HBI Deals+Insights / News

COVID-19 winners and losers

We now have much greater clarity on the impact of COVID-19. As our online survey shows certain sectors, notably elective, private-pay have been truly walloped. The recession should hit them again. Other sectors, particularly those dependent on public payors in rich countries will suffer far less damage.

The drive towards telehealth is also clear. The sector is being transformed. Operators are seriously looking at robot surgery in ways which were almost in the realm of science fiction a few months ago. Even whilst they are reeling from lock down some 40% of operators are investing more in digital.

Many business models are being up-ended. Take healthcare tourism. This has stopped in lockdown and is likely to revive slowly as airfares soar in price and the risk of infection remains high. The workforce will become less mobile. This will mean fewer nurses from poor countries in rich countries and a dearth of specialist doctors in Africa.

We think emerging markets are being hit at least as hard as Europe or North America. Lockdowns have often been harder, government support may be non-existent and the sector has been highly dependent on healthcare tourism.

And the winners? They will be the big groups with strong public payor support in wealthy countries, the ability to tap equity and debt markets at low prices and the scale to invest heavily in sophisticated digital health solutions.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Max Hotopf or call 0207 183 3779.