If you were to do a Google search for the medtech company of 2014, the top result should be . . . Google. At least, that's the opinion of PlasticsToday sister brand MD+DI, whose editors selected the tech giant for the top honor in its annual feature. Anticipating incredulity, maybe even hostility, among some of its readers, MD+DI Associate Editor Chris Wiltz starts his article announcing the 2014 winner in a defensive posture: "As you are reading this, some of you are probably rolling your eyes. After all, Web search giant Google is anything but a traditional medical technology company," he writes. "But before you turn away, you should know one thing: Google agrees with you completely."
The healthcare industry is "a painful business to be in," Google co-founder Sergey Brin reportedly said. Commenting on the regulatory firewall surrounding patient data, co-founder Larry Page sniffed, "We regulate ourselves out of some really great possibilities." Whining aside—and it is a common reaction among businesses testing the medtech waters only to discover formidable regulatory rip currents—Google has pioneered some potential game changers, from the use of Glass in the operating room to a contact lens that monitors glucose levels via tears. The full impact of these technologies may still be years away, but it's the company's unbridled ambition and potential to dramatically alter the medtech landscape that MD+DI has, rightly, recognized in naming Google the medtech company of the year.