As part of McDermott’s HPE Europe 2020: Where Do the Opportunities Exist for Investment in the Healthcare Sector? webinar, McDermott London Managing Partner Hamid Yunis moderated a panel of industry experts including; Dr. Michelle Tempest of Candesic, Dr. Joanne Hackett of IZY Capital, Dr. Charles Niehaus and Professor Karol Sikora of Rutherford Cancer Centres, who collectively shared their perspectives on healthcare innovation and investment in a post-pandemic world.
The panelists agreed that COVID-19 has served as a catalyst for change and which has revealed important prospects for the future.
“There has been this zest for change which we’ve been talking about for a long period of time, and this has finally been that breakthrough,” said Dr. Tempest. “Both the professionals and the consumers have suddenly woken up to this new dawn.”
“What I’ve actually seen in the past couple of months is a lot of innovation that we were really wanting to accelerate are now actually happening,” agreed Dr. Hackett. “And it’s because we’re finally able to look to the future and think about future proofing to make sure that our healthcare system is actually going to deliver. I see positivity.”
Dr. Niehaus emphasized that, the real opportunity at the moment is to take the technologies many people were resistant to pre-COVID now acceptable, and use the shift as a “springboard to actually move forward.”
“We struggle with the cumbersome nature of a nationalized system that doesn’t really encourage entrepreneurism,” Professor Sikora cautioned. “The entrepreneurial skills are there — in the medical, nursing and other staff, paramedics and so on — but they have to be done outside the system and then brought back in. It’s too cumbersome. If we could somehow give them the opportunity to do it within the system, including the incentives and the financial inducements for being entrepreneurial, I think things would change very rapidly.”
The panelists predicted that together, the forces of digitization, consumerization and public-private partnerships will drive much of the industry’s post-COVID transformation and associated investment opportunities.
Though there are many sectors and subsectors that will benefit from the momentum, the panelists agreed that one of the most critical areas in need of immediate solution is the backlog of millions of screenings and diagnostic tests that have been put off for much of the first half of 2020. It could take years for current healthcare delivery systems to catch up with the overwhelming need – a time frame that many patients can’t afford.
“Some of that solution is going to come from digital,” said Dr. Tempest. “And some of it is going to come from consumerization where people are finally interested enough in healthcare to say, ‘We’re not going to just drive along to an outpatient appointment at the hospital. We actually want to know what can be done digitally.’”
“I think mobilization of the public sector with the private sector can take this backlog away,” said Dr. Niehaus. “I also think that digitization of a lot of these tests will happen. There’s a lot of opportunity
to grab this and work collectively.”
“It’s important to understand how smaller companies can add benefit to the larger system. If you’ve got a great solution locally, think about how it integrates, but also think about your scaling issue,” emphasized Dr. Hackett. “And this is where the partnerships – whether it’s public/private or whether it’s a small company and a merger or acquisition or a partnership with a larger one – is quite an important thing.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed fundamentally the way government, providers and others involved in the healthcare sector will behave in the short to medium term,” concluded Hamid Yunis. “We have already seen a myriad of organizations pivot in ways we wouldn’t have imagined. Looking forward, innovation and opportunity in the sector is only going to continue to accelerate.”
“I see nothing but very, very good things happening,” added Dr. Hackett. “It’s not going to happen overnight, though. Let’s be very realistic about that.”
Join the Conversation at HPE Europe 2020!
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the third annual European Healthcare Private Equity Symposium will be conducted as a five-part webinar series, taking place over five weeks in a virtual tour across several European locations.
An industry that has undergone massive change in recent months, healthcare remains an active private equity market. However the landscape is now more complex and fast-paced than ever before. As a leading law firm for health and life sciences ventures globally, McDermott is uniquely positioned to bring together a panel of the preeminent voices in both the healthcare and private equity sectors.
You’ll hear from those on the cutting-edge about the trends that are driving deals and valuations in the European and international healthcare markets. Industry leaders will share their insights on reimbursement, regulatory changes and the impact of consolidation on the industry.
This fast-paced and collaborative series is exclusively available for senior leaders and investors in the global healthcare services industry.