Surgical Robotics Uptake in the COVID Era

In the noisy environment surrounding pandemic-driven market data, sorting out financially stressed hospitals’ appetite for investing in expensive technologies is tough.

Clearly, hospital operating margins are down, even as their costs rise, and surveys indicate the majority are putting off capex spending for the foreseeable future (see Figure 1and “As Hospitals Recover, What is Their Appetite for Device Innovation?,” MedTech Strategist, August 20, 2020.)

But how that impacts individual manufacturers and new product launches is complicated and varies depending on type of innovation, as well as the individual characteristics of hospitals and companies. Smaller, community hospitals, inevitably are pulling back more than well-endowed academic medical centers and large healthcare systems, for example. The same is true of smaller versus larger companies with broad portfolios. Nowhere has the situation been murkier than in surgical robotics, a field that has drawn much attention and investment dollars in recent years and was accelerating rapidly before COVID-19 hit last March. 

While sales and placements were initially down at the start of the pandemic in the US, industry’s worries about a prolonged effect seem to be unwarranted. In third-quarter earnings calls, the largest surgical robotics companies reported better-than-expected placements.

By Wendy Diller | Medtech Strategist

Image Credit: Studio Dream /


About Peter Coffaro 487 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 25 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. Recognized by the World Journal of Orthopedics, Exponential Healthtech, and as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager, Distributor, and Vice President. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy, and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing, and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Illinois University.

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