The first case of COVID-19 was found in Wuhan, China. This pandemic has influenced the whole planet with its significant impacts on the economy and businesses worldwide. The COVID-19 spread worldwide in unprecedented ways due to its high infectious and contagious nature. As a result, the most outstanding medical challenge in the 21st century is yet to face worldwide. Though the emergence of the virus can be tracked back to Asia, many European countries and the U.S. have been struck massively by the pandemic. The virus has spread across all regions ranging from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa up to South America. The COVID- 19 has been declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) due to its increased spread globally. After the pandemic declaration, various countries announced the complete lockdown such as the Russia, Europe and Asian countries, to decrease its spread. Regardless of that, COVID-19 has increased the demand for robotics in supply chain and healthcare applications. According to the situation report of 12 April 2021 by WHO stated USD 135 million cases of the Coronavirus had been reported globally, and 2.9 million patients are dead due to the Coronavirus. South East Asia records cumulative cases of 16.17 million and death rates reached 0.2 million. In contrast, nearly 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally. The outbreak of COVID-19 has a massive impact on healthcare and at midyear; many innovative disinfection medical robots were announced every week trying to tackle the situation.
The COVID-19 had a devastating impact on the global economy. The several establishments have to remain shut while others scale down the operations or put on hold expansion plans as they tried to survive the unprecedented crisis. However, the demand for medical robotics in hospitals is increasing, considering the surgeries done in non-contact patient and healthcare workers environment, time efficiency, and more advantages. Robotics surgeries are known for various features such as better range of motion, better access to the operating area, reduced risk of pathogen spreads and infection. Despite many advancements and applications, there are only 4,000-5,000 robotic surgery centers worldwide because of high cost implementation requirements. The price of robotic surgery depends on surgery facilities and equipment in hospitals. Single medical robot cost around USD 2 million, whereas robotic surgery costs from USD 3,000 to USD 6,000. Considering the COVID-19 Pandemic and high requirement of medical and humanoid robots in hospitals the major market players are trying to manufacture products conveniently.
The COVID-19 pandemic has lifted the medical robotics market from its niche pedestal to the mainstream sector. Even before the pandemic, the latest advancement in AI and usage of robotics in the medical sector, including surgeries, were highly interested.
But the recent Coronavirus outbreak has further expanded the demand considering the major risk of doctors and frontline workers dealing with COVID-19 patients. Robotics has posed to be a successful shield in combatting the spread of the pathogen in hospitals and clinical centers. One of the major factors in the increasing demand for medical robots is the limitation of labor, thereby stating that the use of robots in the medical and surgical sectors can reduce contact between patients and healthcare providers/ doctors. The medical robots can also serve at maximum capacity during the required situations. As per the guidelines released by the government to reduce the pathogen spread, robotics are incorporated in various surgical sections where patients use during their hospital stay. Apart from surgeries, recently hospitals have taken initiatives in using medical robots for greeting patients, providing disinfectants and can provide food and medicines to patients thereby reducing patient and healthcare workers contact. The recent non-contact ultraviolet disinfection robots can widely reduce disinfection among hospital areas. Several companies operating in other domains are eager to enter and some have already entered the landscape of medical and surgical robotics to increase their revenue by meeting the emergent need of disinfection products for the virus infection.
The demand for medical robotics is rising to peek, enlightening the fact that these can mitigate pathogen spreading risk for healthcare workers, thereby decreases economic burden to a greater extend. Today’s surgeries are being performed even without having doctors physically in the operating room but with fewer staff members using robotic systems.
The COVID-19 has created a significant impact on the supply chain of the medical robotics market. The sudden attack of COVID-19 and its subsequent implications for restrictions on trade and movement of goods has resulted in a shutdown of vast countries globally, resulting in disrupted supply chains due to limited materials and workforce, and slow down or stopping of manufacturing. Moreover, several manufacturing companies are retooling priority manufacturing to produce other essential medical supplies and equipment such as ventilators. But since medical robotics are in high demand by various healthcare sectors, the supply chain is again gaining speed; due to an increase in order from the consumers, the government allows the moments of transport vehicles to import and export the raw materials for the production of robots. Additionally, the manufacturers are also taking crucial steps to ensure the availability of raw materials by and also they have to look into the quality of products. Manufacturers need to take necessary steps about production processes, shifting to other facilities if required, changes in quality assurance, costs and procedures related to screening of workforce and offering of care if needed, changes in working hours, and others to maintain their supply chain.
The government has been firmly monitoring the supply chain to assume that the COVID-19 outbreak may adversely impact the supply chain of a medical product, including shortages of medical robots for various purposes in healthcare sectors in countries globally or potential disruptions in supply chains.
Many organizations are looking forward to improving and diversified the supply chain model to manage such a crucial situation. A diversified supply chain model including Robotic Process Automation is anticipated to improve the robotics supply to the highly required hospitals and surgical centers and increase end-to-end visibility.
The resulting COVID-19 pandemic has shown the various ways for supply chain management, which may be effective by robotics usage for numerous healthcare applications.
The impact of the novel COVID-19 virus is expected to leave a long-lasting effect on each healthcare sector. The outbreak prompted citizens to deal with confusion regarding the virus and its management. The virus poses a risk to human life and has caused economic distress and severe emotional strain. It produced a ripple effect that gave rise to a new collection of requirements and needs that were not needed earlier and the most essential one being the medical robotics which is highly needed in hospitals to minimize the contact between patient and healthcare workers to reduce the spread of pathogen.
COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has a positive impact on the growth of the medical robotics market due to non-contact patient surgeries and treatments. Moreover, many international governments, including U.S, China, Korea and Japan’s robotics organizations, focus exclusively on robotics in the medical and surgical arena and their manufacturing due to priority and essential requirements in this crucial period. Many government bodies and significant medical robotics market players are closely associated with patients and healthcare professionals for both side betterment considering contagious nature of virus and improvement of future economics.