In recent years, healthcare companies as a whole have outperformed the broader market. Many trends in the healthcare sector such as telehealth (connecting patients and health professionals) and wearables (wearable electronic devices that send data to doctors) were advanced and accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the medical technology market has grown by 10-14% in comparison to just 4% between 2017 and 2019. Healthcare stocks have risen, and top performing companies are posting stock gains of up to 116% in areas including medical technology, rapid diagnostics, and healthcare payments.
Several promising new technologies in medicine emerged from the pandemic, forcing healthcare into the future, and many of these technologies need to be used together. Public hospitals and healthcare companies are having to alter the way they treat patients and manage data, through the implementation of AI and machine learning, as well as 3D printing solutions, and according to the World Economic Forum, more than one billion people will need reskilling in medical technologies by 2030.
Technology trends are expected to grow, and the medical technology sector is not immune, with technologies such as cybersecurity, 3D printed devices, 5G technologies, medical robots and AI and machine learning among them. Some of the most promising investment opportunities lie amongst the following areas within the healthcare sector:
RPM allows doctors and health professionals to monitor patients without them being physically present, allowing for faster response times, better patient outcomes and significant cost reductions. RPM devices witnessed a global impact from Covid-19 with a positive demand across all regions and the market is expected to grow to USD 101.02 billion in 2028.
There’s a growing prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases, and around 1.13 billion patients worldwide suffer with hypertension according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). There is also an increasing prevalence in chronic diseases affecting the geriatric population, an age band which is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2050 according to the WHO. RPM allows for up-to-date continuous monitoring of these patients, checking vital signs and allowing for effective management of the disease.
AI takes on many different forms in healthcare, primarily utilized for evaluating large amounts of patient data via machine learning. This can assist physicians by suggesting diagnoses, treatments and medications based on the data gathered from the patient’s medical records and history, as well as current symptoms.
AI will radically shape the dynamics of many industries, and according to PWC it could potentially contribute USD 15.7 billion in 2030. Incorporating AI and machine learning into healthcare can help increase accessibility to healthcare, provide early recognition of risks and real-time data, as well as offering time and cost efficiency by taking the load off clinicians. In order to reap the benefits of these trends, daily routines need to be adapted to advanced technologies, so that they can be integrated into the future of healthcare.
Patients with chronic illnesses require ongoing care such as symptom monitoring, behavioral changes, medication adjustments, and patient education. They can use an application on their personal computer or smartphone, and information about their wellbeing is reported back to their doctors who can prescribe digital therapeutics to their patients for specific medical conditions. This allows physicians to monitor their patients without them having to wait for appointments and physically seeing them on a regular basis.
Judging by the sheer amount of money funnelled into this space, investors are taking a huge interest in digital therapeutics. These include technologies related to telehealth and women’s health, wearable tech for monitoring health, and digital health apps. 35 to 40 digital therapeutics have been approved by the FDA since 2017, showing promise for mental health and substance abuse in the coming year, and the market is predicted to hit USD 13.1 billion by 2026.
Over the past years, several new technologies addressing the ongoing mental health needs of patients have emerged. This includes additional tools to help patients between appointments, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) used in digital therapeutics.
Despite economic pressures and market downturn, investors expect digital health in 2023 to bring in an estimated USD 15 billion to 25 billion. Many venture capitalists (VCs) are optimistic for 2023 and see bright spots for innovation in this sector and are expecting to make roughly the same number of health tech investments this year as last year. They believe that there is tremendous potential for value creation and that the overall ecosystem is quite healthy.
The invisible network formed by physical objects connected to the internet is what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT). For healthcare, this encompasses technologies such as wearable sensors and RPM. More than 500,000 web-enabled medical devices are interconnected with the purpose of providing accurate patient data, allowing physicians to monitor patients systematically and holistically.
The increasing technological advancements and growing expenditure on the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) in healthcare are anticipated to bolster significant investments while transforming and boosting market growth in the healthcare sector. The global market size of the IoMT is predicted to reach USD 187.6 billion by 2028.
From increased hacker attacks and risk of misleading diagnoses to tight labor market and logistics concerns, some of the major challenges faced by the healthcare industry have initiated current and new medical device technology trends. There are many investment opportunities on the horizon as cutting-edge medical device innovations are set to continue overhauling the market in the foreseeable future. Carefully consider which sector you wish to invest in by thoroughly researching, weighing out all the options and considering the possible outcomes.
By Jimmy Ahern
Keywords: Digital Transformation, Digital Disruption, HealthTech