As the healthcare industry evolves to adapt to the changes necessitated by COVID-19, MedTech Intelligence will continue to engage with experts and stakeholders to learn about the work being done across various components of the system. The following is a brief conversation with Raymond Fryrear, M.D., vice president and integrated leader, pre-clinical, clinical and medical affairs for Johnson & Johnson.
MedTech Intelligence: How has COVID-19 changed requirements in the surgical theater?
Raymond Fryrear, M.D.: As elective surgeries resume amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the timing, triage and management of surgery and the risks and benefits for each individual patient must be considered, along with local conditions as it relates to the state of COVID-19 and availability of resources including PPE. It has also increased the awareness for the potential for viral contamination/aerosolization and the need for smoke evacuation and filtration systems to help minimize the risks of transmission.
MTI: How can medtech companies better work with hospitals and other parties in the healthcare system to address these changes/requirements?
Fryrear: Medtech companies have an important role to play with hospitals and other healthcare providers in this new environment. Companies must help in relation to crisis response, resilience assistance, supply chain management optimization, digitalization of care and telemedicine and telehealth, where we’ve seen significantly increased utilization amid the pandemic. We expect telehealth to continue grow even after the pandemic eventually passes.
MTI: As a physician, what challenges are you seeing in hospitals and the wider healthcare environment as a result of the pandemic?
Fryrear: As a result of COVID-19, there may be changes in reimbursement arrangements, including a shift from fee-for-service to more value-based payment models. We’re also seeing a shift in thinking and oversight of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, as they have been hardest hit by this virus. Moving forward, we will see more digitalization of healthcare and using that along with telehealth as a way to care for patients in their own homes where possible. This certainly will be accompanied by enhanced measures for data security and patient privacy.