With the outbreak of COVID-19, the medical industry has found itself between a rock and a hard place. Health technology companies, in particular, are experiencing challenges as they try to shift their focus on virology, immunology, and epidemiology. Besides fighting the virus, medical tech companies and professionals have to keep up with other unmet health needs that require continued funding, research, and trials. Due to this phenomenon, MedTech companies must continue their current projects to explore new innovations and opportunities to contain coronavirus.
This article looks at the challenges and opportunities posed by COVID-19 and how companies offering healthcare IT services are responding to them.
Challenges facing Medical IT Companies
At the onset of coronavirus, medical tech companies were forced to halt all clinical trials. They could not bring patients into clinics and hospitals because it was no longer safe to do so. While most operations can be executed remotely, visiting patient’s homes for clinical trials is definitely not a good idea.
Companies at the commencing stage in the middle of clinical trials could not move forward. The risk of exposure of patients and medical professionals was too great. Besides that, doctors responsible for conducting trials shifted their focus to treating COVID-19 patients, causing further delay.
2. Withdrawn Funding
The pandemic has disrupted every sector of the economy, and the healthcare industry was not exceptional. This resulted in a freeze or slowdown from investors. Most investors shifted their funds into COVID-related projects. Investors halted funding non-COVID-related MedTech companies based on the rationale that at one point, these companies could not move forward with clinical trials. Other investors are holding their money in a “wait and see” mode waiting for the new norm to completely unfold.
Opportunities for Healthcare Technology Companies
Despite the challenges, the current state of affairs has also presented a number of silver linings, among them being:
Companies offering healthcare IT services were forced to adjust and adapt to the new norm. The medical industry adopted video conferencing, which has proved to drive efficiency. Although invested dollars have slowed, other investors continue to advance funding, with most of these investment deals being completed online. The cooperation of public-private partnerships in healthcare has been pushed a level higher, and this is not expected to change after the pandemic situation is dealt with.
Although in-person operations have reduced, remote working is proving to be effective for some medical personnel such as medical coders and billers.
Coronavirus pandemic has heightened the need for accurate and timely diagnosis to guide therapy. As medical professionals focus on acute comorbidities and other illnesses cooccurring with COVID-19, long-term and chronic morbidities resulting from the virus are being discovered.
This has sparked the need for additional research, creating an opportunity for healthcare investors and companies. Investors and MedTech companies are funding technology innovations steered towards treating long-term COVID patients and those battling complications caused by the disease.
Medical tech companies and science investors should understand the role they play in the healthcare industry. With thousands of companies in the life science industry, there are numerous opportunities to explore, be it in short-term coronavirus solutions, unmet medical needs, or finding long-term solutions to the challenges.