Data with Integrity: Uniting to tap the power of information

Data with Integrity, a programme driven by the South African Medical Technology Industry Association (SAMED), will build an increasingly detailed and reliable picture of the medtech sector in South Africa.

Its foundation is the periodic contribution of accurate company-level information by individual SAMED members and the collation and analysis of this data.

Its value lies in producing information to position the medtech industry more strategically in terms of its contribution to economic growth and the transformation of the national health system.

Why we need industry-wide data

SAMED offers its members a credible platform to engage stakeholders on matters of critical importance to the medtech industry. However, our representations to parliament, government departments, regulators, major health sector role-players and business associations have lacked solid industry-wide data that would strengthen our arguments.

Data with Integrity is designed to fill this gap by collecting, securely storing, consolidating and analysing information supplied by our members and any other medtech companies who wish to participate.

Possession of quality information is a form of power. SAMED and the industry’s hand will be strengthened by Data with Integrity when engaging in advocacy, negotiation and the law-making process and forging working partnerships.

Companies contributing to Data with Integrity will be entitled to access the aggregated information to assist them in the planning and conduct of their business. We believe a better understanding of the environment in which they operate will be advantageous to all companies participating in Data with Integrity.

SAMED will use this Data with Integrity’s reports when:

Making formal submissions on proposed legislation and government policy documents.

Engaging with government and regulatory bodies on the implementation of legislation.

Contributing to national business organisations, including Business Unity South Africa.

Accessing public sector support for development of local medtech innovation and manufacturing.

Participating in structures of the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, African Union and other international bodies.

Mobilising the industry to assist in national health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

What kind of data we will collate and analyse
Data will be requested from members every six months. Initially the data collection form will be short and information will be fairly general. With each round of data collection we will introduce a few new items until the full set is contained in the form. This phased approach has been adopted to make it easier for members to participate and avoid them feeling overwhelmed at the start of the project.

Examples of the information we will be asking for are:

  • A company profile (required information will be specified).
  • Employment figures and B-BBEE details.
  • Product portfolio, using Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN).
  • Volume of products supplied by product class.
  • Annual turnover in monetary value.
  • Share of total sales to private and public sector clients respectively.
  • Size of government debt to company.
  • Research and development activities.
  • Information pertaining to issues that are current at time of collection.

Data with Integrity will start with more general topics and build up to those that are complex and may require some preparation.

How we will protect and respect your information

Confidentiality and data security have been central concerns of Data with Integrity, as the name of the programme suggests. Measures have been put in place to ensure that no company can access another company’s data. Members of the SAMED board and its committees will not be able to view individual company data. We are fully conscious that such access would constitute anti-competitive practice and destroy the trust on which SAMED is based.

In addition:

  • Data with Integrity is managed by an independent service provider bound by a non-disclosure agreement. Only the service provider and the SAMED secretariat have access to individual data returns.
  • SAMED structures only have access to aggregate data, reflecting the position of the industry or various categories of company.
  • Individual members will have access to their own data and a standard set of aggregate data. Data with Integrity will not do data extraction “to order” for any individual company.
  • Data will be managed at all times in compliance with:
    • Relevant provisions of the Competition Act and guidance provided by the Competition Commission.
    • The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). This ensures that company data would never be provided to any third party except where this is consistent with objectives of Data with Integrity. For example, it would supply government with a list of suppliers of critically needed medtech in a national health emergency.
    • Data will be securely stored in encrypted form in South African Microsoft Azure, a cloud platform, and best security practice will be followed in managing the portal and storage.