• Surgeons expect three of the four electoral processes to return in September, based on the results of a recent survey conducted by the Bain & Company health team.
• The survey of 366 doctors and 75 administrators, conducted at the end of May, also found that 60% of respondents believe their organization is fully equipped for polling returns, compared with 45% when Bain made the same request a month earlier.
• This optimism follows recent comments from medical technology management teams at investor conferences, many of which indicated that the guidance given for the second quarter may be too conservative.
Calls from medical device companies to investors after the first quarter provided clear figures on the sharp decline in voting in the face of COVID-19.
BD said its surgical revenue fell 70% in April. Stryker, who estimated that half of its business was vulnerable to deferred litigation, forecast a sales decline of nearly 40% in April. At Boston Scientific and Smith & Nephew, the decline in sales was closer to 50%. Intuitive Surgical, one of the first major medical technologies to make a profit, said da Vinci robot usage had decreased by 65% by the end of March.
But since I shared those numbers, the returns on lucrative voting processes have improved, based on feedback from recent investor presentations. The CMS took further action Tuesday by encouraging patients to get deferred treatment, despite saying high-risk patients should avoid major surgery for the time being.
Tim van Biesen, director of Bain’s global health practice, noted that “there is a lot of regional variability in the United States,” but the most recent numbers are “one big canary in the coal mine that will return pretty soon.”
In the device and diagnostic companies, executives indicated better-than-expected results this quarter.
For example, Hologic told investors on Monday that surgical sales are expected to fall between 65% and 70% this quarter, but activity is recovering faster than expected.
To offset some of these declines, diagnostic activity worsened due to the COVID-19 test. Revenues are expected to grow 20-25% this quarter.
Similarly, Quest Diagnostics, which found that an increase in COVID-19 testing could not offset the decrease in routine testing volume, told investors last week that the company continued to experience significant drops in its volume activity had recovered faster than expected. Businesses in parts of the United States where economies have reopened have had a positive impact. If trends continue, earnings per share could break even in the second quarter or be slightly profitable, the company said.
Medtronic’s resumption of the process in May and June “continues to exceed our expectations,” new CEO Geoff Martha said Tuesday in a question and answer session at the Goldman Sachs Global Healthcare Conference. In particular, Medtronic’s cardiovascular and spinal activities performed better than expected. While Medtronic had indicated that the current quarter may be worse than the recently reported fourth quarter of the fiscal year, Martha said it should be online.
Despite the resumption of the electoral process, health facilities are not necessarily prepared to support the full return of representatives of medical devices. More than 60% of Bain respondents expect in-person medical technician visits to be limited even when COVID-19 treatments and vaccines are available, regardless of whether these employees are conducting sales or providing technical support.
With the resumption of elective care in some parts of the country, AdvaMed partnered with the American Hospital Association and the Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses to publish a readmission guide on May 19, including symptom screening, PSA testing, and recommendations for medical device representatives covered. AdvaMed announced Wednesday that 26 other healthcare organizations have signed on to the guidelines, including the Association for Ambulatory Surgery Center, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.