.

With MedTech, the public can use the results obtained from the analysis of the enormous amount of medical data accumulated in the past in apps and wearable devices.

This means that risk assessment can be done by approaching patients before they need treatment in the hospital.

Therefore, it can be said to bring significant benefits to both patients and the healthcare economy.

3) Necessity of tailor-made medical care

With the development of medicine, guidelines and evidence-based medicine have been prevalent for several decades.

However, if we look at the details, it is ideal to provide medical care that is tailored to the individual’s inherent constitution, lifestyle, and genetic factors.

Technology has evolved in recent years, enriching databases and greatly improving the ability of AI to process information.

As a result, the cost of gene sequencing has been dropping rapidly since the late 2000s.

Today, access to genetic analysis has been opened up and the public is able to have their genetic sequences tested.

With this background, it can be said that a shift from standardized medicine to tailor-made medicine has begun.

4) Lack of manpower to support aging medical care

In an accelerating aging society, the need for medical care is only getting greater. Moreover, medical care and nursing care for the elderly require the manpower and physical strength of healthcare professionals.

In addition, there are regional disparities in the number of medical personnel, and there is a serious shortage of labor due to uneven distribution.

Due to this background, we are faced with the need to allocate scarce resources efficiently.

Effective use of MedTech could solve these problems with robotic care devices and telemedicine.

How will MedTech change healthcare?

In this section, we will discuss how MedTech, as it continues to develop, is “changing the way healthcare actually works?” from four representative aspects.

1) Provide medical services over the Internet

By leveraging MedTech, information can be recorded over the Internet using IoT-equipped medical and diagnostic equipment.

Real-time sharing of web questionnaires and vital signs supports patient-physician interaction.

It also connects physicians to physicians, who can share information and consult with specialists to provide medical care.

Networking without delay with 5G communication technology can expand online medical services and improve the quality of telemedicine.

2) Improved self-management

MedTech has a number of services that are contributing to the primary prevention of disease.

Primary prevention is “the prevention of disease by reducing risk behaviors before the disease occurs. Especially for lifestyle-related diseases, the way the patient himself/herself conducts his/her daily life is directly related to the disease condition.

For example, there are apps and AI-based diagnostic technologies that encourage behavior change, allowing patients to follow the app and change their behavior before they get sick and need to see a doctor.

There are also devices that allow you to consult with a physician online to determine if you should visit a hospital to get diagnosed.

In other words, it has the effect of reducing the number of people who become ill themselves through self-management.

There is also a technology that allows the assessment of the risk of exacerbation of disease after it has occurred using wearable devices.

Through the use of MedTech, patients are able to self-manage their illnesses in co-ordination with their doctors, both before and after they become ill.

3) Development of new drugs and improvement of medical treatment procedures

By using IoT and big data to collect vast amounts of information and analyzing it through artificial intelligence, we will be able to provide more advanced diagnostic treatment than can be done by solely depending on humans.

For example, assisting in the diagnosis of features that would be missed by a physician alone could improve the accuracy and efficiency of diagnosis.

It is also expected that the fusion of big data with genetic engineering and biotechnology will help in the development of new drugs.

Conventionally, the development of new drugs has taken an enormous amount of time and money.

However, by using the results of analyzing big data, development time could be reduced.

AI is also beginning to be used for simulations to find compounds that are candidates for new drugs.

4) Efficiency improvement provided by robots

It has been about 10 years since surgical robots became generalized, and physicians utilizing robots have become more skilled, increasing the safety and accuracy of surgical procedures.

On top of that, devices are also being developed to reduce the burden on medical personnel, such as assistive robots that support a doctor’s arm during surgery.

In addition, the use of robots for care and rehabilitation requiring physical strength is considered to be very effective, and the practical application of robots for care is expected to advance.

It is believed that in the near future, combined with ultra-high-speed communications, doctors in remote locations will be able to use the robotic arm to perform surgeries.

Technologies utilized in MedTech

In this section, we will introduce you to the technologies actually used in MedTech and how these technologies are put to use.


AI can be described as artificial intelligence “that artificially reproduces human perception and intelligence. Self-learning is its greatest feature.

AI excels at analyzing and learning from vast amounts of data.

It is expected that new knowledge will be gained in the treatment of intractable diseases and the development of new drugs by taking advantage of machine learning, which is so precise that it is impossible for human beings to do it.

AI can also read microscopic anomalies that would otherwise be overlooked by the physician’s eye.

These days, the markets for diagnosis support AI systems and medical care support AI systems are already becoming more active.

In one case, an AI that was fed a large number of papers on cancer research made a diagnosis of a particular leukemia patient in 10 minutes.

Recently, the revision of medical service fees has added “AI technology management system” to the facility requirements for hospitals with special functions, and a system for managing AI in clinical settings is being developed.

In addition, data have become essential for AI medical devices and there is an urgent need to build databases, and efforts to develop AI-based medicine are accelerating on many fronts.


IoT(Internet of Things)is a technology that connects various objects to the Internet and shares information using networks.

The related IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) refers to systems that equip tools and gears in the medical field with similar functions in order to optimize their usage.

Through the use of IoMT, patients can share information with doctors and other healthcare professionals in real time, and healthcare professionals can monitor the operation status of medical equipment at any time.

For patients, it provides a sense of security because they can share realistic data and easily communicate with their physicians. For healthcare professionals, it facilitates information sharing among patients and hospitals.

There is also the possibility of new discoveries through AI analysis of the acquired data.

Furthermore, the ability to share patient data using a network of medical devices could be utilized in telemedicine and online medical care.

In addition, sharing data from wearable devices could also improve operational efficiency in the nursing care domain.


Robotics has always been well developed in Japan. It boasts the world’s top market share in industrial robots and robot suits, and it can be said that this has always been a field in which Japan excelled.

Taking advantage of such technology, in recent years, robots for nursing care and surgery are already widely used in the medical field to support rehabilitation and assist with transfers.

Not only that, but medical robots that remotely assist in surgery are also being put to practical use.

Other developments in robot technology include the development of wearable cyborgs for use in medical and nursing care applications.

The Japanese government has also been promoting support for the robotics industry since the late 2010s. In response, the government is now promoting technologies that combine robots and IT (big data, AI, etc.).

Originally, robots were characterized by their ability to accurately repeat pre-programmed movements.

By combining this with AI, it is thought that in the future, robots that operate accurately by self-learning from pre-learned data will be utilized in medicine.


5G is a recently commercialized means of mobile communication. Compared to conventional 4G, it is characterized by ultra-high-speed communication and the ability to connect to a large number of terminals at the same time.

Such features are mainly utilized in telemedicine (online medical care), which requires accurate and massive amounts of information to be exchanged without delay.

The market for online medical care systems is expanding rapidly, triggered by the focus on contact-avoidance practices due to the spread of new COVID-19 infections.

In addition to patient-physician communication in online medical care, 5G is also useful for communication between physicians. Specifically, it is beginning to play an active role in medical care that connects specialists and non-specialists, such as remote diagnostic imaging and remote ICU.

MedTech development requires vast amounts of medical data

The MedTech sector is expected to develop further and many people will benefit as a result.

Big data is key to the development of the MedTech sector, as big data is essential for machine learning in AI, and big data analysis can lead to risk prediction and new drug development.

Medical Data Vision has one of the largest medical databases in Japan, with a total of 42.04 million registered patients from 474 hospitals (as of November 30, 2022) .

And we provide database and data analysis services mainly to medical institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and academia.

Please contact us for more information on how we can help you utilize medical big data.

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About Japanese Healthcare System

What you need to know about the healthcare system in Japan before using the data.


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