While the COVID crisis created an overwhelmingly negative impact on several business sectors, the MedTech industry itself had witnessed constant ups and downs throughout the ongoing pandemic.
Elevating demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostic tests, ventilators, testing kits, and other critical medical supplies, along with subsequent inadequacies of all these devices, took an enormous toll on the healthcare companies. To respond to this alarming situation, the MedTech industry remained dynamic and flexible, acquiring distinct measures to ramp up manufacturing capabilities for medical devices. Further, MedTech leaders were exploring many creative solutions to broaden supplement capacities such as open-source equipment design, collaboration with other companies, and deployment of medical professionals to support critical health needs.
On the other hand, the medical technology industry had also experienced a huge decline in revenue, owing to the cancellation of elective medical procedures during this pandemic; most hospitals were solely focusing on treating the COVID-19 patients exclusively, cutting down their resources on other procedures.
How Difficult Was It for the MedTech Industry to Thrive During the Pandemic?
Although the MedTech industry is operating swiftly after defeating the COVID-19 crisis, many challenges restricting the industry’s development are yet to be overcome. While innovative moves and creative thinking are two crucial assets for the MedTech industry to overcome the logistical and technical obstacles during the process of developing devices, implementation of nimble and agile techniques is an absolute need of the hour, especially in this tightly regulated scenario after the pandemic. Additionally, the industry must engage in explicit and robust procedures to meet development deadlines, alongside reducing risk for the users involved in the testing programs.
MedTech’s Strategic Priorities
After the global pandemic, MedTech leaders are prioritizing growth in revenue or sales by bringing about a revolution in R&D and innovation, especially in digital solutions and robotic processes.
Here are the areas where MedTech is strategizing its growth.
- Internal Processes: MedTech is prioritizing its cost reduction strategy by mitigating third-party expenses and reducing overhead costs. The medical technology industry is currently emphasizing on the improvement of R&D performance, and standardization of medical processes, which in turn will increase the internal efficiencies.
- Offerings: MedTech’s offerings have been drastically changed after being hit by the COVID pandemic. To cope with the current scenario, the industry is expanding its digital offerings with AI, robotics, digital health, and digital surgery. Also, through rapid innovation and integration of technologies, MedTech is further focusing on improving its traditional R&D structure, which promises to reshape MedTech soon.
- Stakeholder Engagement: The COVID pandemic has transformed MedTech through digital medical innovations. Digitization in the medical domain has resulted in increasing stakeholder engagement, along with digital engagement. Also, with the elevating stakeholder engagement, it has been easier for MedTech to further drive technological awareness as well as demonstrate value to patients, clinic/hospital managers, and payers. Additionally, stakeholder engagement in MedTech ensures stable relationships with business partners.
MedTech’s Post-Pandemic Priorities
The MedTech industry worldwide is quickly revamping its value chain for serving healthcare’s immediate needs. However, apart from this continued crisis resilience resulting from the pandemic, MedTech companies should also consider further imperatives to bolster the plan for long-term recovery.
- Demand Prioritization As stated already, medical technology companies had witnessed a sudden reduction in demand for services and products related to elective procedures. Parallelly, the hike in demand for devices such as diagnostic kits, PPE, and ventilators was also noticed during the pandemic. To successfully navigate through this scenario, MedTech companies should emphasize agility and need to be ready to provide a quick response to robust demand for products, keeping in mind the realignment of demand for devices in the future.
- Dynamic Supply Chain Quite understandably, the supply chain had been disrupted during the COVID-19 crisis. To keep it dynamic, the MedTech industry can adopt and incorporate the latest 3D printing technologies directly at the sites of critical implants, thus maintaining the service flow. This involves performing certain product manufacturing procedures (ventilator valves, etc.) directly at the hospital, instead of receiving the product from manufacturers.
“While the Medtech sector is among the hardest hit by the global pandemic, resulting in historic demand spikes and equipment shortages, it is also characterized by unparalleled innovation and collaboration from people around the world. With the pandemic still a reality in our day-to-day lives, it is clear that a new approach to supply chain planning and collaboration is required.”
- Digital Technology Adoption: MedTech companies should also embrace contemporary digital technology solutions to add value to their existing services and products. This can ease the critical procedural and product training in the device industry. Fruitful outcomes of innovative digital technology, like telehealth and telemonitoring, have gained immense popularity worldwide throughout the COVID-19 crisis, in terms of supporting medical professionals, stakeholders, and infected and non-infected patients.
- Digitization of Clinical Tools: The integration of digital technologies into clinical platforms makes patient evaluation processes much easier, providing effective and safe outcomes for patients. Apart from this, combining digital platforms with data analytics and real-world evidence aids the monitoring process of a product’s performance, throughout its lifecycle.
- Virtual Patient Care: Incorporation of machine learning technologies and artificial intelligence into clinical platforms for expanding and enriching the utility of products, services, and procedures is the need of the hour. The healthcare industry is now heading towards fast adoption of forefront technologies to provide remote support and care to patients. Telemedicine/virtual health technologies and MedTech apps are helping the industry support the healthcare system in making the most use of available resources while minimizing unnecessary patient exposure.
The Way Forward
The COVID-19 outbreak had brought the world to its knees, as it struggled to manage an overwhelming global health crisis. However, the pandemic also granted an opportunity to the MedTech industry for collaborating with regulators, providers, payers, policymakers, patients, and physicians. It was imperative for the medical device industry to concentrate on speeding manufacturing efficiency, achieving an ‘absolute benchmark’ in product design and development, and building agile organizations to play critical roles in combating the crisis. Looking forward to achieving successful outcomes in the near term, the MedTech industry has manifested a risk-based response scheme, coupled with unified communication. This has provided MedTech a fair chance to win the uphill battle against COVID-19 in the future.