A recent survey of medical device industry leaders finds that they are shifting their perspective toward digital technologies in the wake of COVID-19. The survey found that “digital and remote solutions will have permanent place in the medical device industry, even as more than half expect for business to normalize in Q2 2021.” The survey was conducted by ExplORer Surgical, which develops an intraoperative case support and workflow platform.

ExplORer Surgical previously conducted a survey in May 2020 on the immediate challenges facing the industry in light of the pandemic. While there are still many unknowns about the pandemic’s long-term effects on the medical device industry, this latest survey sheds light on how companies have adapted to those challenges and how it will continue to do so. It even offers hopeful indications on when leaders expect operations to resume to normalcy: 53 percent expect business to resume as normal by the end of Q2 2021.

“The pandemic has turned the concept of access on its head for many industries. We’ve listened closely to the needs of the medical device industry to enable efficient remote access for training and case support,” says Jennifer Fried, CEO of ExplORer Surgical. “The forced changes have left the partners we work with in awe of digital solutions, and we aren’t surprised by the notion that these tools are here for the long haul.”

The survey confirms that the pandemic has brought on loss in the industry (54 percent of respondents citing significant reduction in sales force and management teams) perpetuating the need for field team members to be more efficient, along with delayed product launches (38 percent of respondents). The increase in ambulatory surgical center and in-office procedures, driven by the need to free up hospital beds for COVID-19 patients, has also accelerated the necessity for medical device companies to reorganize field team responsibilities.

Approximately nine in ten respondents have experienced reduced access to cases for both non-sales and sales representatives, and 62 percent report that their training program has been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

However, despite the hardships, the survey notes that leaders are optimistic that business will resume mid-2021 and the significant uptick in digital solutions will find a place in resumed operations: 76 percent have adapted to a new normal and plan to continue incorporating digital and remote solutions.

Other highlights from the survey results from medical device leaders in sales, marketing, and training roles include:

  • 62 percent report that their training program has been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

  • 54 percent of respondents cite significant reduction in sales force and management teams and the need for field team members to be more efficient.

  • 38 percent of respondents reported delayed product launches.

Sherrie Trigg

Editor and Director of Medical Content