In a world shaken by COVID-19, predictions can be somewhat unreliable; however, we will still put them into the perspective for those evaluating future investments to help them make the right decisions.
Sanitation, Virus-Fighting and Sickness Prevention. The U.S. is battling COVID-19 and it will be a long battle until a vaccine is invented. The U.S. health system is very ineffective at flattening the curve and the U.S. is likely to be opening and closing the economy back and forth, longer than most other countries due to differences in state-driven pandemic management regulations and a paralyzed federal government. As the federal government abdicated its responsibility for fighting the virus, citizens must, largely on their own, survive the pandemic. Everyone, especially the affluent minority, will not be shy about spending on virus-killing products, products that strengthen the immune system and protect from COVID-19 and similar viruses in the future.
Home-Based. mHealth (mobile health) and remote care are designed to keep patients at home and reduce overall costs while improving user experience and convenience. Healthcare is moving from the hospital room to the living room at a high speed. Manufacturers that historically make devices for hospitals, gyms, and other institutions have come up with scaled-down (and less expensive) versions of their products for home usage, which is further accelerating home-based care and reduces medical facility utilization to be only for emergencies and hospital procedures, especially under COVID-19. This will lead to more closing of hospitals and clinics and the virtualization of non-urgent and non-invasive care.
Patient-Driven. U.S. consumers are paying more and more out of pocket for their healthcare—they, naturally, want to minimize that spending and get better results for what they spend. Technology and abundant information give patients the ability to be an active participant in their wellness and treatment. More importantly, technology allows patients to monitor and prevent conditions that are especially costly and complex (strokes, diabetic comas, heart attacks, and other undesirable outcomes) in the form of intelligent devices, wearables, AI, etc.
Integrated & HealthTech Enabled. Connected smart devices and analytics, advanced security, robust networks, telehealth, industry-specific middleware, and a litany of high-tech products and services can enable end-to-end virtual healthcare. Currently, it is hard to execute it all: only a couple of industry giants have been successful in putting together just pieces of it. Why not the whole healthcare system? It’s just so complicated and infeasible, that even forces, like CVS and Walmart, struggle to execute it well.
Costly. The significant price tag of innovative point solutions, if added up, makes it very costly for an individual to monitor, prevent, and avoid/minimize health damage. In countries with a single-payer model, all citizens can benefit from the advancements. In the U.S., this only applies to affluent citizens and their family members. Nonetheless, the wealthiest top 10% owns 77% of buying power which, at this point, generously rewards healthtech innovators: healthtech is the most profitable industry in the U.S. with an average of 21.6% profit margin.
Where can Korean manufacturers focus and where can they win?
For healthtech and more simple products during the COVID-19 crisis, any company that manages to effectively market and deliver virus sanitation and immune system-boosting solutions to the U.S. is guaranteed a boost of top and bottom lines. U.S. consumers and U.S. companies will be purchasing these solutions for a while, even after the crisis is over.