The coronavirus that unleashed itself across the globe in 2020 has caused a level of chaos that the medical device industry hasn’t experienced in decades. Many hospital healthcare systems went into tailspins. Hospitals had to cancel or postpone most elective surgeries and forbid medical device company representatives from accessing hospital and medical center buildings. Marketing departments were pressed to alter their strategic plans surrounding promotional efforts and quickly pivot into zoom type “lunch-n-learn” meetings whenever vendor reps could book them. Several medical device and diagnostic companies have been left no choice but to layoff entire divisions or furlough reps until this pandemic gets under control. Companies that had plans to expand have had to do the exact opposite and contract. Hopes and prayers are that 2021 will offer more normalcy with the distribution of successful vaccines.
TRENDS THAT WILL TRANSFORM THE MEDICAL DEVICE INDUSTRY OUTLOOK IN 2021
One of the most profound changes in healthcare today is the use of medical devices that incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning in an attempt to diagnose diseases earlier and more efficiently. According to the FDA, artificial intelligence has the potential to fundamentally transform the delivery of healthcare offering more targeted therapies and big improvements in personalized medicine. The ability of artificial intelligence and machine learning software to learn from real world feedback and improve performance is spurring innovation and leading to the development of novel medical devices.
A robot called the Da Vinci Surgical System is currently used to assist in the operating room. Medical robots are starting to perform procedures beyond the standard programming. The number and level of tasks performed are expected to increase by $20 billion in sales in the next few years. One of the ways in which medical robots are anticipated to help in the future is by conducting exams in rural towns using telepresence. Robots of the future will offer better, targeted radiation therapy.
3D PRINTED OBJECTS
The use of 3D print technology is expanding. When used in the medical device industry, there are remarkable possibilities to prolong and even save lives. These 3D tools can be used for surgical procedures and prosthetics that are customized to patients providing a gateway to reproducing organs. This technology is helping the research and development of prototypes. There are also 3D printer capabilities being used more often in dentistry and orthodontics.
Genomic medicine is another area that continues to grow as genetic data is used to make clinical decisions about patient care. It involves the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to devise a plan of care that is tailored to the specific needs of a patient. It is gaining popularity in areas of infectious disease, oncology, cystic fibrosis and many other conditions. This diagnostic instrumentation segment of the medical device industry has been less affected by the Covid-19 crisis than traditional medical device companies. They continue to hire and expand despite the challenges that this virus brings.