COVID-19 has changed the world. The medical world has had to overcome unprecedented challenges, and orthopedics are no different. There has been a major loss of revenue for surgeons, hospitals, contract manufacturers, and OEMS.
We all face uncertainty of the future. Professionals predict the future results from the pandemic will last into 2022 and possibly even farther than that. But, we remain optimistic about getting better and for orthopedics, and other fields, to start growing again.
Until then, there are several trends present in the field that we expect to continue.
1. Uses in Technology
Virtual communication has become essential in keeping everyone connected and healthy. People use the technology to stay in touch with doctors, patients, vendors, colleagues, customers, and many more. Telemedicine, online conferences, webinars, and virtual reality education for procedures are examples of the technology’s uses.
This technology is helping our economy stay intact and will keep it moving forward.
2. Care Delivery and Supply
Providers will be working through a backlog or surgeries. They need efficiency in product sterilization, logistics, more transparency, and the O.R. These changes should create greater automations of the supply chain, more single-use sterilized products, and the surgical process.
Increased amounts of orthopedic procedures will move to ASCs and hospitals working with ASCs to direct previously healthy patients to these alternative care sites. Also, traditional sales representative roles will be under increased judgment.
3. Robots in the O.R.
After a period of confusion and delay, professionals will use robots in the O.R. increasingly. Orthopedics’ greatest assets altered R&D investment along with methods to enable technologies in the future. We expect the purchasing of capital equipment to fall behind in 2021. This is a result of the hospitals’ recovery from the loss of revenue.
Robots in use are likely to be used in surgery. Device companies will likely keep investing in imaging, robotics, and planning. The technologies will likely be cheaper and more versatile in the future.
4. Additive Manufacturing
The use of 3D printing is growing continually in orthopedics because companies can use the technology to their advantage. Many small companies–especially in spine–are fabricating portfolios focused entirely on 3D printing. Such companies might be disadvantaged because of their small portfolio.
More contract manufacturers, and orthopedic companies and will likely budget their equipment purchases more closely and pause new machines’ investments.
5. Rise of ASCs
When restrictions on elective surgeries are lifted, ASCs will likely return to average or even max procedure amounts before hospitals. Patients will search for as little exposure as possible to other patients and will probably choose these smaller settings as opposed to a hospital. Companies will gain a lot from this in the short term.
The future is not absolute. Nobody knows for certain how COVID-19 will have an effect on the future of orthopedics. The adjustment phase will likely be ambiguous, sporadic, and consistent.
Procedure volumes will be affected by the delay of elective procedures and high unemployment rates, and economic upheaval. Potential patients without insurance will delay and cancel appointments. People with jobs will fear missing work because of the risk of losing their jobs.
Procedure volumes will also be affected by patients who fear contracting COVID-19 and operating room competition. Other areas of medicine are competing for patients’ time as well.
Thunder Basin Orthopaedics is Here to Help You Thrive in 2021
For the best orthopedic care in the Gillette or Douglas area, look no further than Thunder Basin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
Treating everything from fractures and traumatic injuries to joint replacement and sports injuries, Thunder Basin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine gives individualized treatment using a variety of techniques to operate with less damage to the body.
Looking for the skilled staff and top surgeons to get you back on your feet and back in the game? Contact Thunder Basin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today. You can also find new patient paperwork here to get a head start on your orthopedic needs!