The med-tech industry is sending “mixed signals” thanks to uneven recovery in procedure volumes in the U.S. and “soft/lumpy” volumes in China due to waves of COVID-19.
Those findings are based on comments from leading analysts and reported in MedTech Dive.
Morgan Stanley analysts predict that 2023 will be a better year for med-tech but they “don’t expect performance to be linear,” and they downgraded the industry from “attractive” to “in-line,” according to MedTech Dive.
That downgrade reflects the expectation that “macro factors will continue to broadly weigh on the industry relative to the market and healthcare.”
Staffing problems are expected to continue to limit the pace of recovery. Although some of the staffing challenges were brought on by the global pandemic which inspired large numbers of healthcare professionals to leave their jobs and the industry, other factors are also at play.
About 400,000 healthcare workers have left jobs since the start of the pandemic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Worldwide, healthcare workers also struggle as a result of high numbers of COVID-19 cases — often with far fewer resources.
Schools are not minting enough healthcare professionals to meet demand, even as baby boomers age and need more care. In fact, demand for healthcare workers will outpace supply by 2025, according to a Mercer analysis.
The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts a shortage of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032, as the over-65 population will grow by 48 percent. With the average age of a physician at 53.2 years old in 2021, many physicians soon will reach retirement age.
By 2026, physicians of retirement age will rise from 12 percent to 21 percent, according to the report.
At JP Morgan’s annual healthcare conference in January, one prevailing question was whether big money invested in healthcare due to COVID-19 would continue to flow and how demanding investors would be about seeing profits, according to Kasier Health News.
“I think this is a tricky year,” said Hemant Taneja, CEO of the venture capital firm General Catalyst, according to KHN’s reporting on one of the panels. He noted that large numbers of health tech startups were overvalued and that clients are more interested in whether they provide useful products.
The rapidly shifting legal and regulatory landscape also is expected to be a key issue for med-tech innovators in the future, according to MedCity News.
“We expect 2023 to be a pivotal year for the industry, as the accelerated acceptance of virtual care and demographic trends, such as an aging population, increasing chronic illnesses and healthcare worker shortages, sustain demand for med-tech-enabled solutions,” according to MedCity’s look at 10 key themes for the year.
Despite the overall downgrade for med-tech, the market for single-use endoscopes — used once and discarded, with no need for costly capital or reprocessing investments — is poised to grow to $2.5 billion by 2024.
Regulatory support has added to the forces driving single-use endoscopy in pulmonology and other clinical areas. Additional factors fueling the transition to single-use include workflow and flexibility, economics, and technology innovation.