UBS Financial Services released a report detailing how it expects medtech procedures to potentially keep dipping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report highlighted a quicker-than-expected recovery in the second quarter after U.S. hospitals began canceling, delaying and deferring elective procedures in late March as the pandemic took hold.
However, UBS still expects third-quarter medical procedures to be down, with at best a flat rate up to the fourth quarter as people remain hesitant to visit healthcare facilities due to the fear of contracting the virus. Hospitals in hot spots can struggle with space constraints, especially during surges, while issues with staffing and efficiency drags from newly introduced procedures (such as testing and cleaning) counter-balance pent-up demand, the analysis said.
September saw a 12% average decline in total surgical procedures, with October expected to bring about an 8% decline, showing steady progress in procedural expectations. The analysts believe that survey responses reflect slightly worse than reality, so procedure growth rates in the third quarter could be marginally better than data suggests, setting the stage for most companies to see third-quarter beats.
Surgeries that could see the most deferrals include endoscopy, colonoscopy, bariatric, orthopedic, pain-related, aesthetic, diagnostic and less acute general procedures are more deferrable, the analysis found. Hospitals are reportedly triaging which cases should be performed first, with emergency procedures (immediate) taking priority, followed by urgent (within 30 days), semi-urgent (between 31 and 90 days) and more deferrable.
Big names such as Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Stryker, Becton Dickinson, Zimmer Biomet and more are listed as “most negatively impacted” by the procedure dips, while Baxter, Masimo, Insulet, Dexcom and Senseonics, among others, are the “least impacted.”