Zimmer Biomet reaches a new milestone with the completion of its spinoff, ZimVie. As the former dental and spine business of Zimmer Biomet, ZimVie is poised to unleash new opportunities in the dental industry. Czarmaine Masigla speaks with Maik Walther, general manager of ZimVie Dental Asia-Pacific, about this move and his plans in driving growth in the dental market.
Moving from a dental solutions provider to now a medical device company, what are some of the key takeaways you have brought along with you and how will they help shape the strategies you have developed for ZimVie Dental?
Maik Walther: First, I would say that our customers – the dental professionals — are looking for the best patient outcome based on treatment plans, and this is true across all segments of the dental industry. So, no matter what the company’s focus is, one should keep this in mind. This is the meaning of being customer-centric from my point of view, and at ZimVie our vision is totally in line with it.
The second takeaway for me is that the dental space, whether it is the industry or the providers, is currently challenged by new technologies. Many call it digital technology, but I would argue that it is not so much about digital, but using those new technologies, like software for design, planning and guided surgery, 3D printing hardware and CAM, new materials for digital technologies, training and education using digital technologies, advanced technical service and support to enable dentists to improve patient outcome in a quality-assured, repeatable and integrated way that benefits both their patients and their practice.
With ZimVie Dental, traditionally our focus is on a very specific application – implants. But our company as well as our competitors are shifting from being a medical parts manufacturer to an integrated total solutions provider. My background in a broader scope of dental products provides me with a holistic view of customer needs and enables me to put implant treatment in the bigger picture of oral healthcare. With my knowledge and experience, I am confident in leading ZimVie Asia-Pacific to become the next leader in integrated solutions.
Can you elaborate more on the debut of ZimVie, and how can this spinoff better serve the dental industry?
Walther: With the spinoff, there is the opportunity for us to combine the best of two worlds. Number one, with our background and history where we are coming from out of Zimmer Biomet, we have a strong history of innovation and providing best-in-class patient outcomes. We have products which are proven with clinical studies, clinical outcomes, and more. We also have built a loyal customer base and a strong footprint in the implant industry globally, including Asia-Pacific.
Number two is that with that spinoff, we are a large part of a smaller company, similar to a start-up but with established brands and products. We will be able to use our entrepreneurial spirit to advance what we are doing and be able to focus on our core business, to create resources by growing our business so that we can have innovations to support our dental professionals, our customers, and ultimately the patient. We will also be able to think outside the box, be curious and authentic, and eventually be accountable for our outcome with a strong growth mindset.
This is what I believe makes a spinoff like this exciting and also beneficial for the dental community. With the spinoff, we will focus on patient outcomes and provide solutions that dental professionals are looking for. We will be able to tap into that growth in the area here in Asia-Pacific and deliver what the community is expecting from us, which are new products, new technologies, new integrated workflow solutions for the best possible clinical outcomes and of course, patient satisfaction.
I think with a focus on speed, connectivity and reducing complexity, we can be more focused on employees and our customers – two of our most important assets.
How will digital dentistry transform the dental landscape, and more crucially, how can embracing this concept ultimately benefit both dental practitioners and their patients?
Walther: Digital dentistry is transforming the dental landscape. This is correct, but I would again see it more holistically.
The world is already digital. The key is how can we embed digital technologies into current workflows to improve patient outcomes, as well as the needs and expectations of dental professionals. Those needs and expectations can be several: reduced chair time, fewer patient visits and reduced margins of error resulting from the process of software data capturing to design to production. The more you can bring this together, the better.
A smoother workflow not only improves outcomes and reduces stress, but also improves staff retention and satisfaction at the clinic. To achieve this, the new technologies need to be validated, easy to use, integrated and serviced – ideally out of one provider.
Therefore, I believe that the focus needs to be on the integration of automated workflows. Of course, it is up to the dental professionals to decide whether they want to still have a manual workflow, a fully digital workflow, or a hybrid of both. And many parties need to collaborate to make this happen.
Thus, the better, we as the industry can help and support the integration of workflows, new materials and software with training, education, and service into the needs of the specific environment of the healthcare professionals, the more satisfied our customers and the patients will be.
This is our purpose, a job we do because ultimately, we want to enable our customers to have the benefits and outcomes they expect. With that, the dental professionals provide the patients with what they ultimately want – a happy and healthy smile.
In your opinion, how will new technologies drive growth in the dentistry market in the Asia-Pacific region?
Walther: The dental landscape in Asia-Pacific is poised for growth not only based on demographics but also on global developments which are changing the world order and shifting growth, innovation and scale towards this region. Therefore, the adoption of new technologies, new business models for sustainable healthcare outcomes and healthcare economics will be accelerated by this vibrant, fast-paced, solution-oriented, and very diverse landscape in Asia-Pacific.
I see the growth opportunities in a few areas: restorations solutions based on integrated digital technologies that drive patient outcomes and efficiency; higher adoption rates of biomaterials in implant surgeries which lead to predictability and long-term success; new implant surfaces and macro design that drive upgrades from older products; and lastly, more accessible medical education that increases the penetration rate of implant treatment, especially in emerging markets.
What other trends do you see taking place that will have a sustained impact on the Asia-Pacific dental industry, and how does ZimVie envision the next milestone in dentistry?
Walther: We are in the middle of finishing a milestone a few years from now. And that is to fully integrate new technologies to create a dental solution that improves patient outcomes. There are new emerging technologies like 3D printing that will open up possibilities for new materials and platforms for producing dental parts.
Our job as a manufacturer is not only to develop new technologies but also to do a better job of helping our dental professionals use new technologies and new products — this is where an integrated solution comes in. Our industry is pursuing solutions with products that help patients heal faster by using new surfaces on implants, combining them with biomaterials, and then using digital technologies for a more efficient surgery and healing process.
Oral health drives the overall health of the patient, and if you look at healthcare in a holistic view, dental health requires a lot of out-of-pocket money for the patients. But we all know that oral health will impact your whole body, whether it is your spine or whether you will have infections or not that cause a lot of diseases. So better outcomes, fewer complications and shorter chair times at the dental office will contribute to overall health economics and also help governments move forward in addressing the issues they have with increasing costs for healthcare.
I believe that like other industries where new technologies drive innovation, which then helps our world to be greener, to overcome the current threats we have to our environment and ultimately to mankind, the same will happen in the dental industry. And I think Asia-Pacific, with the diversity we have, will drive this trend.
Published in Dental Asia July/August 2022 issue.