How has COVID affected the Health Tech industry?


COVID-19 turned the world upside down, confronting medical workers with entirely new challenges, among which were the global anxiety about the capacity of health institutions, the need to stay at home, the difficulty of verifying one’s own symptoms, and as media information chaos and fake news.

The pandemic forced the world to adapt to a new reality, and many services either transformed significantly or collapsed. New trends have emerged that are now attracting many investors who know perfectly well that there is no more excellent value than health.

New challenges in the Health Tech industry 

In order to understand which areas have exerted the greatest pressure for change in health systems, it is necessary to understand how big a phenomenon the pandemic was. First, it was a crisis of global proportions, affecting everyone, regardless of their background or material conditions. Moreover, it paralyzed many industries and caused crises not only in terms of health but also in terms of emotional and financial issues for many people.

The two most significant areas affected by COVID-19 were:

Limited mobility during the pandemic 

During the pandemic, we lost access to most of the services that were part of our daily lives. It is important to remember that behind every such service was an entrepreneur who lost the ability to continue his business overnight. To understand the magnitude of the problem in Poland, data will be useful:

  • Coronavirus entered Poland around March 4, 2020. The peak of hospitalizations during the pandemic was 34,800 on April 7, 2021. Learning and working were done remotely due to storage and movement restrictions.
  • Research says that in September 2020, more than half of Poles said the COVID-19 outbreak should be taken very seriously, and everyone should wear masks and keep a social distance.
  • During the pandemic, product categories such as over-the-counter medicines (108%), groceries (103%), and supplements (68%) saw the biggest increases in sales.
  • According to the Ministry of Health in Poland, one million people were quarantined in January 2022 and could not leave their residences.

Significantly reduced mobility has created tremendous pressure among business owners to make rapid digital transformations to enable remote operations, helping them stay in business.

Mental and physical health during a pandemic

Studies say that the negative effects that the pandemic has imprinted on our mental and physical health may be felt for a very long time to come. For this reason, new trends have emerged that focus on mental strengthening and implementing healthy habits related to taking care of one’s emotions. The following data, explains the main reasons behind these trends in Poland:

  • In 2022, nearly four in ten Poles felt that their mental health deteriorated during the pandemic.
  • One in three Poles knew someone who lost their job due to COVID-19 in 2020.
  • Nearly half of Poles are financially harmed by the epidemic. 37% said the virus is harming their mental health.
  • More than 20% of Poles felt negative emotions such as anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. More than a quarter of Poles felt depressed, sad, and anxious about their health.
  • Video conferencing caused zoom fatigue. Without social gatherings, people become more socially burdened than before the pandemic.
  • People used and bought more medicines in 2020 because of COVID-19 in Poland. More than 40 percent of people bought or used more substances with vitamin C. Painkillers, magnesium preparations, and vitamin D3 also became popular medical substances.
  • Poles reported many somatic symptoms during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and 2021. The most common were problems with disturbed sleep and general lethargy, exhaustion, and lack of energy.

Trends in the market that COVID has initiated

The areas we identified in the paragraph above have created entirely new, highly demanding challenges for which solutions have been developed. These, in turn, have generated market trends of sorts, which can be grouped into three, dominant categories:

Accessibility in the health industry

While previously, it was a matter of choice, during the pandemic, basically all institutions, companies, or startups, had to adapt to the new reality and offer solutions that make their solutions and services accessible and more available to their users. Examples:

PZU Group

One of the largest insurance companies in Poland, they put a strong focus on optimizing their business processes by implementing modern and functional digital solutions. Through these actions, they have become a leader in an accelerated change in the financial sector. PZU Group has PLN 100 million a year for digitization. Their strategy for 2021-2024 is to use it in all areas of their business. Their mojePZU portals are currently used by more than 2 million customers.

Medical research

At the request of the company, which provides medical services, we recently created a web application that allows platform users to easily purchase medical tests. Its goal is to offer comprehensive customer service and a simple order fulfillment system for administrators and laboratories.

Our biggest challenge was to support a point-of-sale scheme based on laboratory capabilities and test types. The MVP version of the application consists of several modules for tasks such as checking the store’s offerings, making test purchases, checking the history of one’s results, reading articles about tests, monitoring customers and their orders, managing laboratories and tests (products in the store), managing the capacity of the facility, handling collection points, defining tests performed by a given laboratory, handling ordered tests (changing status, entering results).

Online prescriptions

Starting January 8, 2021, medical facilities must issue and handle electronic referrals. No wonder – according to the data, telemedicine can solve more than 50 percent of simple problems faced by patients. Examples include standing in line for a prescription or scheduling an appointment with a doctor.

Mental and physical conditions in healthcare

There is a certain value that COVID has given us, and that is an increased awareness of our mental and physical condition. The concrete figures are as follows:

1249M fitness apps were downloaded globally in Q1 and Q2 2020, compared to 934M in the same year – an increase of about 34%. Among our clients is a start-up that uses the latest technology and changes the rules of the games in such a way that it promotes healthy habits among children. We decided that such an app for children was a great idea! The goal was to encourage children to be more active and take more daily steps through a mobile app. It can be used individually by a child and by larger groups, to challenge each other to be more active every day. The web app presents workout videos, further motivating children.

There is also Mindgram, the Poland’s first online platform providing care from psychologists, as well as specialists in preventive health and personal development, aimed at corporate employees and their loved ones. Since its inception in 2021, it has provided care to more than 51,000 employees. Over the past year, Mindgram’s customer base has grown five more times. The startup has raised €7 million in funding from international investors. This example proves how much emphasis is now being placed on mental and physical health, including in the Health Tech industry.

Technology solutions in the Health Tech industry

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are gaining popularity in technology solutions. According to a global survey conducted in January 2020, 71% of young healthcare professionals agreed that using AI in healthcare would give them the tools they need to keep patients healthy. The same percentage of respondents felt AI could help them make more accurate diagnoses, while slightly less than two-thirds said AI would allow them to spend more time with patients.

Health Tech Outlook, 2023.

COVID-19 has put great pressure on health systems around the world, which has been placed in a critical situation that required the care of scores of quarantined people. Telemedicine services skyrocketed, and remote monitoring of patients became more common. At Applover, we realize that developing Health Tech software comes with a huge responsibility, but we are happy to take on any challenge that can provide people with a safer tomorrow.

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