Health care industry overview
Medical instruments are an innovation that have been around almost as long as humans themselves but the modern medical equipment manufacturing industry only dates back to the mid 1800’s. It was at that time that the medical profession as we know it now became more structured, and doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals required more reliability and consistency in their medical utensils and apparatus.
Modern medical technology is universally utilised in hospitals, dentists, clinics, medical laboratories, outpatient centres, and many other facilities where patients come to be diagnosed and treated. Medical technology, along with medicines and developments in public health (safety, sanitation, vaccines), have enhanced the length and quality of human life.
The medical equipment manufacturing industry designs and produces an extensive variety of medical equipment products that can diagnose problems, monitor progress (or regress), and help cure the illnesses that affect people everyday. Products array from low-cost tools, such as tongue depressors, to complex, expensive systems such as CAT scanners and products as diverse as hip implants, miniature robots that perform complex surgeries, pacemakers, stethoscopes, replacement joints, wearables, medical laboratory diagnostic instruments, test kits, synthetic skin, artificial hearts, scalpels, and drug development. Also, computer software is now an integral part of the health and medical supplies industry with patient management software, and software that is used as a component in medical devices in very common usage.
The prominent healthcare trends and medical industry trends that we experience today are ground-breaking technologies that pay attention to the necessities for disease management, clinical diagnosis and treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic has heralded an increase in technology used for sterilizing, detecting and preventing disease spread and transmission, as well as for patient management, treatment, and vaccination. Developments in the health and medical industry range from telemedicine and e-consultations and actual diagnosis to digital therapy provided by immersion technology tools. The evolution of genetic analysis, big data & analytics, and clinical data storage has helped to enable the progress of precision medicine and equipment.
The impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare industry
The COVID 19 pandemic has created chaos for health services and healthcare providers (like Medicare) on global markets and led to the counterfeiting of face masks and the shortage of hand sanitizers as well as several other disruptions of the supply chain. These disturbances in the health and medical equipment supply chain have pointedly impacted the methods of sourcing, procurement, and also the organisation of essential medical apparatus inventories.
Healthcare facilities have responded to these supply-chain disturbances by stockpiling products that are available. This type of unrestricted purchasing is causing further pressure on the health and medical industry and has also affected the levels of care available as it has led to the counterfeiting of face masks and sanitizers among other products in developing countries. This has a negative holistic impact on the health and medical industry as a whole.
America boasts one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, but rising health care expenses and a low medical volume have rendered America’s healthcare system susceptible to COVID-19, and has seriously affected the supply chain.
The pandemic has also fast-tracked the implementation of telemedicine by many organized healthcare systems, governments, doctors, and patients. In order to confront the pandemic, world governments have drawn up telemedicine strategies to help decongest healthcare services. This helps to reduce the load on medical facilities and also lessens the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) as medical practitioners are able to contact their patients via telecommunication. Additionally, telehealth services increase the effectiveness of social distancing, remotely assisting elderly people, which reduces vital bed spaces, and conserving important clinical supplies.
This segment experienced a decreasing growth rate in the period of the first quarter of 2020 and it is predicted it will take two to three years for the strategies for mitigating the impact to be fully functional and the industry to return to standard practice. Until this time the health and medical industry is predicted to grow slowly in the coming years.1 These events will, of course, have a knock-on effect for buyers as the reopening will drag the industry out of its slump and project it upwards at a fast pace. This will result in stabilising costs for buyers and an upgrade in quality as more buyers enter the market.
Health and medical trends to watch out for in the future
Working supply chains are fast coming to the forefront of care delivery. This is happening in ways that we haven’t previously seen in health care and getting it correct necessitates strategic systems-thinking in all functions of the organization. Part of this thinking includes increasing storage capacities and encouraging self-distribution. There is a new trend leaning towards self-distribution methods which allow people to purchase in bulk, control movement, and lessen the reliance on products in danger of being exhausted.
The ultimate worth of vendor-of-choice partnerships became apparent as physicians, hospitals, pharma establishments and clinics fought to precure pandemic-related provisions. One of the most significant aspects is securing a balance between cost, performance and trust. Getting low prices from a supplier but not receiving priority treatment is not what you would ideally want during a global crisis; nor is the total reliance on one supplier without having contingency plans in place. Several organizations develop networks with levels of back-up suppliers to gain flexibility, fast delivery, and some certainty that vital products will be there when needed.
Health and medical experts predict that in real time most care will be delivered at home by 2040, either in outpatient situations or virtually. Acclimatizing to this new method of care (in particular the supplies and delivery procedures) will necessitate partnerships with diverse types of sellers and other entities, including retailers, technology providers, and contract personnel.
Artificial intelligence, virtual care and virtual reality
One of the predictions for the future of the health and medical industry is that we can expect to see (in health and medical supply chains) more Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation software. This technology won’t only free important staff from repetitive tasks but also help managers in providing resources for employees and identifying trends.
The technological progress of AI and automation in the healthcare market is happening at an increased rate. This progress has affected many aspects of the industry including the quality and efficiency in radiology. AI is having a profound effect in radiology as it is offering solutions to reducing redundant tasks, identifying image data patterns in order to predict risks and eliminate bias based reading errors.
Big establishments are now harnessing current information to drive the care development. A good example of this is Command Center Software Platforms who combine predictive analytics, systems engineering, and problem-solving to control patient movement in and through the health system while also managing to maintain the patient experience, clinical quality and safety, and keep up to date electronic health records. The growth of next gen apps to support caregivers is continuing to produce a great performance.
Also, automation is positively restructuring health system business operations that rely on repetitive jobs, such as customer service, the supply chain, and the revenue cycle. The world can expect to see new sensors in the health and medical industry such as weather forecasting, HL7, cameras, speakers etc. that can improve efficiency and population health management in even more important ways.