The Future Of Healthcare Has Already Arrived

Australia | Jul 22 2020

Covid-19 and lockdowns have accelerated the success of telehealth services with Australian companies among key beneficiaries

-Global pandemic has accelerated adoption of telehealth services
-ASX-listed healthcare companies among beneficiaries
-More telehealth small caps to IPO next six months

By Anastasia Santoreneos & Mark Woodruff

The covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the Australian share market, but one sector that’s skated around the major economic downturn is the health sector, thanks to the quick-thinking of medical tech companies.

The government’s swift reaction to social distancing measures meant regulatory changes came in thick and fast for companies like Cochlear ((COH)) and ResMed ((RMD)), and they could develop remote patient monitoring tools for medical professionals to continue their work without needing to physically be with the patient.

The adoption of these services was phenomenal.

As a direct result of Covid-19, the utilisation of telehealth, that is remote GP consultations, now accounts for 35% of government benefits paid for GP attendances, according to a report by Morgan Stanley.

We’re not in new territory

The shift towards remote patient monitoring isn’t new. In fact, the trend has been continuing for some time, with Cochlear and ResMed already invested in the technology to facilitate this for some time.

For example, ResMed had been involved in remote patient monitoring for around 14 years, according to Melior Investments senior analyst Julia Bailey.

“Within their sleep apnea devices, they’ve been recording patient data and relaying that back to doctors for a long time,” Bailey said.

“They now have over 11 million cloud connected devices out in the world, and they’ve made a number of acquisitions of smaller companies in that space like Propeller Health.”

Smaller players have also been in the game for many years: Pro Medicus ((PME)) was one of the first remote medical imaging software providers, which allowed radiologists to access images through their devices, Jun Bei Liu, portfolio manager at Tribeca Investment said.

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