From the FDA to “COVID Passports”, Here’s What’s Coming in 2021 (The MedTech Download)

Kelly Springs-Kelley
March 26, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • The FDA revealed its priorities for 2021, which includes managing the COVID-19 crisis, focusing on digital health, and enforcing policy.
  • Doctor on Demand and clinical navigator Grand Rounds have announced plans to merge into a multibillion-dollar digital health firm.
  • Amazon has shaken the world of telehealth with it’s entry into the space through it’s new service, Amazon Care.

5 Things MedTech Can Expect from FDA in 2021

The pandemic has done a number on everyone, but in particular, it has impacted government agencies across the board. And we all know that the consequences of COVID remain in 2021. The IRS announced that it will again delay the tax filing deadline, while the FDA revealed it’s future plans as it grapples with COVID fallout. In a year where almost every American became familiar with the term emergency use authorization, the agency multitasked at every level. But, it did achieve several non-COVID successes, as it “approved, cleared or authorized a record 132 novel medical devices, topping the 106 novel device authorizations in 2018 that marked a 40-year high.” In short, they stayed busy.

Now, looking forward to 2021, the FDA revealed 5 things that MedTech can expect from the agency in the new year. Of course COVID remains a priority, but so does digital health, as demand for remote patient monitoring and telehealth stays strong. And according to market leaders like Abbott, these technology solutions are the future and not expected to slow down, even in the absence of a pandemic.

Doctor on Demand, Grand Rounds Merge to Create Multibillion-Dollar Digital Health Company

With a dramatic increase in demand for telehealth and digital health solutions in 2020, companies have flooded the market. Entrepreneurial startups and global leaders alike have made plays, from video health solutions to remote patient monitoring tools. And in most circles, these plays are smart ones, not just to capitalize on the moment, but to invest in what most see as the inevitable future of medicine.

Recently virtual care company Doctor on Demand and clinical navigator Grand Rounds announced plans to merge, positioning the companies to become a multibillion-dollar digital health firm. As MedTech Dive reports, “The goal of combining the two venture-backed companies, which will continue to operate under their existing brands for the time being, is to integrate medical and behavioral healthcare with patient navigation and advocacy to try to better coordinate care in the fragmented U.S. medical system.”

TPT Global Tech Launches TPT MedTech UK Making its Digital “Covid-19 Passport” Available in the UK and EMEA Regions to Fast Track People Safely and Securely Back to Work, Travel, Events, Retail and Hospitality Destinations

Since the start of the pandemic, questions surrounding data and health privacy have come to the forefront. A public health emergency of this scale is unprecedented for the vast majority of people on the planet. As a result, the debate between public safety and personal freedoms has raged. From requiring masks in public spaces to effective contact tracing, if we want to reopen society and get back to ‘normal,’ we might need to make some compromises.

One of these compromises will likely come in the form of digital COVID testing and tracking. First in the race to deploy these technologies is TPT Global Tech, who already launched a number of COVID-releated platforms. One of these is the QuikPASS, which “collects Covid-19 test data and vaccination records and allows individuals to consent to have that information used to validate Covid-19 status without revealing underlying personal health information.” And according to the company’s CEO, the tech is already getting traction, “allowing fans to return safely to a variety of events, as was done at a VIP event at the Super Bowl, and with international travel, which is being done right now at Jamaica’s two international airports.”

Analysis: Amazon Enters Telehealth, But Competitors “Will Not Go Quietly”

Whether you have read the analysis or can simply put two and two together, the past year has been huge for telehealth. For example, the use of telehealth in October 2020 increased by more than 3,000% compared to the year prior. This rapid and dramatic increase is also ushering in a paradigm shift, altering the way we consume healthcare in the long term.

Telehealth has been around for quite some time via veteran players like Teladoc and eVisit. But with growth in demand comes growth in corporate investment, as global brands jump into the market. Zoom and Microsoft currently have telemedicine solutions, and recently Amazon announced the expansion of it’s own telehealth service, Amazon Care. And, naturally, the entrance of Amazon into this space has existing companies unnerved. Unnerved, but not undeterred.

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