Three Areas Of Tech For Investors To Watch As Pandemic Reshapes Healthcare


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the ways people interact and communicate with one another. It has also profoundly reshaped the healthcare sector at the same time. The pandemic is not only leading to reforms of antiquated healthcare regulations and changes to how people seek services, but is also transforming and elevating the sector to a new stage, spawning investment opportunities.

Technology has progressed rapidly in our society, and people have been trying to connect the rising stars to the incumbent giants. Now might be the perfect time for the two to combine. The ensuing question is this: What kind of changes will occur to the healthcare sector in the post-pandemic world, and which groups of companies related to this transformation are worth our attention for long-term investments?

Demand and regulation changes will drive continued adoption of telemedicine.

Becker’s Hospital Review noted that “connectivity in combination with mobile devices is making home-based services like telepharmacy and telemedicine a reality.” The tendency for consumers to utilize telepharmacy and telemedicine is rising, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when some people prefer to consult medical doctors at home than to visit them at hospitals out of fear of contracting the virus. More importantly, digital access to medical services through laptops and mobile devices is convenient and efficient, echoing the wishes of many to receive remote medical treatment while staying at home.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Harvard professor Robert S. Huckman explained that several arcane regulations restricting the healthcare industry are being eased to improve the distribution and exposure of telemedicine services. He noted that to increase the physician workforce for telemedicine, states and the federal government are reducing the requirements for physicians to obtain licenses before practicing in another state.

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As a result, traditional healthcare groups have started branching into telemedicine to cater to consumers’ increasing demands for “homecare” services. To illustrate how much demand has risen, the HBR article noted that telemedicine unicorn Teladoc Health saw a 50% visit volume increase during the week ending March 13 and more than 40% share price increase during the week starting March 16.

Affordability concerns will direct more consumers toward healthcare platforms.

Fever, shortness of breath and coughing are typical symptoms of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Gallup poll recently found that one out of every seven U.S. adults claimed they would avoid seeking care for themselves or members of their household if they had a fever and a dry cough because of cost concerns. However, what’s really heartbreaking is that among people who believed they had COVID-19, 9% still said they would not seek treatment due to costs.

The fact that medical expenses keep some people from getting healthcare further exacerbates the pandemic and contracts the sector. But incorporating technology into healthcare may fundamentally change the public’s choice of healthcare providers because platforms can provide some of the same services as traditional providers but at a lower cost.

The pandemic will motivate companies to develop new early detection technology.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of early health screening and detection because the mortality rate is higher for people with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. This will foster continued development of innovative technologies used in medical science and generate new investment opportunities.

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Due to special circumstances like social distancing and skyrocketing demand for healthcare, we will likely witness the introduction of new healthcare services and technologies and greater adoption of technologies that were not widely used before the outbreak. Yet, when consumers start to realize that these services, such as telemedicine, are more convenient — and, in some cases, more affordable — than face-to-face medical diagnoses, these services will become the new normal of the post-pandemic world. These emerging technologies and services could seize the market share of traditional healthcare and bring opportunities for investors.



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