In the face of escalating costs and the pressures of rising and ageing populations, the healthcare sector is focused on innovation to sustain services and grow income, which in turn is delivering opportunities for investors.
"Innovation is resetting perceptions of value in healthcare," says Kevin Lyne-Smith, Managing Director, Global Head of Equities, at HSBC. "With the long-term cost of chronic illness mounting, investment in areas such as biotech or gene therapy, as well as enabling technologies, is beginning to make more sense."
As the appetite and market for these innovations increases, so too does the investment in innovation – creating a virtuous circle of health and social care improvement. Freeing up time and resources is crucial to a sector that, certainly in many advanced economies, is creaking. The twin pressures of an increasingly ageing population, often with multiple chronic illnesses, as well as the growing number of individuals living with, rather than dying from, conditions, is being felt by countries and health authorities around the world.
Improved patient experience
Simple wearable devices or home monitoring/sensing devices can keep patients at home for longer and arguably provide more robust and regular data feeds to monitor their conditions, diagnose symptoms of concern and provide timely intervention when necessary.
"Previously, patients with arrhythmia or heart conditions, for example, would spend weeks in hospital, having their symptoms measured at regular intervals," says Kevin. "Now, that can be done at home – where the patient is more relaxed, the risk of infection is removed and both a hospital bed and staff time is freed up."
The same could be said for the elderly, where in-home and wearable sensors could alert staff to changes in hydration levels, lack of movement or even a fall. "Many of these devices exist, but what will be a real game changer will be the rollout of 5G, which will allow their full potential to be realised," says Kevin. "Faster connectivity, greater bandwidth and stability of connection will enhance patient and user experience."
"Covid-19 has changed the way Big Pharma works forever. The need to move quickly has revolutionised the industry, making it more agile, more innovative and opening up new areas of collaboration." Kevin Lyne-Smith, Managing Director, Global Head of Equities, HSBC.