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Pandemic provokes acceleration of healthcare innovation

In this article:

    If any good at all is to come of the pandemic, it is already being seen in the rapid and innovative response of the healthcare and medical technology world to a profound and urgent need. Stretching far beyond the development of effective vaccines, this response offers enormous investment potential.  

    With much of the world on lockdown (or still dealing with its effects) and social contact discouraged, healthcare provision has taken on a whole new complexion.

    Telehealth/telemedicine – the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients unable to visit a clinic or surgery – has proved not only a life-saver but to be highly cost-efficient. According to some reports, video and online medical appointments rose by more than 4 000% in 2020. The global telehealth and telemedicine market is expected to grow from an estimated USD 38.7 billion in 2020 to reach USD 191.7 billion by 2025, not least due to increasing technology adoption in the wake of Covid-19.

    A heightened awareness of health issues has increased the use of applications and wearable personal health trackers, reducing appointment pressures on surgeries. Technology in the form of internet and mobile applications has helped governments needing to track and trace the infected.

    One technology consulting group claims that the reliance on big data will play a key role in the future of medical technologies, along with software that allows clinicians to sift efficiently through heaps of information. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality will contribute to helping doctors weave their way through an increasingly digital world. The transparency of data offered by the Internet of Medical Things promises to make healthcare an altogether fairer industry.

    Medical technology is characterised by constant innovation. In 2019, nearly 14 000 patent applications were filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) in the field of medical technology, more than in any other technical field. In Europe, there are more than 32 000 medical technology companies, employing some 730 000 people.

    We believe some of the key investible themes in medical innovation include 

    • The plummeting cost of genome analysis enabling better targeted disease treatment
    • Improved methods of targeted drug delivery
    • Miniaturisation of devices for non-invasive treatments and diagnostics
    • Big data solutions for analysis and telemedicine. 

    These approaches could lead to more accessible, cost-effective and coordinated care.

    Check out our infographic to see the potential investment opportunities in medical innovation

    Also read:

    Healthcare – Rocked by the pandemic, the prospects are intact

    Spotting the mega trends and the potential winners

    Creation and disruption in healthcare (podcast)

    Please note that articles may contain technical language. For this reason, they may not be suitable for readers without professional investment experience. Any views expressed here are those of the author as of the date of publication, are based on available information, and are subject to change without notice. Individual portfolio management teams may hold different views and may take different investment decisions for different clients. This document does not constitute investment advice. The value of investments and the income they generate may go down as well as up and it is possible that investors will not recover their initial outlay. Past performance is no guarantee for future returns. Investing in emerging markets, or specialised or restricted sectors is likely to be subject to a higher-than-average volatility due to a high degree of concentration, greater uncertainty because less information is available, there is less liquidity or due to greater sensitivity to changes in market conditions (social, political and economic conditions). Some emerging markets offer less security than the majority of international developed markets. For this reason, services for portfolio transactions, liquidation and conservation on behalf of funds invested in emerging markets may carry greater risk.

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