COVID-19 had a particular impact on medical processes, with the effect on the medical device industry being twofold. On the one hand, the supply chains of all companies, from start-ups in their first years to global leaders, were severely disrupted.
Many sub-tier suppliers stopped production or at least drastically slowed it under the strict isolation restrictions. Traveling restrictions negatively affected the interaction between engineers and quality teams from both sub-suppliers and device manufacturers.
On the other hand, except for some specific product lines, demand for devices dropped in light of the pause on elective surgeries.
As the medical supply chain was forced to shift during the pandemic, interesting trends emerged. First, medical teams became society’s heroes while public attention was focused on their challenging and demanding work, especially with the healthcare supply chain disrupted.
Second, tremendous financial and medical resources were reallocated to meet demand for the tools needed to combat COVID-19, such as ventilators. Other, less relevant devices were a lower priority.
Lastly, remote communication, mainly based on video, became the hallmark of this era. Reliance on video as a major source of communication is here to stay.
The use of video technology allows for remote diagnostics, presents an incisionless way to get information from inside the body and permits the use of minimally invas
ive therapeutic procedures. Hence, video technology, and the production and delivery of these products, plays a critical role in a time when only essential surgeries are taking place.
Beyond video, the innovation that will play a larger role in the medical world should we face another disruption in our daily lives is medical robotics (which, in turn, is directly related to video technology). In addition, the best practices established under strict limitation and constraints might have long-term, positive impacts on the industry.
Yaron Silberman is CEO of ScoutCam, which develops and manufactures customized visualization solutions.