2021 Healthcare Industry Outlook | The Monitor

John Sparta|Feb 12, 2021

Article originally appeared in The Monitor.

COVID-19 has swiftly increased the adoption rate for transformative technologies and opened new areas of opportunity for 2021. John Sparta of DLL discusses how the healthcare industry must embrace flexibility and leverage innovation to ensure a strong future.

The healthcare industry is, arguably, one of the most heavily impacted industries by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic, it was expected that transformative technologies like artificial intelligence, at-home diagnostics and virtual care would continue to gain traction through 2020 and beyond. While wheels were already in motion in these areas, last year’s unexpected events swiftly increased the rate of adoption for these technologies and opened new areas of opportunity for 2021.

Impact of COVID-19

When it came to equipment, there was a rapid pivot in the demand for certain assets. Early in the pandemic, some hospitals scrambled to accommodate the influx of patients. There was a shortage of beds, ventilators, ambulances, personal protective equipment (PPE) and more. For certain geographies, surges of COVID-19 cases did not materialize, but the imposed restrictions (and understandable reluctancy) still resulted in a drop in elective and non-emergency procedures, ultimately negatively impacting revenues and staffing, not to mention patients. These began picking back up over the summer months, but as cases spiked again toward the end of the year, elective procedures and routine visits again slowed.

While many customers sought temporary payment relief and paused acquisition plans, there was also a clear demand for specific asset types. To meet the shift in demand, the equipment finance industry saw extended payment terms offerings become an increasingly popular solution, as they allowed providers to quickly scale equipment as needed – acquiring immediately and beginning to pay later. We expect flexible payment solutions to remain a popular option as providers seek to preserve cash as the economy recovers.

John Sparta
Healthcare and Clean Technology
Global Business Unit
2020 has shown us that ensuring a strong future for the healthcare industry requires embracing flexibility and change and leveraging innovation."

What’s Next in Healthcare

2020 has shown us that ensuring a strong future for the healthcare industry requires embracing flexibility and change and leveraging innovation.

Digitalization has become a major component in a sustainable healthcare model. Virtual care and telemedicine enabled the continuity of care during the recent health crisis, and these solutions are expected to continue growing in importance as patients value the efficiency and convenience. In fact, according to Frost & Sullivan, the telehealth market is now projected to grow seven-fold by 2025.

As virtual care continues to grow, innovations in at-home diagnostics will continue to evolve, optimizing the level of care providers can offer through a computer screen or mobile device. Some examples include wearables with enhanced features that capture and provide real-time data, at-home breathing tests that measure lung capacity and the use of distance monitoring of medicine through chips that allow doctors to intervene when needed.

In addition, we expect to see increased deployment of technology to disinfect and sanitize surfaces in hospitals and offices, keeping patients, doctors and staff safe when in-person visits are necessary.